Thursday, April 25

A brief history of the Symbol series

With Symbol #9 being released this week on our Surus store, and everywhere else on this following Monday, I thought I'd take the time to give a brief insight into a series that proved very popular and captured the imaginations of many music lover.

The name of the series came from the Auxiliary logo - the symbol of the label.  The ethos behind it was that the music would do the talking.  There would be no track list, and when you put it on, you would make your own mind up as to what you took from the music, rather than being influenced by the titles given by the artist. In fact, the track titles i.e Symbol #1.1, #1.2 etc. were made up by one of the online stores so they could catalogue the MP3 versions of each release - a decision we weren't keen on.

The original idea behind the Symbol series was to have a 20-23 minute 'blank canvas' for anything deep and electronic.  The reason for this time limit was due to the fact they were all going to originally be on mini-CD.  A small digipack mini-CD series.  What could go wrong, right?  Well it turns out as cool as I thought this would be, manufacturers had stopped caring about mini-CD's a long time ago and the price wasn't too appealing.  Below was the finished mini-CD digipack 4 panel folding design.


So this was the original plan, which translated to the vinyl in the end.  A two colour scheme for every release, with the text and Auxiliary logo being the colour that would change every release - a silver backgroumd and a solid colour.  Once the decision had been made to push ahead with a limited edition vinyl series instead of the mini-CD format, the colours for the series were dictated by the colours available to us by the pressing plant we were using, which limited our options somewhat.

Onto the music...

Symbol #1 and #2, both by myself, and #2 in conjunction with bvdub, were both done and ready to go pretty much straight away.  The foundations had been laid down and I planned not to do another release for the series, rather show people my blueprint, and see what they brought to the table.  At this point, I had no idea I would be getting sent some of the most amazing music over the last 2 years.  Deep down, I had hoped for it, but it was wait and see time.

Sam KDC had got in touch with me and we started chatting on the regular.  He got wind of the series and was keen to be involved and sent me what eventually became Symbol #3.1.  He then went about creating the other pieces of music for his release.  Him and Method One were both working on their releases and Consequence had also expressed an interest of being involved.  #3, #4 and #5 couldn't be more different, but yet somehow all captured exactly what I wanted this series to be about.  Great music, great ideas, all well produced and perfectly executed.

Brock (bvdub) had sent me an LP about the time of #4 going to press, under a new alias he had started called East Of Oceans.  There was this 20+ minute opus, as only Brock can do, and it said Symbol to me from the first time I heard it.  I proposed that he rework that tune into 2 parts, 1 for each side, then edit them so they worked as separate tracks.  Of course, you all know the results, and that has been one of the fastest selling Symbol 12".

Indigo was up next and he had a track that had been floating about since Autonomic Podcast 12.  I had been playing this track every set and it's the only tune that I changed my stance on - that being, the music had to be written especially for this series.  It's a sublime piece of music that had to come out, so I felt almost obliged to have it as part of his 4 track EP.

Sam had also sent me another bunch of tracks and we started talking about him doing a follow up to #3.  Symbol #8 represented a happier Sam KDC sound, which was more vibrant and upbeat, but still emotional.  He kept the same format, with one long track on one side, and two tracks for the flip.  I felt it only right to give the last release to another of our exclusive signings, Synth Sense.  After impressing everyone with their Tomorrow's World album, it felt right to have them finish the series, with one hell of a 12".  4 sublime pieces that have been played on the Auxcasts for some time now.  Unfortunately, this record had a fair few months of delays, but the main thing is it's out now and provides the perfect end to a pretty much perfect series.

The end... kind of.

I had only ever envisioned the series going to #9.  Why?  Well simply because the design, the number in the middle part of the Auxiliary logo, didn't look right to me in double figures.  It might seem a strange reason, but I'm very particular about the design aspect of the label and its aesthetics.  So now this series has drawn to a close, I've got another series I want to bring forth in the coming months, which will have you all excited all over again.  This will be a little different to Symbol, but will retain the same standards we have set for ourselves.

Anyway, with that being said, if you haven't got your Symbol #9 by Synth Sense 12" yet, then grab a copy for yourself here:


Saimonse said...

Great history ! Below is the link to '10th symbol’ - my personal summary of this amazing series.

enjoy !

therapy030 said...

pretty interresting stuff.

@saimonse: thank you for your great mix of symbol tracks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks James for this worthwhile insight. Funny btw to call it a 'brief history'.

I own each & every release of the series with the exception of no. IV (oops, sorry mate, that's actually two digits :), no. 7 & 9 being my favorite ones.

What is there left to say? Requiescat in pace Symbol. Can't wait for your new concept to be unleashed!

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