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Old 10.10.2007, 01:06 AM   #21
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Three Lobed
by Cory Card







 



When it comes to consistently releasing high quality music from some of the biggest names in the underground scene, one should look no further than Cory Rayborn’s Three Lobed Recordings. Over the past seven or so years, Cory has been releasing some real choice cuts, from the likes of Bardo Pond, Davenport, GHQ, Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice and Heavy Winged.

This year has seen a slew of activity in the Three Lobed camp, with a triumphant return to releasing vinyl, as well as launching several successful cd releases, many of which have sold out in a matter of a month’s time. On top of all that Rayborn just recently announced another amazing CD subscription series entitled Oscillation III, that will feature the likes of Lee Ranaldo, Tom Carter, Jack Rose, Bardo Pond and many more. 2008 will also see Three Lobed continuing on the vinyl path with five or six new releases slated.

When and why did you decide to begin Three Lobed?
All through college and immediately thereafter I was involved in all kinds of music-related activities – booking shows, putting together a short-lived zine, doing lots of live recording on top of other stuff. I thought it would be a ton of fun to at least have one release out there that I had a lot of involvement with and, to the degree it remained fun, it could be something that I could keep up. Everything came together to do a 10” for Bardo Pond in 2000. That release moved along quickly and smoothly and I am still enjoying it all here seven years later. I have a semi-stressful job and over the last couple of years the label has offered me a great relief from some of that. Sure, not everyone would consider hand-numbering, boxing up and shipping hundreds of records “stress relief,” but it works for me. That’s a big part of why things have been busier, label-wise, with release schedules and whatnot over the last 2+ years.

Speaking of the actual act of making, there seems to be a focus on the visual presentation of the project. Do you feel it’s important to make some sort of visual connection with the sounds contained within?
I feel that an album’s packaging should be a reflection of the music it accompanies. That overall relationship is very important – I always want the music Three Lobed releases to be married to the visual aspects of its packaging. A lot of thought and planning goes into the preparation of the packaging to all of our releases.

Do you do any of the artwork yourself, or do you mainly recruit others to do so? How much are the bands involved in this process?
While I would love to have a bit of a role in helping to make the conceptualized appearance a reality, I have not really had much of anything to do with the overall design of any Three Lobed release. The majority of the items in the catalog have artwork that was initially cooked up by the bands, themselves. More often than not, there is a specific look they want to accompany their music. When a band has no preference, I have a particular friend who I have turned to for from-scratch design jobs.

Where does the name, Three Lobed, originate?
It is much less complicated than a lot of people would probably think. Short answer – I’m a big H.P. Lovecraft fan. In one of his stories, “Haunter of the Dark,” he describes the elder Old Ones’ messenger, Nyarlathotep, as the “three-lobed burning eye.” If you happen to have a copy of our first release, the “Slab” 10” by Bardo Pond, check the center of the way for the inscription of “I see it-- coming here-- hell-wind-- titan-blur-- black wings-- Yog-Sothoth save me-- the three-lobed burning eye...” from this same story spanning the A and B sides. Similar descriptions pop up elsewhere throughout his works. Maybe it’s dorky - well, OK, it’s certainly dorky - but I’ve always thought that was fun.

You’ve released a number of albums by Bardo Pond and their various side projects. How did that relationship come about?
I have a close relationship with the band that stems out of the fact that I have been running Bardo Pond’s primary website, Hummingbird Mountain, since late in 1998. Those guys (and gal!) are close friends and I love them dearly. That relationship has helped explain both the constant appearance of Bardo (and related) releases in our discography as well as the fact that lots of folks have always assumed that Three Lobed is actually the band’s house label. Now, how did the website stuff come out? It is a long and rambling story that’s probably not all that interesting to read.








 


After releasing a couple individual releases you did your first subscription series; Purposeful Availment, how did this come about? What were some of the advantages and disadvantages to releasing albums in this manner?

It has been a while now and I am not 100% sure what the impetus behind that original series was anymore! Putting the first series together was an interesting project – I was working with a few folks I knew well and a lot of folks I really didn’t know at all. At that point the label didn’t have a huge track record either – a lot of folks who hopped in were just doing so on faith. I’m still wildly proud of that series and how well it worked out.

Working with the series concept is nice in that you help expose people to some music that they have never heard before and may not have gone out of their way to check out otherwise. It is really cool when I get an email from a subscriber who states that they had never heard X band before and really, really love what they’re doing. That’s a lot of fun.

