As both an amateurish blog launched as a teenager and a slightly more professional record label, The Astral Plane has been the vessel through which I have had the opportunity to engage with a rich musical culture. While only offering a minuscule contribution to the electronic, dance and experimental musics that I hold dear to my heart, I have been lucky to engage with a rich vein of vernacular sounds that deserve infinitely more care and attention than they often receive. When I established Astral Plane Recordings in 2016, I sensed that there was an absence, in both the sonic and institutional sense, that could be addressed through a record label built on the ingenuity and hard work of a set of artists, many of whom had yet to formally release music. Across 30 odd releases, released at a sometimes glacial pace since 2016, I feel confident that that absence has been addressed.
With that said, I have decided to bring The Astral Plane blog and label to a close. Close followers will have noticed that APR’s output has slowed down in recent years. It has become increasingly difficult to find the time, resources and energy to deliver music with the foundation, context and breadth that I initially set out to do. The blog, on the other hand, briefly became an outlet for critical musings, but has since come to feel like an archive from another period of my life. In the project’s 10 years of existence, I have been blessed with the opportunity to develop deep artistic relationships, and more importantly friendships, with a group of artists who will forever hold a place in my heart. The Astral Plane is nothing outside of the brilliance of Adam, Aya, Bashar, Ceci, Claudio, Emma, Jack, Jordan, Loris, Maral, Matt, Michael, Sabina, Zeynab and countless other who have played Astral Plane shows over the years and contributed remixes and compilation tracks. Behind the scenes, Sam Meier and Will Mitchell have held APR together through their mastering, design, artwork and general advice/input over the years.
Astraltopia represents a culmination of the label project, but The Astral Plane show on NTS will continue under a different name and my various writing and editorial projects will now be housed under Bellona Magazine. The APR catalog will remain in place with 100% of royalties going to artists, but sadly Contagion Discs will also be put on hiatus for the time being (although I aim to restart the label when I have more time and stability). In closing, I am endlessly grateful to the DJs who played out our music, the fans who have supported us over the years and the writers who have earnestly engaged with the sonic themes we’ve put in play. There’s a small chunk of the sonic and social world I feel deeply at home with now and that’s all I could have asked for when initially planning out the early stages of The Astral Plane.