Benbecula Records – The Final Vinyl
One last electronic adventure from Porty’s finest
When Benbecula Records blew out of Portobello in the final year of the twentieth century, it provided an overdue outlet for the Caledonian wing of the then relatively new wave of laptop-based electronicists inspired by Warp Records’ pioneering mix of leftfield dancefloor cut-ups and twinkly-eyed ambience. Over the next decade Benbecula released work by a multitude of wilfully individualistic and largely homegrown artists. On 1 November, 2009, alas, label founder and driving force Steven McConnell, aka Phase 6, will pull the plug on Benbecula.
To mark the occasion Benbecula will host ‘The Final Vinyl,’ a last zap live package of label mainstays Christ and Araya, recent signing female singer/songwriter Plum and a couple of very special surprise guests thrown in as the grandest of finales. But with such an embarrassment of riches on offer, why shut up shop now?
‘I’m very tired,’ McConnell confesses, ‘and I thought ten years would be a good time to shut up shop and call it a day. The underlying thing, though, is that I’m just not blown away by a lot of music that’s around, or even stuff I’m being offered. We rode the wave of electronica that started in the late 90s, but I don’t think that really progressed. But we’ve never sold out, and only released stuff we really believed in
While there are Benbecula releases by Layton and Wood, Plum, Talvihorros and an album of back-to-basics four-track extrapolations by Christ still to come, for the foreseeable future McConnell will be concentrating on the label’s publishing arm, licensing material for use in films, games and TV. McConnell hints too that The Final Vinyl might not be a total full stop.
‘We’re still selling the back catalogue,’ he says, ‘so it’s not the end of Benbecula as an entity. ‘I’m closing the door, but I’m not locking it.’
The Wee Red Bar, 229 1442, 21 Aug, 7pm, £8.