There is one main disadvantage – scheduling. Sometimes things that seem to make total and complete sense when you’re setting a series up fall apart and get a little crazy on the execution-end. At the point where I was in my record-releasing knowledge I probably should have allowed for more time between the mailings in the Purposeful Availment series – I just didn’t know any better! That said, lessons were learned and by the time Modern Containment rolled around I had a better grasp on how to make timeliness happen with a project of this nature. Look for similar strides of timeliness (I hope!) with our upcoming Oscillation III series!

This year you’ve seemed to focus a great deal of energy on vinyl, will this continue in the future? Do you prefer doing vinyl only releases?
About a year ago I decided that I wanted to play around with some vinyl again. It had been a while since that first 10” release and I was inspired to dip back into it all by a lot of the great vinyl-only work that Time-Lag and Mad Monk, etc. were doing. That decision coupled with the early response to our first vinyl releases combined to result in 5 vinyl releases in 2007 and plans for another 5 or 6 in 2008. I love doing them so there is a good chance that we might move towards being a primarily vinyl label within a year or so. Don’t worry – we’re not going to stop with the bonus CDs and things of that nature…

With one of your next releases, Basalt Fingers, you are going to including an actual cd of the record with the lp, what sparked this idea?
With our drift towards more vinyl and fewer CD releases, I did not want anyone to feel left out. Since a lot of these records are ones where neither the artists nor I wanted to release them simultaneously in both formats, we were trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation. Obviously there is the whole “free mp3 download of album” approach. Personally, I am not a big fan of mp3s as anything more than a portable media. They are too limited. Whatever you get sampling-wise is what you are going to have forever. Lossless audio formats are a much more interesting long-term solution in my mind. By presenting someone with a CD you are allowing them to determine how they personally want to make use of it – convert it to mp3, convert it to lossless formats, simply throw it in their car CD player... the list goes on. So, from that overall approach I thought that tucking in a pretty no-frills CD version of the vinyl would be a good pairing of the twin goals of 1) keeping the record vinyl only and 2) allowing folks without turntables the ability to hear the material in a non-mp3 format. Hell, maybe we will have a few folks pick a record or two for the CD up and be inspired to buy turntables. I am totally in favor of that. I am anticipating continuing this trend, artist willing. There will be some times when the artist just doesn’t want there to be any sort of CD, even a little add-on version, so I cannot say it will be every vinyl release.
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Old 10.10.2007, 01:09 AM   #22
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Do you think you’ll ever do a vinyl subscription series?
I thought I would never do another series after the first one ended. Then I thought I would never do another series after “Modern Containment” concluded. After the obvious conclusion of what came after those declarations, I know better than to say “never” now. It would be fun. We’ll see if it sorts out as time moves on…

What are some of your favorite recordings you have released?
That’s a really tough question – I feel so close and attached to everything I have ever released. It’s really hard to pick your favorite cat…

What do you have planned for the future?
Heh – too much! As of this moment we have about sixteen projects in the hopper that will come out over the tail end of 2007 or over the year of 2008 (and a couple of additional things above and beyond that which could come out as well). It’s a lot. In February we are planning to start shipments on our new CD subscription series, “Oscillation III.” I am really stoked over this series and the lineup continually blows me away – Bardo Pond, GHQ, Jack Rose, Lee Ranaldo, Magik Markers, Michael Flower Band, Tom Carter, the Bark Haze and Howlin’ Rain. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We have some really killer vinyl in the pre-production stages right now. There is a stunning Bardo Pond studio record (not yet titled), which is a bit of a lost record. Over time there have been some really killer Bardo tunes that the band has nailed that, for some reason or another, never got slated for inclusion on any releases. This record assembles/rescues some of those tracks and puts them together into a what I think is an amazing record. People are really going to dig this one. We are also pumped to be involved with releasing an album by Gown called “For the Maples” featuring full studio backup from the Sunburned Hand of the Man gang. This stuff is wild. It’s like a super high-octane Jandek album but with more of a groove. It’s good stuff. The first quarter of 2008 should also see the release of a massive new Enos Slaughter double album. There is some other stuff that we can’t quite mention yet apart from saying expect to see some similar faces that we have worked with before up once again (albeit sometimes in slightly different forms). We are really excited about 2008.

Is there any artist, living or dying that you would really like work with?
Currently, I would absolutely love to do a project with the No Neck Blues Band or the Dead C. No questions asked. Previously? That’s a tough one. To have released Face to Face by the Kinks, Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, stuff like that – that would be beyond words. There is so much good stuff out there, both now and in the past, that this is just so tough.

