Written By |
Jack Vanstone

It’s early 2018 and we’re itching to pull the trigger.

If I’m totally honest we’ve felt this way since January 2016, when our desire to launch our vinyl catalog reared it’s head for the 3rd or 4th time. We’d made a point to each other of not rushing into it, not for fear’s sake but because as a team, we place great importance on an essential combination of creativity and project planning.

Combining these 2 keys factors has always served us well, right from our digital catalog through to ABYSS | FEATURES and now into our vinyl catalog too, this setup facilitates the creative flexibility to curate and design releases that work both audibly and aesthetically.

Over the last 24 months we’ve focused vast amounts of time and invested a small fortune into creating a truly unique vinyl experience, covering all bases including mastering by professional mastering engineer Matt Colton at Alchemy Mastering in London, distribution by TripleVision Distribution and 4 expertly crafted contributions to our new vinyl catalog from renowned techno artists; Rommek, Yuji Kondo, Snitch and Michal Jablonski.

The creative process started out like any other creative project, a minefield of ideas and contributions from the whole team swirled and spooled as we generated concept after concept, some were well formed and others not so but ultimately they were all leading in the same direction.

As the first few months of 2016 ticked by our eagerness to get moving with the vinyl catalog was looming ominously in the background, we had deduced from our idea generation that we were seeking a thick and atmospheric yet balanced sound palette for the release, but we were yet to decide on potential artists.

By this point we had all of the ‘necessaries’ thought out, which left us in a slight dilemma, having already agreed on a solid sound and having planned the majority of the release without the tracklist meant we were on the look out for a very specific collection of music.

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The hunt was uneasy at first, with the whole team locating tracks and artists that suited our digital catalog more so than our vinyl catalog; this all changed however, when we stumbled across an early version of ‘Wrath’ in Michal Jablonski’s live mix for the DRONE Podcast series, which was recorded live at Audioriver Festival back in August 2016.

Michal had been an artist that we’d admired for a long time and we felt that missing out on his talent wasn’t an option. After speaking briefly with Michal it was clear that for us to push through an agreement we were going to have to guarantee distribution and act fast to secure the remaining artists. We all agreed that this was not an opportunity to miss out on, so we gave ‘Wrath’ the first place on the EP and set about finding the remaining 3 tracks to finalise the EP’s tracklist.

A few tense weeks went by with nothing more than a few potential tracks to fit the build, until early October 2016 when we stumbled across Snitch’s ‘Mechanical Waves’ on Soundcloud.

In the majority of instances we don’t sign tracks that have already been made available for public consumption, but there was something in the swing of the track that we couldn’t get away from; complimenting the tough textures of ‘Wrath’ with subtle ambiances and atmospheric bleeds, it was clear that Snitch’s sound belonged not only on the label but on ABYSS 001 as well.

By January 2017 we had secured the B-Side for the release in addition to exclusive distribution with TripleVision – a process that was incredibly rewarding even though it was testing at times.

We were left with 2 final places to fill and only a few months before the lacquer was due at TripleVision for pressing. Our next artist was more of a deliberate selection than an epic accidental find, our choice manifested itself in the form of Yuji Kondo, a truly unique producer now based out of Osaka, Japan.

We had initially stumbled upon Yuji through his alias as Ducerey Ada Nexino via SNTS’s Boiler Room mix, circa 2015. We’d all admired Yuji and his creative works for some time and when our team’s videographer Max flagged ‘Ducerey Ada Nexino – The Shape of Hands‘ during our curation process for the vinyl release, it seemed a natural step to securing the next track for the release.

Our success in securing Yuji for our first vinyl release was confirmed only weeks later and this gave the team renewed focus, setting our sights on another of our favourite artists was the next and final logic step in building the EP’s tracklist.

Surplus to only a small selection of other potential artists, Rommek’s name had been floating about since the beginning of the process. As we were closing in on the test press deadline, we decided to reach out to see if there was a darker driven side to his sound that could really compliment the release, with such a strong tone carried across the board from visual aesthetics through to the releases sound palette we were attempting a hail-mary type execution.

It was incredible then, when we received the first version of ‘Surrender Yourself’ – a track that we feel defines as much of our label’s sound as it does Rommek’s. Everything had aligned with just 6 weeks until mastering and it seemed only right to invite him to join us for the upcoming mastering session at Alchemy.

In September 2017 we headed down to London for a sit in mastering session with Matta professional and organic audio experience that won’t soon be forgotten, and the first of many future sessions at this incredible mastering studio.

For me, it wasn’t until this point that it really felt real.

Fast forward to December 2017, test presses have arrived. A proud moment for the team all round and just what was needed to end a difficult yet rewarding year of intense highs and lows.

Being able to feel the weight of the vinyl, the quality of the packaging, the warmth and tightness of the audio and the impact of the layout and formatting in physical form was a completely new and surreal experience. Nearly 2 full years had passed by and before we knew it we were ready to launch a critical new platform for the label.

With each copy of the release we had also acquired a 12″ x 12″ square card inserts and a custom download card in-keeping with the release’s earthy aesthetic. A limited number of PR copies were also about to be prepared to be sent to some of our artists and affiliates in a uniquely embossed black ABYSS box.

Having spent nearly 18 months up to this stage towing the line between creativity and organisation we knew then that our endurance had been worth it.

Through the conceptualisation, curation, design, development and execution phases of the project we had managed to align several key factors that had combined to create what is now a full creative concept, physical product and a start to our first vinyl catalog.

All that was left was to prepare the release for publication and begin sharing what has been a hard earn’t, long term collective goal for myself and the team. The releases title ‘Envisioned Disorder’ has only grown to mean more since it’s inception in the early phases of the conceptualisation process and over time this chaotic and sometimes illogical process has been planned, organised and envisioned from the very beginning.