We’re glad to welcome the Los Angeles-based label; A Strangely Isolated Place to make a contribution to the MNMT Label Showcase series. ASIP has been known for releasing some of the invigorating ambient and electronica music throughout the years. We had the opportunity to chat with the label boss, Ryan Griffin, which can be read below.
1. H Ryan, thank you for preparing a mix for us, as well as having this chat with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for the invite! Big fan of your mix series and was just spinning the Midgar mix last night, great stuff. Me… I’m the guy behind ASIP for the last ten years (2018 was our anniversary year!), in for the ride and doing as much as I can to put good music out there, whilst balancing life with my family (and newborn son).
2. Could you tell us what A Strangely Isolated Place entails? As I understand it is more than a record label only.
ASIP started as a blog ten years ago, posting about ambient and electronica music. I still try to keep the blog going nowadays but it has become increasingly harder to find the time given the focus and effort with the label. Because of the organic nature of our growth over the past ten years, I like to think of the label as a small community too – there’s lots of people who enjoy the label and blog that I’ve known for years now, albeit many not in person. Serious beers owed to many great supporters over the years.
3. What inspired you to start a record label?
I was getting sent lots of music for review on the blog, and much of it didn’t have a home or someone to look after it. I started a digital-only series that was focused on Places, that led to a remix album and our first LP. I’m a record collector at heart, so it made sense for me to want to create my own output one day – something real and tangible.
4. You started the record label in 2012, could you reflect on the development so far? Has it gone the way you envisioned it?
I don’t really have a vision for what the label should be. And when I started it, it was literally one record at a time, or bust. It’s very cliché to say, but I release the music I love, so the label will likely evolve with my tastes. As you might be able to tell from the mix, the label now covers quite a spectrum within ambient and electronic music, so there’s no distinct “style” that’s easily describable with our releases, but I like to think people can still put their finger on an “ASIP” sound over others.
The label went from one vinyl release, to averaging four a year, and if all goes to plan, we will probably get even more out this year. Overall though, it’s gone much better than what I ever imagined – the very fact we can sell out of a release nowadays is something I never take for granted.
5. Where did your love for ambient music come from?
A few avenues came together, but overall I put it down to my nature to want to dig deeper into artists and labels. Ambient music is (generally) under the radar (and the antithesis of “pop”) so needs people who *want* to discover it. I love trance music and digging in that world opened me up to many ambient/techno producers back in the 90s, like Pete Namlook, Aphex Twin, Global Communication, etc. I also used to listen to proper DJ mixes like Global Underground religiously, and would go deep on all the tracks the likes of Sasha and Nick Warren were spinning. I’m just a fanboy at heart! Oh and my parents got me into Enya, of course, the ambient gateway drug.
6. As we do not cover ambient as much as techno, it is likely that our followers are not as up to date with the latest emerging ambient producers. Could you name a few ambient artists that you think deserve more attention?
Everyone in ambient music deserves more attention! (but none of us introverts really want it!) Even better though, you never have to stay up to-date with ambient music, the best moments come from discovering the deepest corners of it over the last ~50 years. I couldn’t begin to list any specific people without asking for more context on what people might enjoy as the spectrum is so broad, so I would just point you to my Bandcamp collection page for now – that’s all the music I’m buying and supporting – old and new. https://bandcamp.com/astrangelyisolatedplace
7. What kind of label mix have you prepared for us?
This is the first time I’ve ever put a label mix together, believe it or not. I’ve turned them down before, as I find it really hard to pick specific music from my catalog because I enjoy every single release. Also, when I put mixes together I don’t like to be constrained too much. But this ask came at a good time, and I’m sat on a bunch of unreleased stuff right now (we have a big year lined up) so I thought it’d be a nice moment to feature some of it.
So the end result is a mix which features ~60% unreleased music, expected on the label in the future. Also, I tried to show the spectrum of “styles” on the label, so it’s not purely an ambient mix…
8. Anything else you would like to share with our followers?
“Ambient in the sheets, techno in the streets” 🙂
- 36 – DNI (Reinterpreted) (ASIPV013)
- Markus Guentner – New World Order (ASIPV012)
- Leandro Fresco & Rafael Anton Irisarri – Bajo Dos Siglos (ASIPV008X)
- Norge – 165 Minutes With You (Markus Guentner Remix) (ASIP019)
- James Bernard – Hands (ASIPV014)
- Lav & Purl – Beyond Suffering (ASIPV007)
- Earth House Hold – Never Forget Us (ASIPV011)