At the dawn of the Internet Age, software developers helped create the URL world we know today through the collaborative framework of open-source software. This software allows users access to its source code and thereby, the ability to run, copy, distribute, study, modify and improve the software itself. Developers from all over the world collaborated in the creation of software that helped spawn the Internet along with various programs and operating systems.
Today, applications of the ‘open-source’ model can be found in many different fields, including music. The Free Music Archive and Creative Commons are examples of open-source music initiatives that look to break down the legal and financial barriers to music licensing. Now even record labels are establishing open source initiatives in the face of new barriers being presented by the rise of the streaming economy.
Enter Club Late Music, an experimental electronic ‘netlabel’ born between Paris and London in 2015. Inspired by the free and open source software approach, the label launched the G.U.N. (Global URL Nation) Project last year with a collectively created EP. More recently, they followed up with a manifesto on the notion of an open source music label, taking up contemporary critical discourse on the economies of creation and collective intelligence, proposing a new method of music production and promotion.
This new method subverts the top-down framework of streaming services where the algorithm pre-determines the user’s listening habits. CLM want to remove the barrier between artist and consumer, placing them within a community where ideas, personalities and intelligences can be exchanged in the creation of new musical projects. One such project was last year’s Exquisite Corpse EP based on the ‘exquisite corpse’ literary concept. The 3-track EP was created by taking three groups of four artists each and commissioning one artist for the rhythm section, one for the melody, one for the bass and one for the vocals.
Sonically, Club Late’s catalogue is characterized by high-tempo club rhythms, rave/jungle motifs and abstract atmospheres. Aside from the Exquisite Corpse EP, they have released several compilations with another one forthcoming. These releases are indicative of their open-source approach insofar as they collect a slew of artists from all over the world with disparate styles and package their tracks in a coherent whole. Listening to them, there is a nice balance between aesthetic curation and everything goes abandon. There seems to be no real stylistic restrictions beyond dance-able club music yet every track seems to flow effortlessly into the next.
Keeping in the spirit of the open-source ideology, the GUN Project is ongoing and open to new ideas and contributions. They note that “in order to guarantee a lasting collective dynamic, it seems highly important to us to continuously involve new intelligences and individualities. That’s why our community is open to all who wish to participate.” A collective is an organism that is constantly developing and Club Late are allowing growth in all directions of the club music spectrum. Today, they present the latest development in their mission, the first track from their next compilation “Machine Gun Reloaded” out tomorrow. The track is a remix of JG Jour’s “Sweet Home” courtesy of French producer Désiré.