Do you spend any time making music?
Not a bit! You can look at it one of two ways – either I 1) have no musical ability or 2) have never taken enough time to hone any sort of musical ability. Either way, I’m pretty non-musical as of this time. I keep hoping to change that at some time – it just has not happened yet.

What are some of the labels that have played an influential role on Three Lobed?
Well, as I mentioned before, Time-Lag’s constant high quality output played a large part in inspiring me to return to vinyl production. I wanted to make vinyl records that sounded/looked like the same sort of stuff that Nemo puts out.

What have you been listening to lately, anything new that particularly sparks your interest?
There is always a little bit of everything on around the house and office for me. As awesome as it would be if I could answer that the HQ plays nothing but Wham!'s "Last Christmas," it is a lot of predictable material - all things Bardo, anything touched by the skillful hands of James Toth, Steve Gunn or the Bishop brothers and so forth. As far as new stuff goes, with "new" being a relative term, Heavy Winged and Blues Control are a couple of acts getting a lot of play around here. Not that either of their names will come as news to anyone reading this, but they're both _really_ good. I am almost scared to mention any more here since I will certainly not be able to get into everything that fills the air here.

-- Cory Card (10 October, 2007)
Three Lobed's official website.
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Old 10.10.2007, 08:37 AM   #23
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at risk of sounding like a shill, the Basalt Finger, Sarin Smoke AND Heavy Winged releases are all friggin excellent for fans of deep listening...
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Old 10.10.2007, 11:50 AM   #24
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i was waiting fort that thread tu surface.
haven't read that interview yet, but thanks.

possible to subscribe yet?
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Old 10.10.2007, 11:52 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by greenlight
i was waiting fort that thread tu surface.
haven't read that interview yet, but thanks.

possible to subscribe yet?
early 2008.
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Old 10.10.2007, 11:57 AM   #26
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so is this lee solo project improv/textural, more song oriented(yes?) or somewere in between?
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Old 10.11.2007, 02:42 AM   #27
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Probably the former. The song-based one is due to be on Ecstatic Peace.
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Old 10.11.2007, 05:34 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themawt71
so is this lee solo project improv/textural, more song oriented(yes?) or somewere in between?

heh - i don't honestly know quite yet! it's one of the masters that i haven't received yet...
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Old 10.18.2007, 10:43 AM   #29
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OCTOBER 17, 2007
High Point's Three Lobed Recordings
The experimental record label remains small but influential by design

