Over the course of their three-and-a-half year existence, Fluttery Records has sought out and brought together twenty-four artists from nearly as many countries into one home.
“We call our artist roster ‘United Nations of Fluttery Records,’” says Fluttery founder Taner Torun. “Our mission is to bring our fans crossover post-rock, ambient, experimental, electronic, and modern classical music from all over the world.”
There is a surprisingly distinct aesthetic thread throughout the artists’ music that defies their scattered geography. This thread is a certain kind of ambiance, often a bit dark but almost always hopeful. The best part is the artists create this sound without the label telling them to do so; Fluttery is simply there to handle the business end, calling itself an “artist-friendly label.”
“…I’m not a big nose guy who tries to be involved in every process of the recordings,” said Torun. “This gives me the opportunity to spend more time on promotion.”
Like Dischord Records’ co-founder Ian MacKaye said about his own business, Fluttery Records is less business-oriented and more “…involved with the connection between the music and the people.” The label replies to all questions and comments through social media, and artists are encouraged to self-promote. Torun considers their roster more of a family, and artists will remain part of the family regardless of how much their record sells.
Fluttery Records doesn’t claim ownership of their artists’ work -- only the right to distribute, sell, and promote their music. The artists simply deliver the recordings when they are ready, and have the freedom to choose their album artwork and dictate what information to include in their press releases. In the words of Torun, “…they decide what is best for their career.” Fluttery Records splits all income evenly between themselves and the artists.
“It doesn't matter if we have an order from a record store [for] boxes of CDs, or we get 0.01 USD streaming royalty from Spotify,” said Torun. “Our artists know that they are getting half of all earnings.”
Fluttery fulfills many of their physical orders through the automated CD manufacturing plant Kunaki, which allows short runs to be pressed and shipped as they are ordered. This helps prevent any unnecessary production of CDs but also limits Fluttery to standard jewel cases, which they’d like to expand beyond. Bandcamp is their go-to digital store, but they utilize a number of other stores and distributors for both physical and digital formats to reach an audience that is as diverse as their artists.
2011 was Fluttery’s biggest year yet; they released an astounding nineteen albums, including reissues. Keeping up their momentum, Fluttery kicked off 2012 with Russian post-rock band Mooncake’s Acoustic, which includes audio and video of the band’s live acoustic performance on Rain TV in Russia. They quickly followed up with a self-titled debut from Shy, Low, a Richmond, Virginia post-rock band (tracks from both Mooncake, Shy, Low, and more are available below). Fluttery also plans to release two experimental albums on February 10: Astrowind’s Fresh Wind in the Valley of Dreams and a self-titled album from AL_X.
Torun resides in Turkey, where he leads the modern classical group A Journey Down The Well, whose sophomore album Sorry Monsters I Have to Grow was Fluttery’s first ever release. Their light, minimalist compositions lie in stark contrast to some of Fluttery’s other artists, like Hungarian post-hardcore act Marionette ID. Greek instrumentalists Sleepstream shift between these two ends of the spectrum; their December 2011 debut, A Waltz with the Seventh Crane, showcases thundering post-metal low-end rhythms and graceful upper-register melodies. Like Mooncake and their other post-rock labelmates Kimika (Canada), Sleepstream have mastered the use of dynamics to elevate you to a higher plane.
Released on the same day as A Waltz with the Seventh Crane, Iranian ambient project Inner Trip's Somewhere Near the Pulse uses a combination of electronic and natural sounds to break down the artificial boundaries among nations and genres alike – a particularly bold statement, considering Saman N., the artist behind the project, hails from one of the world’s most restrictive countries. French avant-garde duo KRAPP partake in some sonic experimentation of their own; 2011’s A Void On a Cradle features some of Fluttery’s most bizarre pieces to date.
Considering the business model, geography, and sonic similarities within their roster, a label like Fluttery Records could never have come into existence and grown so quickly without the Internet. The label is managed by phone and e-mail, with their press relying heavily on blogs and much of their distribution handled by third-party web-based companies. Yet they manage to contradict the icy coldness of the Internet with a warm sense of humanity for their artists and fans. With this cyber-DIY ethic, it will be interesting to see what kind of community Fluttery and other labels like it will foster.