11 January 2010

Mute Records

Formed in 1978 by Daniel Miller, Mute began life as a one-man operation which was set up specifically to release the single T.V.O.D.. The single was backed by the Crash-Inspired b-side Warm Leatherette, which minimalistically mused on the erotic potential of vehicle collisions. The b-side, ironically, went on to become more famous than T.V.O.D, and has since been covered by Chicks On Speed, embedding it firmly into the recent Electroclash movement.

More importantly, the single, recorded under the name The Normal, produced enough cash to push Mute into full-time operation. This humble beginning has now led to an independent record company with offices in Prague, Paris, New York and Los Angeles, continuing to chart with artists likeMoby, Erasure, Depeche Mode and, more recently, Miss Kittin's first solo album.

Despite its mainstream leanings, Mute supports and, indeed, relies heavily on its less commercial artists. Disturbing sounds from Diamanda Galás, Einstürzende Neubaten and Laibach provide a darker edge to Erasure and Depeche's ultimately shiny pop. Industrial-classical harmonies from Miranda Sex Garden sit alongside edgy synth offerings from ex-Depeche Mode Recoil.

A whole range of subsidiaries exist beneath the main Mute label: Mutefilm handles video and, more frequently, DVD releases. Nova Mute takes care of electronic dance and The Grey Area maintains classic industrial recordings, including Die Krupps and Throbbing Gristle. The Fine Line, on the other hand, features a diverse range of soundtracks, including music from Simon Boswell and Barry Adamson amongst others.

There is no doubt now that Mute has achieved worldwide success, maintaining a position alongside the mainstream music industry, unafraid to work alongside other such labels to ensure its survival. Mute continues to work hard to ensure that the exposure of new groups continues apace, including my current favourite Polly Scattergood.

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