BY GRAYSON CURRIN



The slate gray walls of Cory Rayborn's fourth-floor High Point law office are mostly empty. When he looks left, he sees through a wide, curtainless window, and when he looks right, he stares at a cluster of framed diplomas and certificates: from Duke, UNC School of Law, and the N.C. Bar Association. But when Rayborn looks straight ahead—just over the heads of his clients as a general business and environmental attorney at Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler—he's smiling at a framed, colorful concert poster from Pavement.
Clues of Rayborn's double life as lawyer and independent record label president abound in his office: He hangs his navy blue sports coat on the back of his door, leaves an e-mail application open on his PC and sits comfortably behind a wooden desk in a leather chair. Cardboard boxes are stacked high in the corner closest to the window. Across the room, a small iPod stereo breaks the Thursday afternoon silence with faint acoustic guitar music. But those boxes in the corner aren't full of financial records and legal documents, and Rayborn isn't listening to mood music, exactly. The boxes are packed with sturdy, black 180-gram vinyl records that arrived last week from a California manufacturer, and the iPod is tuned to Jack Rose, a Virginia guitarist who bends raga forms from John Fahey's ghost and shapes acoustic drones with his band Pelt.
"When I'm in a work situation where people ask me what type of records I put out, I try to make it a quick answer so I don't get too many follow-up questions," says Rayborn, laughing and listing the adjectives he typically uses—psychedelic, noisy, weird, improvised—to brush off the inquiries of his peers. "They just don't get it. Everyone that knows about it thinks it's 'neat,' but they don't get it."
Since 2001, Rayborn's split lives—superficially, at least—couldn't have been more different. Being a lawyer pays the bills, but running an experimental, niche record label called Three Lobed Recordings keeps him fascinated and excited. He's purposefully modeled it so that his job allows for his hobby. And, over the past six years, that hobby has steadily emerged as one of the leading syndicates of a cadre of musicians that British music magazine Wire once dubbed "New Weird America."
Rayborn decided to start Three Lobed on a whim: As an undergraduate at Duke, he was into the essential indie rock, though his tastes slowly broadened. He started taping live shows (his archives have been tapped for a recent spate of Pavement reissues) and traded those tapes with like-minded listeners across the country. He booked shows at Duke Coffeehouse in the late-'90s, even landing the first two Mountain Goats gigs in the Triangle. He ran a music zine. Then, in 1998, Rayborn latched onto the music of Bardo Pond, a heavy psychedelic ensemble from Philadelphia. "It was a different angle on listening for me," he explains. Like most bands a decade ago, Bardo Pond didn't have a Web site. Rayborn and a friend bought a domain (www.threelobed.com) and built them one. They didn't know Bardo Pond, and they weren't being paid.
"I called Mike [Gibbons of Bardo Pond] one day and said, 'I'm the guy building this Web site thing. You have no idea who I am. I'm just some kid down here in North Carolina,'" Rayborn remembers. "He was like, 'Oh my god, we love that thing.' And here we are almost 10 years later."
Three years after the conversation and a month before he started law school, Rayborn released Three Lobed's first album—a Bardo Pond recording on 10-inch vinyl—as an experiment. The edition sold out promptly, so he decided to do it again, slowly expanding his sphere of artists through connections with other bands and through a decade of taping bands he found interesting. Three Lobed has released almost 40 albums, and, next year, Rayborn has 15 on the books; nine of them will comprise Three Lobed's just-announced third CD series—a small run of nine CDs from nine bands that can be purchased only as one unit.
When he released the first series in 2002, he simply e-mailed a dozen bands he liked, asking them if they'd be interested. For this latest series, several stars of the American improvised scene—Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore's duo Bark Haze, Brooklyn chameleons Magik Markers and California fuzz-anthem band Howlin' Rain—volunteered.
So how do some of the country's leading avant-garde musicians—those who don't bend rules as much as pretend they don't exist—feel about a small record label whose head is a lawyer? "A lot of the people I know music-wise are intrigued by the law side," Rayborn says.
Surprisingly, Rayborn's easygoing with the records he releases. He's never rejected an album from a band he's wanted to release, never said something wasn't good enough. And he allows bands to break the skeletal contracts they sign with him if it will help their careers. For instance, prolific New York songwriter Wooden Wand released Horus of the Horizon, a six-track EP, as part of Three Lobed's second CD series. The run of 550 discs is one of the few things in the Three Lobed catalogue not yet sold out, but a British label asked Wooden Wand if it could re-release the album in England. Even though Rayborn's contract said otherwise, he said go for it.
"If I wanted to say, 'You shouldn't put that out yet,' I could. But it doesn't matter to me," Rayborn says. "I know how musicians make money. And I'm not going to stop someone from trying to make a little bit of money on this stuff."
Rayborn doesn't stress over the label. Financially, it's self-sufficient, and not how he wants to pay the bills. The model for most small labels is to grow by signing more artists, finding better distributors to get those wares into more outlets, and selling more of those titles to promote future releases in bigger numbers. But Rayborn's model has been to slowly expand his circle of artists and to release small runs of new material that quickly sell out. Three Lobed doesn't have a major distributor, and it's not looking for one.
Rather, Rayborn and his wife, Rebecca Mann, pack hundreds of orders for individuals and experimental music outlets around the world and, on weekdays, cart them off to a post office in High Point. He's not losing sleep over the remaining copies of the second CD series sitting in his basement. The second record he ever released finally sold out last week. It will all sell soon enough. He trusts these bands, he says: "I know people who have burned out on what they were once extremely passionate on musically. If this was my full-time job, it wouldn't be this much fun, or as special, if it's the way the bills were paid."
Three Lobed band Magik Markers plays Two Art Chicks in Greensboro Monday, Oct. 22; another Three Lobed band, MV & EE, plays Duke Coffeehouse Friday, Oct. 26.
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Old 10.18.2007, 11:54 AM   #30
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it's a strange world where there are two articles on my label in 2 weeks. i think i've made it through the previously 7 years with maybe 2 articles total.
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Old 10.18.2007, 02:51 PM   #31
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Old 10.19.2007, 05:00 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threelobed
heh - i don't honestly know quite yet! it's one of the masters that i haven't received yet...

that's the master i'm looking forward most. let us know when it's ready . thanks.
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Old 10.22.2007, 07:10 PM   #33
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I just noticed this thread. I saw Enos Slaughter this past sat (with Yellow Swans / Mouthus) which was a total surprise btw since they were not on the schedule. So Im really looking forward to that double album mentioned above. The played a nice long ambient piece (about 40 minutes) with a double movie projectors and slides on the screen. It was a great show.

