Observant Records launches Bandcamp subscription program

Observant Records has made back catalog and exclusive releases of all artists on the label available to Bandcamp subscribers for just $12 per year. That’s $1 per month!

Yes, the full catalog of Eponymous 4, Empty Ensemble and now Penzias and Wilson can be accessed for the price of one album. And more exclusive releases are coming from all our artists.

The current subscription program for Eponymous 4 will end on May 1, and the Empty Ensemble subscription program has already been transferred to the label program.

Visit Bandcamp for more details and to sign up.

Penzias and Wilson debuts a split single with Empty Ensemble

Penzias and Wilson announced the release of their debut single, “Rescue the Fly“, a cover of Empty Ensemble’s 弦楽四重奏曲其の一六番. The single is split with a remix of the original track and arrives March 26, 2021.

“Rescue the Fly” first appeared as a solo piano piece on NaSoPiAlMo 2006, an album recorded as part of National Solo Album Month. The pieces on the album were arranged for string quartet and became Empty Ensemble’s debut album. (NaSoPiAlMo 2006 is available as an exclusive for Empty Ensemble subscribers.)

Unlike the other tracks on the album, the sixth string quartet song hewed closer to pop music than classical music. So Penzias and Wilson gave it the full band treatment it deserved.

Penzias and Wilson is not a duo. In fact, it’s just another alias, as explained in the band’s bio:

What kind of music would a duo named “Penzias and Wilson” play? Not the scientists themselves, mind you. Just a pair of musicians, one named Penzias, the other Wilson.

That’s the question.

This project may not necessarily be the answer.

Two cover albums by Eponymous 4 arrive in 2020

Eponymous 4 announced the release of two cover albums arriving Oct. 30, 2020. Shinkyoku Moratorium Nihongohan takes a karaoke approach to Japanese indie rock and pop music from the early 2000s. Shinkyoku Moratorium Eigoban imagines a series of songs covered by other artists — a post-rock Roberta Flack, a post-punk Bruce Robison, Janet Jackson as grunge.

The albums are preceded by two singles. “Hurt So Bad”, originally by Linda Ronstadt, arrives on Sept. 4, while “Be My Last” by Utada Hikaru arrives on Oct. 2.

UPDATE: Shinkyoku Moratorium Eigoban has been rescheduled for a Dec. 4, 2020 release.

It’s been a decade. Let’s see what’s in the vaults!

Observant Records was born out of impatience.

When I was growing up, I thought the only way to get my music heard by people other than me was to get signed to a record label. As active as the Hawaiian music scene may be, I knew my kind of writing would not play well in Honolulu clubs or radio.

So I waited till I graduated from college and moved to the Mainland to get a lay of the land. By the time that happened, creating your music in your own home became a viable option. As technology improved and an independent infrastructure became more accessible, the record label system seemed more trouble than it was worth.

I wanted to make music on my own and distribute it on my own. And I didn’t care that it didn’t sound entirely professional just yet. I wanted it out there now.

A stimulus check from the federal government kickstarted Observant Records, which I formed on my birthday in 2008.

enigmatics was the first release, and I optimistically pressed 100 copies. I still have 86 of them in my closet.

The label turned 10 years old in 2018, even though it hasn’t be entirely active all that time. But it’s a long-enough duration to produce an archive, one that seems worthy of retrospection.

Bandcamp made subscriptions available to artists, which I haven’t found occasion to use — till now. I’ll be making available the old Work Release Program releases, early versions of the albums now available. I might even find a few infant demos and studio experiments. These releases will be subscriber exclusives.

Visit the Bandcamp pages of Eponymous 4 and Empty Ensemble to subscribe and to access these new old recordings.

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