Walk the Number Line

Ralph Mendoza (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila-based record label Number Line Records may have been founded in 2011, but a string of successes has made it seem as if they’ve existed for thrice as long. Having made ripples in both the local and international scenes, the label has grown to be a reliable wellspring of good music.

On Sept. 7, Number Line is set to outdo itself once more, with the release of the LP “Anthology,” a limited edition, vinyl-only compilation featuring the artists under the label — plus a launch party at Blanc Gallery in Katipunan that night to celebrate. The compilation will include brand-new tracks from Tarsius, Similar Objects, Some Gorgeous Accident, Big Hat Gang, Slow Hello, plant a tree, and the Treblinka Love Scene, plus remastered tracks from Eyedress, Outerhope, Love in Athens, Manuel Nicolas Alvero, Multo, Modulogeek, and Third World Summer. Along with Tarsius” “Primate” LP and Similar Objects’ “Tilde” LP, the compilation introduces physical releases into Number Line’s once digital-only catalog.

“I think it’s an honor to be able to be on such a great lineup of like-minded individuals, knowing we’re all trying to push and build,” relates Jorge Wieneke V, who doubles as Similar Objects, “It feels great to have a family like this.” With a track aptly titled infiniteloveistheonlytrutheverythingelseisanillusion, Jorge is all about a love that’s as long, or even longer than his song titles. “It’s about unconditional love,” he says, “but a cry, a wail, slightly painful.”

Here, we talk to Number Line co-founder Bobby Benedicto, who fills us in on what the label has been up to and why we should look forward to the party.

YOUNG STAR: What makes the upcoming vinyl launch stand out among the several events the Number Line Records has had?

BOBBY BENEDICTO: The “Anthology LP” was planned quite a while ago and a lot of work has been put into it, both in Manila and overseas, so we really see the launch as a big celebratory party. It’s the first time in a while that we’re putting on a show of this size —one that features almost all of the artists on our roster. We’re hoping we can bring together the people who’ve supported the label the last couple of years and the ones who may have just recently discovered the work of our artists. Also, the LP itself marks a new phase for Number Line Records. We’ve had two previous physical releases (Tarsius’s LP “Primate” and Similar Objects’ latest album “Tilde”), but this is the first time we’re putting out a physical record as a collective. 

What is it about vinyl that made you guys push through with it as opposed to other physical forms?

There is, of course, the clear difference in terms of sound quality. The experience of listening to vinyl is just different and we want the music of our artists to be available in the best possible format. We also want the output of the label to stand the test of time. While we still really believe in digital distribution, we wanted something material, something people could and would want to hang onto — a collector’s item of sorts. Plus, we’ve also had an interest in the visual elements of music distribution, and the record gave us a chance to play around more with packaging design.

 In a more general sense what does the label try to accomplish in both the local and foreign scenes?

More than ever, our goal is to do away with a distinction between local and foreign. Maybe that’s not completely doable, but the idea is that we want the material we release to be listened to and appreciated because it’s good, not because of where it’s from. Practically, that means pushing hard for global distribution, not necessarily large-scale distribution on mainstream networks, but finding the right audiences in Manila and elsewhere.

How does it feel to have a following even abroad? Eyedress and Similar Objects appear to be at the forefront of things.

It’s been incredibly encouraging. We’ve always believed that the material our artists release is as good as anything out there. We’ve never thought of them as good local artists, just good artists. It’s been amazing seeing that belief validated. The way Eyedress has been received on blogs has been incredible and there’s always been interest in Jorge’s work as Similar Objects. It was also great to see the reception of Outerhope in the States last year. The invitations for shows overseas for Modulogeek and Tarsius (among others), and the way No Rome was picked up so quickly by blogs and major online magazines. Hopefully, we’ll see more of that in the coming years.

Speaking of which, what can fans expect from Number Line this year and beyond? Live Number Line radio shows maybe?

The first thing up will be Slow Hello’s debut album, which will be out on CD and digitally in October. We’ve also started releasing material from non-Filipino artists, starting with The French Pop Dream’s split single with Some Gorgeous Accident. We’ve got a new release in the works for a Berlin-based artist, but we can’t get into detail about that just yet. We think it’s really great, so you should watch out for that. We haven’t thought of doing a live radio show, but that sounds like a good idea. We’ll have to think about that as well.

* * *

Make sure to RSVP to the N/ Anthology LP Launch Party on Facebook (and actually attend it on Sept. 7), bookmark http://numberlinerecords.com, and add them on Twitter @NumberLineMusic for updates.

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