If you have any info on what they played and who the members were that would be cool, info is hard to come by. If I remember right there were 4 of them and a girl worked the visuals. Memory is sketchy, sorry.
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Old 10.23.2007, 09:18 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgekrz
If you have any info on what they played and who the members were that would be cool, info is hard to come by. If I remember right there were 4 of them and a girl worked the visuals. Memory is sketchy, sorry.

i'm not sure who was there the other night, but typically an enos slaugher set will include at least david shuford (no neck blues band, d. charles speer), mark orleans (sunburned hand of the man) and carter thornton (izititiz).
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Old 10.23.2007, 10:11 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threelobed
i'm not sure who was there the other night, but typically an enos slaugher set will include at least david shuford (no neck blues band, d. charles speer), mark orleans (sunburned hand of the man) and carter thornton (izititiz).

Thanks Im definitely adding them to my list. Btw do you have any news on Alasehoutek? that's a side project I guess for members of Bardo Pond and some other dudes (5 members total). Is that a band you're also involved with? I saw them open for Acid Mothers Temple at Knitting Factory earlier this year. They played 30 minute set, the drummer and the guitar player really destroyed.
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Old 10.23.2007, 12:36 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgekrz
Btw do you have any news on Alasehoutek? that's a side project I guess for members of Bardo Pond and some other dudes (5 members total). Is that a band you're also involved with? I saw them open for Acid Mothers Temple at Knitting Factory earlier this year. They played 30 minute set, the drummer and the guitar player really destroyed.

alasehir is a bardo pond side project that consists of michael gibbons, john gibbons and jason kourkounis of bardo. it's a trio with 2 CDs currently out (on archive and important) and a brand new LP on siltbreeze that *just* came out this week. kouhoutek is a DC-based band with a hot new CD due out on the music fellowship shortly. the alasehoutek was a one-time live collaboration with no real plans of recording (to the best of my knowledge). i'm pretty involved with the bardo guys - we have two pending projects right now, a LP of studio material and an installment in our upcoming CD series - but i haven't done any alasehir stuff yet. we have talked about it and i would definitely like to do so.
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Old 10.23.2007, 03:13 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threelobed
alathe alasehoutek was a one-time live collaboration with no real plans of recording (to the best of my knowledge)..

that planned collab at the Knitting Factory never happened, Kahoutek played but not with the Bardo guys...sadly...
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Old 10.23.2007, 03:36 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesla69
that planned collab at the Knitting Factory never happened, Kahoutek played but not with the Bardo guys...sadly...

heh - how about a "zero-time" collaboration instead...
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Old 10.24.2007, 12:04 AM   #39
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ahh, thanks for that info, in any case they were great, and just doing a quick search I found this:

SILENT BARN

November, 18 2007 at Up-Tight (japanese psych jams) / Religious Knives / Kohoutek
Not Available , Ridgewood, New York
Cost : 8
http://www.myspace.com/religi0usknives
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Old 10.29.2007, 12:18 AM   #40
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TLR 045-053, 055: oscillation III CD series

released between mid-february and mid-april 2008.
along the lines of our two prior subscription CD EP series, purposeful availment and modern containment, we are pround to announce a new series based around the same model. oscillation III consists of nine CDs by nine different artists which are to be released over the course of 2008. these discs are available through three lobed recordings only as a complete set and not a la carte. there is also an accompanying disc (TLR-055) by the vanishing voice that comes free with a subscription the series (this disc will be available for individual sale). the contributors are (in alphabetical order):
  • bardo pond
  • the bark haze
  • tom carter (solo)
  • ghq
  • howlin' rain
  • the magik markers
  • the michael flower band (mick flower + john moloney)
  • lee ranaldo (solo)
  • jack rose
each CD is at least 25 minutes long (or longer in most cases) and features new, exclusive material from that particular artist. each disc is only available through the purchase of a complete set or directly from the contributing band. again, these discs will *not* be sold individually by three lobed (except for a small number of copies of TLR-055). similar to the previous two series, there will also be a hand silkscreened slipcase to house the series. the slipcase for oscillation III will feature new artwork from robert beatty of hair police.

as for availability, only a strictly limited number of 550 sets will be available from three lobed recordings. cost per set is $80 postpaid for domestic sales ($86 postpaid for shipping to canada and mexico and $92 postpaid for shipping to all other locations).
subscriptions will open on january 1, 2008 and neither payment nor reservations for the set will be taken before that time.
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