Invisible Inc. is a new Glasgow-based label focused on modern electronica, which at first glance seems poised between the chugging dancefloor love from outer space of Especial and the more Pop end of Emotional Response`s experimentation (that said the Jon Keliehor track I`ve heard would slot nicely into the “Schleissen Series”). The first E.P. is out today, and includes the BBC Radiophonic workshop swamp of Higamos Hogamos and the bass-led keyboard wizardry of The Poncho Brothers. Secret Circuit donate a percussive bubbler, a volcanic geezer, eventually turned Acidic Post-Punker by Eddie Ruscha`s vocals, that reminds me a bit of Caribou. Tim “Love” Lee`s “Trip Triangular” puts gentle pastoral Kosmische over a propulsive Sci-Fi b-line, like a surface of light and water with a deceptively strong underlying current. Appropriately enough it was Stuart Leath of the ERs / Especial that made the introductions and gave me the chance to ask Invisible Inc. founder, Gordon Mackinnon, for a bit of background.
What made you start Invisibe Inc.?
Firstly I’m a DJ, have been for many years, 20 years this year actually, first playing in clubs in Glasgow in 1995. I also produce some music but this is something I’ve not always been able to focus on as much as I’d like to. I have a DJ blog which I started in 2002 but haven’t really updated it lately, and a Soundcloud page. The label idea started a couple of years ago as a vague notion, a vanity project, conjured up by a friend and I who produce music together, really just as a vehicle for our own music. But nothing got done. So I decided to just take the reins and along with that I expanded the idea to include music by as many artists that I respect as possible and get their music out there. One of the first of these was Eddie Ruscha aka Secret Circuit. He’s a legend I’ve been following since the mid- to late- ’90s who has a vast archive of recorded music, but only a small amount of it available on vinyl. Likewise Higamos Hogamos is also someone I’ve been following for years, and much like Secret Circuit, the majority of their music has been issued only on handmade CDrs. I just thought all this music really needs to be heard my more people. So that’s basically how the first EP came about.
The name Invisible Inc was something that I came up with in a flash of genius, or so I thought. I had lots of ideas utilising the Invisible Inc. / ink wordplay, like having no visible text on the sleeve and that all text would be in spot-lamination… you know that glossy, shiny laminate on otherwise matt background, in other words, only visible if tilted at an angle. I really loathe the cult of DJ and mainstream dance music macho-ness. I started DJing in the ’90s and there was something really appealing about the ego-less, faceless music maker behind a screen, but then I AM a huge fan of The Residents. It could have been anyone. So the ethos was that names and artists were not as important as the music or the artwork, so no credits appear on the sleeves, only on the labels…and all the sleeves are styled the same way. Unfortunately, as is often the case with wonderful plans, I realised with only 300 copies that I couldn’t afford to spot laminate the sleeves so now they all just have no text on the front, and only on the rear. In addition, I discovered that there is a pretty big computer game also called “Invisible Inc.” Bah! So much for originality. The best laid plans… and so on.
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
The next four E.P.s are in production: INVINC 02 by Higamos Hogamos, a 6-tracker due out in August, INVINC 03 by The Poncho Brothers, featuring a Zoovox Remix, INVINC 04 by Sordid Sound System out in October, and INVINC 05 by Tross from Sweden… and of course more to follow. There are already plans for an ambient sub-label under way, with an LP by Jon Keliehor ready to go. Much like how my immature love of wordplay came up with the name Invisible Inc, this one almost got called Monastery Of Sound until common sense, and a fear of lawsuits, got the better of me.
Alongside the first EP I`ve put together a digital only compilation, which is on our Bandcamp page and which is a vehicle primarily to demonstrate the diversity of the label. It features a pretty stellar line-up if I say so myself and the artists are ALL people we plan to release music by over the coming year(s): Paddy Steer (Manchester: Madwaltz, Ninjatune, FFRR), Forever Sound (Glasgow: Horn Wax, Cocktail D’Amore), Ved (Malmo: Lugnet, Psychic Malmo), Zoovox (NY: Lectric Sands), Tross (Kusten, Hoga Nord Rekords), Jon Keliehor (Seattle/Glasgow, Bruton, Warner), Sordid Sound System (Glasgow, Moshi Moshi) and of course Tim Love Lee, Secret Circuit and Higamos Hogamos. There are also a few “unknowns” from Glasgow appearing, a couple of which have my own involvement, one of them being by Kinophone, the original project by my friend Mark and I which prompted the starting of a label, and the other being King Krak, a collaboration with guitarist Graeme Miller of Cracks In The Concrete (Optimo Music).
How would you describe the “Invisible Inc.” Sound?
The actual musical ethos of the label is the hardest thing to pin down. I could describe the various genres on that compilation as mutant Jazz, oddball House, Krautrock, synthesizer Voodoo, melodic Techno, psychedelic Rock, Ambient, New Age, Balearic, Electro Wonk, Downtempo, but these just don’t capture the essence that it’s all coming out of the extreme leftfield and is all pretty psychedelic stuff… music for the “heads”, as they say… but with a solid basis in rhythm and, dare I say it, even Funk.