By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
You'll be hearing more about Beige Records in the months to come, but for now, an assignment: www.beigerecords .com. It's the home of the St. Louis electronic label perhaps the most interesting record label to appear in the area in a long time and their fantastic Web site will give you a taste of the varied textures of electronic music they're producing.
The brainchild of two St. Louisians, Paul Davis and Joe Beuckman, Beige deals in DJ-friendly 12-inch vinyl; they press up a limited run, distribute them both nationally and internationally ("About 0.01 percent of our sales are in the St. Louis area," says Davis), and the hook that will lead you to their Web site post all their stuff on MP3.
Too, their Web site is so well-designed and clever that even if you think the music sucks you can still have a good time swiping your cursor over their links; each time you do, an old-school electro-cowbell noise sneaks out of your speakers, and the easily amused among us have been known to spend hours moving up and down, back and forth, making funky rhythms. Clink on a link, and a synthetic handclap chirps out.
The two 12-inches delivered to the paper recently are cause for celebration on the part of anyone bemoaning the lack of serious, creative labels in the area. The Spirit of Beige, Vol. 1 contains the music of four artists: f13 (apparently a St. Louisan who's holed up in an Italian villa right now), Oates, the Bitwise Operators (Beuckman's project) and Paul Davis. The results are uniformly remarkable, ranging from the smart ambient of f13 to the rhythmically combustible Aphex "n' bass work of the Bitwise Operators. The other 12-inch, a white-label promo of Davis' music, is equally inspired genre-jumping experimental electronic stuff (Davis is at Oberlin College studying both electronic-music composition and the harpsichord).
The label's also pretty involved with Washington Avenue dance club Babylon. DJ Rudy, who has some MP3s on their site, often DJs at the club, and apparently a Beige Records showcase is slated for October or November. Until then, check out beigerecords.com.