For over twenty years Jon Tye and Gavin O’Shea have witnessed the ebb and flow of an artform in constant mutation. Over 200 releases on their label Lo Recordings tell an unfolding story of alternative music since the mid-90s - a tenure rarely seen by any organisation in the industry.
As forward-thinking curators their output reaches across and beyond the electronic music spectrum. Aphex Twin, Susumu Yokota, Luke Vibert, Blur, Thurston Moore, Squarepusher are amongst the long list of names that adorn the back catalogue, a rich and diverse ethnographic history that was partly captured by ‘It’s Been Hell: 20 Years of Lo Recordings’ compilation album.
Founded by Tye in 1995, Lo Recordings quickly established a reputation for re-shaping genres and curated experimentation. The early compilations are a who’s who of ‘90s electronica and the East End avant garde, where Lo provided a platform for progressive artists and innovative ideas.
O’Shea, who originally came from a fine art background, joined shortly after and their combined multidisciplinary perspectives resulted in a unique and unrestricted approach to their operations. This was further complimented by the often astonishing label artwork of the award winning design team Non-Format, a special partnership that has continued for over 20 years and one that is integral to Lo.
In tandem with Lo’s boundary-pushing emphasis, there was a desire to define and reframe a past. The true roots of electronic music were to be found in the alternative world of Library Music, and so began the highly influential releases Luke Vibert’s Nuggets, Barry 7’s Connectors, Tom Furse Digs and Ed Macfarlane Glistens – an on-going series that clearly defined library music as the early genre and endeavours to secure its future relevance.
In the next years releases proliferated from the art-rock of The Chap and Gable to the deep sonic worlds of Rothko or Mileece, the fantastic Russian electronica series, to outer edge experimentation of Hairy Butter, Add NtoX and Stereolab. Future Music were prompted to comment ‘Lo Recordings makes Mute look like Telstar.’
There were further key releases: Black Devil Disco Club, Red Snapper, JJ Perrey, NZCA Lines, several projects by Susumu Yokota, and an astonishing debut album from Grimes, bringing us to the next evolution of Lo Recordings.
A new chapter: The Spaciousness series.