The Blaster's voice
Staalplaat is not merely a record label, it is in fact a musicians' microcosm. Everything is there, for Staalplaat works almost like a machine: they produce, publish, distribute and sell, organize and visualize music - and they have their own radio and fanzine too.
The machine is also a perfect symbol for Staalplaat - even the name (which must be Dutch for "steel plate") suggests that you should not expect Easy Listening from the label. The history of Staalplaat can be traced back to Amsterdam of the early 1980ies when Geert-Jan Hobijn and two brothers in mind decided to found what was to become a record label. It was not a well thought out step though, but more of a fun project for the founding members.
The idea of creating a worldwide network for new sounds and concepts was conceived later, when Staalplaat signed international artists and distributed records for other likeminded labels. The Staalplaat network has thus developed over the years, as the label became famous for its openmindedness towards new and unconventional sounds. Today, Staalplaat have a German headquarter too, which is located in Berlin, Geert-Jan's second home. Hundreds of records, cds, and tapes have been released to date, some of them in a very special packaging or in unusual formats.
Staalplaat have made extensive use of the "collector's item" concept, releasing limited editions of their productions to the loyal following. Notably the highly collectable series "Mort Aux Vaches", a collaboration with the Dutch Radio, features handfolded paper covers and music from daring artists like Zoviet France, John Duncan and Merzbow. Staalplaat obviously puts a lot of effort in the visual aspect, and this does not just cover the creative artwork for the record sleeves. They organize concerts, multimedia and performance art events.
Staalplaat's latest achievement
in this direction is Geert-Jan's "Sound System" concept, a highly improvisational
mix of noisy sound and visual elements. It's almost a theatre of everyday
noises, incorporating the sounds of refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and
coffee machines. Each performance of the "Staalplaat Sound Systems" reflects
its direct environment and is thus unique.
The highly experimental Sound Systems