From online record stores to Napster, the Internet is quickly changing how music is experienced. Technology has become indispensable for record labels, big and small. For the little guys, the Internet is the new ground zero — a great equalizer that gives labels short on teenyboppers and megabucks a chance at being heard. Innovation and imagination can now springboard a fledgling label faster and further than ever before.
It’s perhaps no wonder that 313 electronic-related D Records and Paxahau.com are successfully driven by computer geeks (meant in the most endearing way possible, of course). Jason Huvaere and Jason Clark are two computer programmers-Web designers who turned their love for techno, house and electronic music into a side business as the management team behind Paxahau and D. They juggle the pressures of building and maintaining computer systems for other businesses, as well as handling a local techno label with international distribution and an electronic music Web site. All of this may sound like a lot of work, but for Huvaere and Clark, the music projects are just their way of promoting a hobby while channeling their creativity.
Initially inspired by the times surrounding the third wave of Detroit techno and parties such as the mid-’90s “Jak” series — which featured Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) and other +8 records artists — Huvaere and Clark soaked up the energy of a Detroit whose electronic music scene was more dance-till-dawn than business-as-usual. After dropping out of the Detroit nightlife for much of the late ’90s (Huvaere even went to rural New England for peace and quiet), the two reconnected with their passion for electronic music and went to work.
D Records began as a way for Richie Hawtin and his label Minus Record to promote techno with an aggressive local edge. Swamped with their own worries and too busy to properly care for a sublabel with enormous potential, Hawtin and Minus handed over D to their friends Huvaere and Clark. To date, D has released six 12-inch techno records — one per month — with plans on maintaining this pace indefinitely. So far, D has released records by Leonard Bartush (aka Poke), Rex Sepulveda (aka XXX and previously known as Ikon and Flex) and Tom Newman (aka Poker or acidpimp). Plans for D include releases from Sepulveda and Bartush within the next two months.
Paxahau.com was originally conceived by Huvaere and Clark in 1996 with the intention of sharing Detroit’s electronic music with the world. Broadcasting since October ’99, Paxahau features archived DJ sets in streaming audio via Real Audio. Currently, Paxahau is streaming new music 24/7 to your computer speakers or headphones. Initially, Paxahau was only active during live broadcasts, usually on Friday and Sunday nights. These days, however, it’s possible to get an electronic fix at home or at the office, anytime that a good groove is in order.
Now that Paxahau has crossed the line from servicing only live events to cataloguing, archiving and continuously streaming, its potential has grown considerably. Huvaere and Clark even plan on turning Paxahau into a record label. As opposed to the techno-driven D records, the idea behind a Paxahau label would be to promote Detroit-produced ambient and experimental music online. Eventually, says Huvaere, individual tracks by a variety of artists may be available online so that Paxahau.com users would be able to customize their own CDs.
Currently archived on Paxahau.com are DJ sets by Sandy Levine, Eric Haupt, Dbit, Derek Plaslaiko, Clark Warner, Keith Kemp, Kero, Bileebob, Carlos Souffront, Magda and many others. Paxahau accommodates a wide variety of tastes in electronic music. Countless hours of brainy techno, soothing house and atmospheric ambient music are available without charge. Thanks to Paxahau, streaming beats can now be the background to e-mailing and Web surfing.
D Records (d.m-nus.com) and Paxahau (paxahau.com) are also known for their excellent Web design and artwork. Len Bartush, D Records senior member and artist, takes credit for designing the flash-heavy, almost cinematic, D homepage. As for Paxahau, Patrick Johnson, a friend of Huvaere and Clark who lives in Germany, creates the site’s dark and minimalist artwork from overseas.
From the well-disguised and unassuming basement home base of Huvaere and Clark’s Ferndale pad (aka “the battlestation”), D and Paxahau prepare to take on the world. Wired with speakers, mixers, turntables, synthesizers, effects processors, high-powered computers and a T1 line, the headquarters looks like the Wizard of Oz meets NASA. Don’t worry, though … it’s only music.Robert Gorell writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org