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Kitchen: Label Profile

img  Tobias

About the early days of the label

„Kitchen started in 2005 as a paper- and web-design studio. The name was inspired by a Japanese novel by the same name: "Kitchen". The sentiments of a domestic space within a home that is the Kitchen, as highlighted by the author Banana Yoshimoto, resonated strongly with our own concepts and aesthetics. That was probably what sparked Kitchen off and it led my partner April Lee to write the following haiku that very much illustrates the story behind our label Kitchen.

"i know of a Kitchen,
one that is filled with the light of love
even on its darkest days."

Our first release was "I hold a wish for you" by aspidistrafly, which is my own project with April. Our CDs are packaged in artbook formats, either in a customized hardcover 6-fold accordion photo album or books printed on special paper stock. We've been fortunate to have met many record owners and artists in Japan through our own tours and collaborations, and we really admired the label works that Junji Kubo of Noble Records and Nao Sugimoto of Nature Bliss/ Plop/Spekk have done. During that time, there were also many other new labels and peers who had begun at the same time as us, for example labels such as Schole and mu-nest. A synergy had bounced off from collaborations with one another, hence we started a label in Singapore to call base and to form a healthy ecosystem between communities around the region.“

About the Kitchen. Label-Magazine

„The magazine evolved from our label concept of finding pastoralia within our Asian urban landscape. Both Singapore and Tokyo are cosmopolitan cities and they are seemingly all traffic and concrete. It somehow led us to wonder what can still be considered landscapable in this crowded city. Taking a step back from rooftops, pocket parks and quiet rooms, through mediums such as photography, music, poetry and prose, we are looking to discover the meaning of urban pastoralia. I think there is a whole idea of subtlety, beauty and restraint our Asian and Oriental values provide, that is different from the European interpretation of minimalism. We hope to justify and express these unique sentiments through the label.“

About the relationship between packaging and sound

„The music and the visual element always go in tandem. With each release, we're creating a story, an experience, or perhaps a world of its own. It's our label's way of how we want listeners to experience our albums.

Between music and visuals, both elements share a mutual understanding and a common language. Usually between musician and visual artist, there is little to be verbally communicated, but rather they let the work speak for itself. They tap into each other's output and create their own interpretations. In another sense, we're also inviting the listener to create their own interpretations, or even their own little world, within a world that the artists have created.“

About interacting with artists on the Kitchen. Label-roster

„Our label has been involved in collaboration with many artists outside of Singapore. These days, more artists are venturing out and many collaborations are happening between Japan, China, South Asia & Australia. We have an interesting mix of artists in that they seek inspiration from their own immediate surroundings around Asia, while also being influenced from the West. Mastering is usually handled by our studio, and I also master regional artists from other labels too. Recently I have completed a mastering project for Flica (Schole) and for a promising unit from Macau called Evade.

Because Kitchen has a studio side and we are also designers, the artwork and design aspect of each release is carefully curated and handled by our own hands. Apart from our own label, we have also designed album artwork for labels such as Trumn and some of the early albums from mu-nest among others.“

About the Kitchen.  Label-philosophy and aesthetics

Living in a city sometimes feels too suffocating and it's difficult to find quiet places or time to think and reflect. One of our label's concepts focuses on a still mode of travel - a suspension of time and invocation of someplace else. It is our way of reinventing an outlet for quiet reflection. Living in a tropical city like Singapore, we envy the 4 seasons, quiet parks to meditate or simply the untouched beauty of nature. Since this is what we lack here, the curation of our label's selection of music is our own method of balancing what we already have and what we lack. In this sense, our label's  first release "i hold a wish for you" by aspidistrafly probably sums up these ideas best.“

About the future

„Kitchen. will be based in Tokyo for a few months to work on some label-related projects. We are recording our next artist's release (Haruka Nakamura whose debut album was released by Schole Records in 2008) and working out details for the next two artists. Over at our Studio side, things have become increasingly busy this season but also challenging - we're working on several interactive websites, including one for Celer and Chubby Wolf which we are excited about.“

Homepage: Kitchen. Label

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