From our first taste of Florian T M Zeisig’s ‘Coatcheck‘ to more recent releases from Emily Berregard and Horoscope, Glyn Maier’s Enmossed label is steadily entrenching itself as must-listen territory for those who look for the stranger side of soothing music.
Bearing a consistent crop of hazy music, often swiftly dubbed ambient but frequently reaching that perimeter of the genre which bleeds into the worlds of sonic art and experimental, Enmossed shows a dedication and consistency that can be rare to find.
More to their credit, there’s a visible tendency to push for yet more explorative sounds without sacrificing the appeal to their core sonic signature, resulting in a fingerprint on each release that is summarised so succinctly by the title of the label itself: a blanket of soft moss to sink into.
With a spate of collaborations with fellow experimentalist label Psychic Liberation, besides their own issues, Enmossed — and Glyn Maier’s own music by relation — is steadily gaining popularity and ground. We couldn’t think of a better time to invite Glyn onto the IA MIX Series to discuss his label’s vision, his process of seeking artists and signing music to the label, and more.
Interview by Freddie Hudson
"In the age of digital media physical artefacts may seem to be relics, but as corporeal beings, I believe a tangible connection is important, bringing focus to an artist's work rather than algorithmically selected background music"
Hi Glyn — thanks for coming on the mix series. I’d like to start by asking you about your history in music: we know you best from your Enmossed label, but is there an older project that started things for you?
Hi Freddie, thanks very much for the invite… As for history, it could go back some time, but in 2005 I moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for University and stumbled across a flyer that read something like “f#@! music, just noise” and thought yeah, sounds like a good show. It was at a small venue called the Nightlight, a DIY mainstay of the region hosting a wide variety of ‘underground music’.
It was key in introducing me to a lot of wild sounds, along with labels such as Hot Releases and Tone Log. Throughout the decade I lived there I had/participated in numerous music projects, and ran a couple small tape labels, inspired by previous and ongoing DIY scenes and political movements. An odd one was basically a backing band for a punk act. So it was just a friend playing bass and myself on drums making fairly standard punk that sounded like it should really have a singer and guitarist added. “Boring punk” – we played two gigs, ha.
Talk us through the tracklist for this mix: we know some names from your label, or from recent releases, but others are unfamiliar.
m i l l e – I’m thankful to have seen m i l l e live a number of times, building ‘minimal techno’ with various small objects and a looping pedal, really hypnotic. m i l l e is the solo project of Chanelle Bergeron, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, who also operates the wonderful Moon By Moon Apothecary. This track is from a recent self-released album.
Chaperone – David Coccagna has been building a pristinely corroded body of work and this slice is right on the vibe – I think a repress is coming sometime via Emmanual Vincent Presents?
Glyn Maier – From a work in progress… Honeycow (the dog/co-producer) approves of it so far.
Forest Kelley – Album coming soon via ENXPL (collaboration series with Psychic Liberation). Forest Kelley is a photographer based in Kentucky, and is currently finalising the album with self-developed software.
bleeech – From an album coming next year via enmossed. I first heard bleeech via Emily Berregaard’s “Silk House Sunday” mix series and am delighted to present their first full length album – beautiful wall-to-wall haze.
Kazuomi Eshima & Masahiko Takeda – I generally pick up everything Nara, Japan-based Muzan Editions releases without listening first; this recent one has a lot of ‘hyper-real’ sounds with a proper languidity, highly recommended.
MARV – ‘Keyboard Suit I’ (ENM-10) will be released soon, maybe by the time this is published? I chose this track for the mix because it’s one of my favorites from the album – the acoustic horn really sets it over the top. Perfect mood for staring out a window on a rainy day.
Unt – Absurd abstract dub album created by Forest Management (John Daniel) + Florian T M Zeisig. Instant classic to be released next year via ENXPL as an LP.
John O’Neill – Excerpt from an upcoming tape via Hot Releases – the A-side is perfect for a late summer nap. Side B has harsher timbres, retaining the same thoughtfulness. O’Neill also lived in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area for awhile and I’ve appreciated seeing his work over the years – looking forward to more new works.
