Sunday, October 14, 2007


The idea of netlabels is quite interesting, innit? Basically, it's about screwing all the major, painstaking steps of having a cd out the traditional way - packaging, distributing and all. All you need is to rip your tracks to DRM-free mp3s with acceptable quality, make a cover in jpeg format, zip them all and upload the final product to the interwebs. Much more economical, especially for bands whose main priority is just to be heard. However, the drawback is that since it's so easy, it takes time to find something obscure that's worth your time, to find a label whose taste you can trust. And also, most releases available are EPs only, plus netlabels seem to be existing exclusively for experimental/electronic fields.
Anyway, every now and then, I bumped into some good stuff, and oto is definitely one of those gems. They're a 4-piece California-based Japanese outfit who makes tiny ambient music "using live instruments such as guitar, xylophone and melodica along with electronic sounds and field recordings". Their first EP, 'Sketch #1', was also the first web release of Creation Centre, the netlabel offshoot of a little NY independent experimental label named Music Related. The music is mostly instrumental, organic, and tranquil. Here's how they describe it, in all of its copy-and-paste glory: "this EP would best be enjoyed on a late summer evening, sitting by a river. alone, or with friends." Well, I couldn't say it better. Save it for the next trip with your family to the countryside or somewhere else far from the city noises, personally I found the tracks to sound quite lovely in autumn, too. If you like what you hear, then you can go here to download one more track (since the EP consists of only 3), or download it as a zip with two choices, 128kps mp3 and 192kps iTunes-friendly m4a. You can also donate to them, if you feel a bit guilty. I hope these guys release a full-length soon...

oto - Color
oto - My Blue Plane

MySpace/Official site
(more tracks for your streaming pleasure there)

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