RdG: What grabs you about the label… in terms of the visceral underbelly of the business and how you do it so no compromises are made?
GB: I can only say the following: I will only release that which I like, viscerally, and I will do it, even if it makes absolutely no business sense at that moment. Things make sense once they have been done.
If you ask me for a general business principle I adhere to, I would say it is to focus carefully on the creation of a conduit, a channel, one which people will through relentless PR work become inexorably aware of over time, by allowing artists to fundamentally follow their insights. This stratification of this awareness will be strong, and less susceptible to fads and temporary distortions in taste. Here and there, when I feel it is opportune, I assert a principle, I suggest a book, a meeting, a mental image, a picture, an association. In very very rare cases I will say no.
My disciplined practice is to relentlessly develop a solid platform and its business ramifications, so that the music may reach out and stand the test of time, and not be abandoned.
RdG: What feelings rise up in your throat when you listen to the music as it is being recorded… while you’re standing in the console room? What goes through your head?
GB: Works, which have appeared on RareNoise, have come to be through a variety of contexts and processes. Some are near-pure studio recordings, others are the result of studio work and deep editing, others are collage reconstructions of existing materials; Studio work is often but the first layer.
The moment of greatest exhilaration is usually associated with the first time I listen to the masters of a given piece of work (having listened to the whole project develop step by step), and physically realise how far the music has grown from the initial roots. It is a titanic feeling, a sense not too far from the idea of the sublime. Enormous and simultaneously incredibly small.
Also, music as its being played live in the right place at the right time will send me into near-trance. Having curated a section (the “RareNoiseNight”) at the Genoa Jazz Festival over the last five years and having therefore had the opportunity to present artists from the RN roster to the public and witness their performance in my native town in Italy (Naked Truth with Nils Petter Molvaer, Brainkiller, InterStatic, David Fiuczynski’s Planet MicroJam, Mole’ Trio with Stomu Takeishi, Berserk!, Chat Noir and most recently The New Standard of Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow and Bobby Previte) has certainly been one of the highlights of my life.
A recent performance by JÜ with Kjetil Möster at the Ljubjana Jazz festival also had a similar effect on me.
RdG: What can you and do you (if at all) do to make the listener hear what you’re hearing?
GB: Hard question to answer – the presumption is, that, since all and any music on RareNoise is quite visceral and emotionally stimulating, listeners will also be moved. Coherence and honesty of relationship with the artists at source usually translates into work of sincerity; sincerity tends to be rewarded by listeners. Sincerity means no bullshit, on any level, ever.
RdG: What do you care about in terms of the music that’s on your label? I suppose I’m asking you about pet peeves?
GB: At the risk of sounding presumptuous, quoting Timothy Leary from an interview he gave around the time he was running for Governor of California, I would say I hope our releases will give listeners a mind-blowing God experience. I would like people’s senses to be stretched, I would like them to experience a sense of falling, like Claire in her dream in Wenders’ Until The End Of The World.
The only pet peeve I have is how manipulative people working in music can be. But you get over it, by weeding out those whom you can’t work with.
RdG: How much do listeners and critics affect your thoughts regarding the artists who’ll be on the label? Or do you not give a rat’s arse, what people think?
GB: While hearing listeners praise the work, once done gives me no end of joy, ex-ante I do not give a rat’s arse, true that. What irks me is small-mindedness, lack of detail and focus, sloppiness, superficiality, the praise of simplicity when things are complicated and the praise of complication when they are simple.
RdG: Have you had any difficulties now versus when you were starting up? Are there still things that need to be ironed out or is change the only constant in life?
GB: All the time… It’s all constant trial and error, a balancing act between tiptoeing around the immediate while simultaneously planning further and further ahead. Having said this, things are looking up, and I think people are starting to congregate in the conduit and are starting to enjoy (and appropriate) the output of the label. Business results are following suit.
RdG: Artists’ like music to come from the quintessence—that fifth element or spectral dimension in music—the soul, if you like… Do you think that hogwash or do you feel the same way about the producer’s role as well?
GB: Quintessence is the essence for the Creator. Whatever is left is hogwash. My role is less essential, and certainly more derivative. I have no role without creators, they have one without me.