LXV – LXV’s remix for the first enmossed lp (Emily Berregaard “Hallowed”) helped begin enmossed – this track is from a new tape ‘Anxiety Euphoria’. A fantastically deep album which I was grateful to dive in and finalize [master] the audio – out now as a self-released cassette.
xen zen – From an upcoming enmossed tape – originally created for a “sleep” performance, the Berlin, Germany-based artist has sharped ‘dub techno’ tracks into exquisite ASMR-informed environments.
Bridget Ferrill – Coming soon via ENXPL. Nick Klein knows Berlin, Germany-based Bridget Ferrill and solicited this album – while this particular track emphasises digital cutting and looping, Ferrill covers a wide swath of techniques on her brilliant debut album.
Nick Klein – The original version of this track comes from “Actor-Network Theory”, released by iDEAL Recordings late last year. Wonderful track for deep Maine winters which I’d been meaning to reshape into a very long version for some time – this is a first attempt.
Alene Marie + Glyn Maier – Alene Marie is better known as Liquid Asset, creating laser-sharp club and acid bangers. But she also makes outstanding synth-pop and new age/ambient music as Alene Marie, and is one of my most admired producers/composers. It was an honour to collaborate on this track, a breezy Sunday jam using just two synthesizers, all live. It will be included on the upcoming LP ‘Colors of Distance‘ (ENMB-10) which collects a number of Alene Marie’s glistening ambient works, due early next year.
On Enmossed itself, can you talk to us a little about the label’s ideals and aims with releasing music?
The enmossed label was founded based on a few principles: releasing new music, using recycled or environmentally-friendly materials, and donating all profits to a good endeavour of the artist’s choice. A focus on hand-made methods emphasises a human touch, embracing “imperfections” as unique attributes to each object.
In the age of digital media physical artefacts may seem to be relics, but as corporeal beings, I believe a tangible connection is important – bringing focus to an artist’s work rather than algorithmically-selected background music.
Overall ideals and aims align generally with leftist liberation movements; while I don’t have any illusions about remaking our social world via a small record label, perhaps there’s some small value in statements of solidarity and doing what’s possible.
Many of the works released are realising better worlds, building a psycho-social foundation for new, more compassionate ways of being. I also strongly believe in the therapeutic potential of music, in the sense of both providing respite and comfort as well as expanding one’s thoughts and connections to each other.
What is your main method of discovering artists for the label? Is it a process predominantly of connection and being in contact, or of searching?
There really is no set process – I solicit albums from artists I admire but also keep an open door for demos ‘out of the blue’. There’s a lot of great music being made across the world at the moment and many times I’ll need to hold off on a release offer due to time and production constraints.
"Many of the works released are realising better worlds, building a psycho-social foundation for new, more compassionate ways of being. I also strongly believe in the therapeutic potential of music, in the sense of both providing respite and comfort as well as expanding one's thoughts and connections to each other"
We recently featured a music video from a split release between yourself and LXV, seemingly released via both Enmossed and Psychic Liberation and one of a range of releases showing your connection. What’s the link between the two labels, and why is it that you are operating together?
The split 12″ with LXV was released solely by Psychic Liberation, an excellent and eclectic imprint run by Nick Klein. It was planned to be two separate 7″s, but due to the changing economics of record pressing as well as a conceptual similarity between the 4 tracks, we all decided a split 12″ would be most sensible.
That said, Nick Klein and I originally connected via Soundcloud of all places back in 2014 or so. While we’d been tangentially aware of each other’s work operating within the US East Coast underground experimental realm, sharing works in progress as well as lengthy discussions regarding art and theory turned into a great friendship.
The ENXPL (‘enmossed x Psychic Liberation’) collaboration series – currently cassette only, but with plans for LPs in the future – was born out of a desire to properly present and document some of the best new music we’ve been hearing, drawing both from artists we’re very familiar with, as well as relatively unknown artists sharing their debut albums.
Enmossed’s digital output is certainly priced at the most affordable levels: how is it that you can operate the label, with all the costs of mastering and such, with some releases being available for just a few dollars?
The vast majority of label sales are for physical media – digital sales have always been a small fraction. I originally priced digital releases at approximately $1/track, but with the advent of COVID-19, decided to make all digital releases “pay what you wish”. An advantage of digital media is its relatively unbounded reproducibility – and I still retain some ‘cyber-utopian’ ideas of sharing music – especially with people who aren’t able to spend money on it.
