I really wanted to title an article about a the new Unsheep Netlabel “Follow the Unsheep”, but then Ade Hodges and Cousin Silas had to go and mess it up in the best of all possible ways. Unsheep starts with a show of support for Rick Chase, a long time ambient music supporter who is facing a daunting financial burden after a tragedy. But more about Rick and Unsheep’s support in a bit, let’s talk about this new label first.
Follow The Unsheep
(If I couldn’t get it in as the title, a section title will have to do.)
Unsheep originated as a two part concept: a musicians collective and as a netlabel for the members of the collective. Ade Hodges founded the label in 2014.
The main theme behind the name Unsheep is that of an ethos that rejects sheep-like mentality favored by today’s bland pop music. This isn’t the place to hear the most recent hit manufactured for an American Idol or X-factor celebrity. This isn’t the place for the mechanical drum-machine laden dance music. Instead, this is label that seeks to venture into new territory through experimentation.
The label’s first release is We Are Not Sheep. Ade invited several adventurous musicians in the electronic sphere to send stems, which he then mixed into the collectives first album. This album was released on April 8th, 2014 and features Cousin Silas, William Spivey, Chris Newman, Martin Boulton, Kevin Lyons, Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt, piper_ben, Mark Ward, Ian Craig, Lutz Thuns, Steve Austin Rose and Marcus Jones.
The collectives second release is currently incubating, involving vocalist and Stillstream radio presenter, Rebekkah Hilgraves. Unsheep is built around the nucleus of Hodges, Cousin Silas and Kevin Lyons.
But, even while the second release by the collective is still being worked on, the label has release several works by Cousin Silas. Twang was a bit of a exploration into some experimental guitar techniques inspired by some works that Cousin Silas was listening to a few months ago. This is really unlike his other works, and is still in the CerebralRift review queue for a deeper investigation in the near future. Ade Hodges then decided to re-release Cousin Silas’s The Shipping Forecast a set of smaller ambient pieces on the new label, which he had released previously.
Unsheep Starts With A Show Of Support
This brings us to the two most recent releases, and the wonderful show of support that Unsheep is making for a friend in deep need. Rick Chase is an ambient musician, and has worked at Party Unique Records. His wife lost her battle with cancer a little over a week ago, on Rick’s birthday. Cousin Silas was moved by Rick’s situation, and decided to try to do some fund raising by assembling a release of tracks from various compilations along with two previously unreleased tracks to release on the Unsheep label. Thus
Gallimaufry was released on January 17th, 2015. Ade Hodges followed up with Gallimaury Reimagined on January 18th. The proceeds from both releases are being given to Rick Chase to help defray the medical expenses he faces.
But, Ade didn’t stop with the pair of releases. He announced on Facebook in a thread about the Cousin Silas releases:
Don’t mean to sound pushy but sales of all releases on the Unsheep page will go to Rick while we’re trying to support him.
This is really a major show of support, something that you don’t often see from a label that is just starting out. The accomplishment of bringing out two releases (and high quality releases, I might add) in such a short time shows the strength of the music community that exists outside of the mainstream labels. And, it shows how these people are able to accomplish such an important task in a short period of time. It’s nothing short of astonishing.
Beyond supporting Rick in his time of need, the proceeds from future releases will be used to support other worthy causes and member musicians. While not aggressively proactive, Unsheep hopes to add to its catalogue in the years to come.
Unsheep is off to an amazing start. With five releases already available, and taking up the challenge of raising funds to help support a close friend in his time of need Unsheep is a label that has set a standard that is extremely respectable.
Supporting Rick Chase is a not only a noble act, but one that shows the real family that this musical community has become. While it is sad to see a tragedy bring people together like this, it is still wonderful to see something positive coming out of this tragedy. Please help support Rick: purchase some (or all) of the Unsheep releases, or make a donation via GoFundMe.
Here’s a sample of some of the music on Unsheep…but don’t just listen to: buy it.
(Note: 2015/01/20: updated the article to indicate that The Shipping Forecast is a re-release.)