Dual Planet is a relatively new Melbourne-based record label established in 2013 by Rocket Distribution and curated by James Pianta and Mike Lenton. Describing their new venture as “dedicated to exploring the electronic otherworlds”, Dual Planet is primarily focussed on electronic recordings – both vintage and contemporary. Those of you familiar with Votary and Roundtable Records will recognise James Pianta’s involvement as a quality guarantee, and give you some idea of what to expect from Dual Planet releases in the future.
The first four releases from the label include the reissue of Steve Maxwell Von Braund’s 1975 Monster Planet and Sunday Night at the Total Theatre (live recording from electronic duo Cybotron), plus two albums from Italian library composer/musician Tiesco. Based on these releases one may assume the label is all about vintage electronics? Don’t be fooled – Dual Planet are developing a contemporary side to their label, with recording of new music already underway in Melbourne and abroad.
You can read more about the current releases on Diggin Melbourne – Dual Planet
Diggin’ Melbourne recently had a chat with Dual Planet’s James Pianta about the new label and what we can expect in upcoming months. Read more below.
James Pianta of Dual Planet with Diggin’ Melbourne
DM: Aside from yourself, who is involved in Dual Planet
JP: Dual Planet is managed by Mike Lenton and myself. We are curating the label under Rocket Distribution.
DM: Tell us a little about the new releases. These are all relatively rare and obscure titles, and only ever pressed in limited quantities – what are they worth these days and just how hard to find are the original LPs?
JP: Prices always fluctuate for records so it’s hard to pinpoint a price. But yeah they are all rare. Especially the Cybotron Total Theatre LP as only 100 copies was originally pressed.
DM: … and Monster Planet? – never seen or heard of this before the Dual Planet release? Was this record ever sold outside gigs, and the inner network and band/fans/family?
JP: Monster Planet was originally issued on the Clear Light Of Jupiter label. CLOJ evolved from Pipe Records in Melbourne and released a string of electronic and Prog records in the 70s. The label then developed into the Cleopatra label who was responsible for many great Melbourne recordings throughout the 80s.
DM: I’m also intruigued by Tiesco. I know Italian Library records (Liuto, Flower, Octopus etc) are dope, but that’s where my knowledge ends… what Italian label was this collection of works gathered from? Just how obscure and difficult to find are these records?
JP: Well Italian library is amazing but Teisco really transcends any familiar notion of Library music. Generally speaking Library composers were professional classically trained composers or jazz musicians. Teisco is a different story as he was a young amateur bedroom musician who fortunately was able to get his compositions released, as his mother owned the label. While his compositions were issued as “production music”, his music is really something else entirely; Outsider Cosmic/DIY Punk/Mutant New Age is a good place to start!
DM: You always seem to achieve a fantastic level of sound quality with your releases; are you using only original masters when manufacturing the reissues? Have you had to revert to recording in the original vinyl in any cases because original tapes have been destroyed?
JP: It differs from project to project. Sometimes we get the master tapes, sometimes we have to resort to using vinyl as the master. Not necessarily that the masters are destroyed, it’s just that quite often there is no record of where the tapes ended up. For example, when I first released Sven Libaek’s Inner Space soundtrack on Votary in 2006, the general consensus was that the tapes were lost – but I persisted for years and ended up locating them and we were able to use the tapes for the second press in 2012. When dealing with the artist themselves or small labels the likelihood of getting access to tapes to greatly higher than when dealing with major labels.
DM: No doubt you’ve heard of Jeff Crozier… Musician, magician and electronics guy? Can we expect to see Dual Planet digging up lost tapes of these mysterious times in Australian music?
JP: Interesting you mention Jeff Crozier/Geoff Krozier. Stay tuned for news on that! One thing that I’m very excited about is one of the next Dual Planet releases, the work of Melbourne Anaesthetist come electronic music pioneer Val Stephen, an incredible composer who’s music went virtually unknown throughout his lifetime but recorded a large body of unpublished home recorded Musique Concrete experiments. Amazing and important Australian music.
DM: Are you manufacturing the reissue vinyl here in Australia?
JP: Dual Planet titles are manufactured in the US. This is because we use a particular style of sleeve only available from one company in the US. On saying that we have just released another LP on a Dual Planet side label, which we pressed locally at Zenith (Melbourne).
DM: Are the current releases also available on CD/digital download?
JP: We only make some titles available on CD. Depends of the titles. All titles are available as digital download.
DM: Your artwork for Dual Planet is great. The overall look of the label and first four releases is on the money! Is this Callum Flack at work – restoring and creating?
Yeah, I was always manage to drag Callum into anything that I do across all labels. Callum worked on the first four Dual Planet LPs, as well as Martin Young from Sound Awareness who designed the logo.
DM: Who is your creative director at Dual Planet – how do share the duties around?
JP: Callum has taken a break and we have another talented designer Luke Fraser on board for the next round of releases.
DM: Now, on a digging tip… I know you go deep! Are you still ‘discovering’ records that you probably overlooked in the past?
JP: Sure always. The majority of music is overlooked. I was up in Queensland over the Christmas period and the amount of weird shit that can be found in rural areas is phenomenal. Not that everything needs to be re-documented but for my own personal interest I’m always fascinated finding forgotten and antiquated recordings.
DM: What’s your latest notable record find?
JP: Well recently I got into this untapped op shop basement in rural Queensland and I was pulling all kinds of great records! Syrius, private Australian jazz from Ron Falson (one of the players on Inner Space), Egyptian synth music, soul 45s, lots of custom advertising stuff… makes a visit to the in-laws all worthwhile!
DM: What’s coming up in 2014 ?
JP: Something I’m really looking forward to is archiving all the unreleased Cybotron material. Some superb forgotten Australian electronics coming up on Dual Planet. Another thing I’m very excited about is a new side label of Dual Planet called Monster Skies, a project between Andy Votel and myself. Look out for some mindblowing music on both labels in 2014.
Read more about the first four releases Diggin Melbourne – Dual Planet