Ssaliva’s release for Vlek, executed by Dimitri Runkkari (part of Brussels’ design studio Stoëmp), the samples of a digital waveform are rendered in letterpress, as paper tradition meets the 21st-century audio file. It’s the perfect illustration of an unseen, virtual music being made material. (See Stoëmp’s portfolio pages on Ssaliva and RZA, for Vlek.)
That’s just one of a number of physical releases from Vlek, surveyed in the images here. But this is the same label that is championing downloads, via Bandcamp. In fact, right now, you can download their complete 2010/2012 catalog for free. (Ironically, you instead pay for singles – the assumption is to exchange free for a whole-hog embrace of the label’s musical output.
And our timing is right: today is the release of VLEK12, from increasingly-acclaimed Squeaky Lobster, on 12″ and digital. (Details on that release below.)
We asked Vlek’s Julien Fournier to explain how a free catalog mixes with physical sales, and how this label preserves the value of its musical identity.