Quick Before it Melts

The act of just being here

by  |  May 6, 2013

I’m in the music business, albeit casually and without compensation, but I’ve waded into the discussion/debates/disagreements about what it means to be a musician in Canada, a fan of Canadian music, and a consumer just by the very act being here.  While there’s been lots of fodder for talk about the weakness or strength of the support systems Canada has in place for the arts and culture in the past month or so, there’s been a celebration of arts and culture taking place that worth noting: Arts & Crafts is celebrating its tenth anniversary as a music label.

A history lesson on A&C would probably require this post to be broken into chapters, so suffice it to say that, with the 2003 re-release of Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People, Arts & Crafts began building branches on its family tree that would later include Stars, Jason Collett, Apostle of Hustle, Feist, Dan Mangan, Timber Timbre, The Dears, Chilly Gonzales, and Cold Specks, even crossing international borders to bring Los Campesinos!, Ra Ra Riot, and Sally Seltmann/New Buffalo into the fold.

For all the You Forgot It In People and The Reminder‘s Arts & Crafts have released these past 10 years, what I love about the label are the smaller, but no less stellar records that have come to be permanent parts of my record collection.  Their first ever non-Broken Social Scene related signing was The Most Serene Republic, whose Underwater Cinematographer still gets a lot of play ’round here.  I have to credit them for introducing me to my favourite band by releasing the first Young Galaxy record, and helping to expand my indie rock musical palette by etnfold with Bell Orchestre’s As Seen Through Windows.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the affinity I have with the Arts & Crafts aesthetic and brand design.  If I could go back and do these past 40 years over, I would have been a graphic designer, and my style would be very much akin to the delicious consistency that A&C produces record to record.  You know when you’re holding an Arts & Crafts record in your hand, and I love that.

That’s also why I am loving Arts & Crafts: 2003 – 2013, the label-curated retrospective released last month to help commemorate their tenth anniversary.   The release is available as a four LP special edition boxed set, or deluxe double CD, and of course available in digital formats. CD copies are complete with a 24-page colour booklet including liner notes written by Stuart Berman, noted journalist and author of Broken Social Scene oral biography This Book Is Broken, which is a great place to start if you’re in need of some A&C/BSS refreshing.  This compilation features some very familiar songs from the A&C canon alongside some never before released rarities that no completist would be without.  Arts & Crafts: 2003 – 2013 precedes Arts & Crafts: X, a collection of original collaborative recordings by artist pairings from the A&C roster, due out later this month.






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