Record Label: The Wire
Releases of the year: We asked our contributors to nominate their top 10 records, CDs, downloads and streams of the year, then we counted up the votes
Critics’ reflections: Our contributors look back on 2016’s cultural highs and lows
The Social Network: Robert Barry on the growing importance of the collective
We Are The Music Makers: Sam Underwood on inventor musicians
Justice For All: Laina Dawes on race and resistance
The Enigma Machine: Keith Fullerton Whitman on the fallen heroes of the Buchla synthesizer
Patronising Behaviour: Rory Gibb on corporate interference
Columnists’ charts: Our specialist critics select music that rocked their corner of the subculture, from avant rock to the outer limits
Artists’ reflections: A cast of 2016’s most active movers and shakers shines the spotlight on their cultural year
Archive releases of the year: Our contributors voted for their top 10 archival records, CDs, downloads and streams, and we counted them all up
Foodman: Footwork keeps the Japanese producer’s synthetic mayhem moving. By James Hadfield
Jacques Brodier: The French composer rides the airwaves into far distant worlds. By Philip Clark
DJ Lag: It’s all about drug-free fun for Durban’s young gqom master. By Claire Sawers
Tropa Macaca: The Portuguese duo surf ’n’ loop their way through humid psychedelia. By Stewart Smith
Global Ear – Marrakech: Cosmo Records’ organic electro-acoustic hybrids shape the future of Moroccan dance. By Holly Dicker
Invisible Jukebox – Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh: The saxophonist and pedal steel player fill their ears with The Wire’s mystery record selection. Tested by Mike Barnes
The Inner Sleeve – Deathbomb Arc/True Neutral Crew’s Brian Kinsman on Big Audio Dynamite’s No 10, Upping St
Epiphanies – Jamaican saxophonist Saxa teaches Val Wilmer a lesson in rhythm ’n’ rime
Print Run – New music books: Experimental Music Since 1970 by Jennie Gottschalk; Experimentations: John Cage In Music, Art And Architecture by Branden W Joseph; Radio Happenings: Conversations 1966–67 by John Cage & Morton Feldman; Bop Apocalypse: Jazz, Race, The Beats & Drugs by Martin Torgoff; Gone ’Til November by Lil Wayne; After Sound: Toward A Critical Music by G Douglas Barrett; Honk, Conk And Squacket: Fabulous And Forgotten Sound-Words From A Vanished Age Of Listening by IM Rawes
On Screen – New films and DVDs: Huw Wahl’s Action Space
On Location – Earth + Neurosis, London; Arika Episode 8, Glasgow; Cycle Music And Art Festival, Kópavogur; Matana Roberts’s Wild Card: 2’s/3’s/4’s, London; Matmos Perform The Music Of Robert Ashley, London; Death Grips, London; Moor Mother, Oakland
On Site – Recent exhibitions: Note Form, London, UK
Soundcheck: Lauri Ainala, Amklon, Martin Archer, Borbetomagus, Michael Chapman, Common, Council Estate Electronics, Dam-Funk, Demdike Stare, Desdem, Die Reihe, East Of The Valley Blues, Eaves, Max Eilbacher, Ekkah x Dam-Funk, Emika & Prague Metropolitan Orchestra, Brian Eno, Felicita, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, Alfred Harth, Harth/Jörg Fischer/Marcel Daemgen, Harth/Seidel/Spera/Van Den Plas, Hermetic Brotherhood Of Lux-Or, Eric Hofbauer Quintet, Isasa, Dawda Jobarteh, JPEGMAFIA x Freaky, Kamixlo, Leyden Jars, Mai Mai Mai, Harvey Mandel, XL Middleton & Eddie Funkster, Nicole Mitchell Black Earth Ensemble & Ensemble Laborintus, Meredith Monk, Nite-Funk, Norvis Junior, Diamond Ortiz, Bob Ostertag, Overtone Ensemble, Radian, Eve Risser White Desert Orchestra, São Paulo Underground, Ghédalia Tazartès/Paweł Romańczuk/Andrzej Załęski, A Tribe Called Quest, Unruly Milk, Unusual Squirrel, Various Grime 2016, Steven Warwick, Worriedaboutsatan
The Boomerang: Marc Almond, Cat-Iron, Keiji Haino, Brad Laner, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Pink Floyd, Malcolm Pointon, Sun Ra, Syrinx, Various DJ Pierre Presents: ACID 88, Various LAFMS Box Box, Zappa/Mothers
The Columns: By Noel Gardner, Aurora Mitchell, Steve Barker, Robert Barry, Haley Potiker, Stewart Smith, Julian Cowley, Tristan Bath
Size Matters: Byron Coley
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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Fat Beats offers internship opportunities. You must be enrolled in college and reside in the Los Angeles area to be eligible for our programs. If you meet these requirements, please paste your cover letter below and we will contact you if there are open positions available.
We are currently offering an internship program that offers an educational experience in all facets of our distribution operation. The intern would have the ability to assist in each of the following departments:
Online Retail / Marketing
Shipping & Receiving
- Enrollment in an accredited college/university that offers an internship program for academic credit
- Knowledge and passion in independent music and culture; with a specific interest in the artists/releases that Fat Beats supports
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications
- Positive attitude - no task should be considered too small
- Must be located in the greater Los Angeles area
Resumes/Cover Letters should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org