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Friday, February 17, 2012

Label Sampler: Dark Entries Records Excavates the Murky, Synth-Driven Past

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 9:15 AM

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HARRISON OWEN
  • Harrison Owen

Attitude towards the Internet: Cheon utilizes the Internet as a tool to research groups for potential reissue, but last year he discovered a blog that was posting Dark Entries records to be downloaded for free. Typically, a simple request from a label to remove the downloadable material will suffice, but this particular webmaster engaged Cheon in a heated dialog, defending her decision to post Dark Entries records for free. "She got really upset and told me that I should be happy for the free press and that people downloading the songs were going to buy the records. We had a dialog that went back and forth and got really aggressive. She had stuff on SoundCloud, too, so I contacted them about particular files and they shut down her whole account."

Having Dark Entries titles available on a format besides vinyl is something Cheon never intended, but he has reluctantly signed a deal for digital distribution, allowing consumers to pay for digital files. "It's bittersweet, but if people want MP3s for their iPod that's fine, because you can't cart a record player around. I only hope they will get home and play the vinyl."

Unusual roadblocks: European synth music enjoyed a significant popularity in the '80s, so it's natural that Cheon should encounter language barriers when arranging reissues of foreign bands. Apparently, Google translator clarifies most communication. In other instances, Cheon has relied upon patient, bilingual friends to facilitate Skype discussions.

Reissuing Siekiera, a Polish post-punk group from the '80s, has proven to be particularly difficult. As if the language barrier wasn't problematic enough, Cheon says that "Rumors are that the Polish mafia controls the TonPress [Soviet Poland's state-run record label] archives."

Future plans: Cheon is excited by the prospect of nurturing select new bands as well as continuing the rapid pace of reissues, and this year he will be releasing records by newcomers Inhalt and Spastic Joy. In addition to revamping the website, he plans to repress certain unavailable Dark Entries titles, but the second pressings will be virtually indistinguishable from the first, to deter hoarding and reselling.

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