Label of Love: Alternate Media

Brought to you by Grace George, of London record shop The BBE Store & one half of DJ duo RAW SILK , Label of Love is a new series that tells short histories of music labels & their legacies.

As Label of Love is an internet-based research project, Label of Love does what it can to reference properly but cannot always get the full story. If you have stories to tell about the labels we are researching, or would like to recommend for researching, please share with us. Follow @labeloflove__ & the articles on Melodic Distraction for the full write-ups on these labels.

This month’s show is on Birmingham electronic & experimental cassette label Alternate Media. Founded by Mitch Rushton in the late 80’s, the label was a mutation of the Birmingham Experimental Music Network (B.E.M.N.) which met monthly. Birmingham University had just started to offer night school courses on Analogue & Electronic music, introducing students to new & modern technology such as the Digisound modular synth, Fairlight series II and the BEAST an 18 channel surround sound P.A. system.

B.E.M.N had two distinct factions: one inspired by Jarre & Tangerine Dream & the other exploring industrial noise. Home recordings & live performances lead to the forming of Alternate Media. Rushton handed the running of the label over to artist Penga in the early 90’s, and recently he has been digitising AM releases on Bandcamp, hence the ability to do this show. This show focuses more on the synth & dark ambient sounds of Alternate Media, leaving out much of the industrial noise because of personal taste, therefore this show is not a true representation of the scope & experimentation of the label & its artists.

Thank you to them and Penga for allowing us to enjoy these cassettes & performances again in the digital age.  For more information on Alternate Media, please check out the AM Bandcamp + read more on Don Campau’s excellent site The Living Archive of Underground Music.