So, the enmossed finances are primarily balanced with physical media sales, but digital purchases are of course very appreciated! I’ve found that digital sales have actually increased since making all albums “pay what you wish”. And – as mentioned before, one of the principles for enmossed is to donate all proceeds – so the label has never been intended to be a commercial enterprise. But it is indeed always a delicate financial balancing act for a small label without outside funding or guaranteed distribution.
When it comes to physical releases you seem to take preference for tapes over most other formats, with small-press vinyl and lathe-cut copies of certain releases. With all the mayhem and havoc plaguing the vinyl pressing-plants recently, this seems to be quite a wise decision to retain the label’s autonomy, but we’re curious what your original decision here was?
The production cost and turnaround time for cassettes has been far cheaper and faster than any sort of vinyl, even pre-pandemic. And while cassette fidelity isn’t technically on par with vinyl (not to mention digital), I have an appreciation for the analog impact that tape imparts on sound reproduction. The format also lends itself to use of recycled materials (except for the actual ferric tape). So cassettes align well to the general principles behind the label as well as being affordable.
We have noticed you list your location on Bandcamp as ‘the Unorganised Territory of South Oxford, Maine’: can you explain what this means to those of us not from the States?
“Unorganised Territory” basically means any place which isn’t an official city/town in the US – anyone who lives way out in rural/remote areas which aren’t designated within a town boundary is living in unorganised territory. I live in the southern part of Oxford county which is in western Maine – US states are divided up into counties, basically equivalent to a province or prefecture level of government.
I’m right next to the White Mountains National Forest, a vast legally-protected natural area with numerous snow-capped mountains (hence the name). The house is off-grid, meaning electricity is from solar panels in the backyard, water is from a well, and internet is via satellite. It’s a fantastic area full of great hiking trails, lakes, rivers, marshes, and mountains and I’m very thankful for the privilege of being able to live here.
It seems that nature, and natural aesthetic, is a big part of your life, and the identity of the label. How has your location impacted your approach to music, or to sound?
South Oxford has been the first place I’ve lived outside of a town and city and one thing which has really struck me is how much my ears have ‘opened’. Without the constant din of mechanical (and etc) noises, even very quiet natural sounds have become so much more apparent: hearing individual leaves falling from trees, or insects chewing on plants.
As far as a natural aesthetic, I have an appreciation for ‘deep ecology’ concepts and hope we can live more harmoniously within our environment to preserve not only the beings we share this earth with but also ourselves.
While we’ve asked already about the forthcoming material you’ve used in this mix, can you tell us what else lies in store for Glyn Maier / Enmossed followers for this year?
I’ve been slowly working on new recordings for a full-length album, unknown at the moment when it will be ready, but I have just finalised the enmossed fall release schedule, which is available via a recently-built website.
Katharina Schmidt – Tennis Courts in the Half Light (ENMD-03)
August 31 2021 – digital
MARV – Keyboard Suite Vol I (ENM-10)
September 3 2021 – LP – preorder live
Russian Tsarlag / Secret Boyfriend – Split (ENXPL08)
September 15 2021 – cassette – preorder live – repress scheduled
Sachi Kobayashi – Imaginary Trip (ENXPL09)
September 15 2021 – cassette – preorder live
Yeong Die – Tomorrow? (ENMB-11)
October 15 2021 – lathe cut LP
Florian T M Zeisig – Walking Mix (ENMX-15)
October 31 2021 – cassette + t-shirt
Zenxen – In Waves (ENMX-16)
October 31 2021 – cassette
1. m i l l e – kastella
2. Chaperone – Vivesection*
3. Glyn Maier – Untitled (07 21 21)*
4. Forest Kelley – Silt (Side A)**
5. bleeech – angel thief**
6. Kazuomi Eshima & Masahiko Takeda – LinNe
7. MARV – Tokyo TX
8. Unt – Insomnia**
9. John O’Neill – Backyard at Zoey and Craig’s 05 27 2021*
10. LXV – Fever Dreaming*
11. Zenxen – mesh of nodes**
12. Bridget Ferrill – Viola Da Gamba**
13. Nick Klein – Choking On Ice (Glyn Maier Reshape)*
14. Alene Marie + Glyn Maier – Colors of Distance**