MUTE and specifically the influential independent British label’s founder, Daniel Miller, have never been ones for looking back. The label has always sought ways to celebrate all of its varied artists, but there has never been a focus on just the label, and MUTE 4.0 (1978 > TOMORROW) is not about to change that.
MUTE 4.0 (1978 > TOMORROW) acknowledges the launch of a label that started out of necessity rather than design (to release the 7” single by The Normal, ‘T.V.O.D.’ / ‘Warm Leatherette’, recorded by Daniel Miller on a KORG 700S keyboard with a TEAC four-track recorder), and marks the past 40 years, but crucially, looks forward to the label’s many years to come as it travels unapologetically into tomorrow.
A whole host of special events and releases are planned, with more to be announced, stretching over 2018 and beyond.
This month, Mute will be at Sea Change festival in Totnes on 24/25 August alongside Mute artists Josh T. Pearson, Chris Carter, Daniel Blumberg, Can’s Damo Suzuki and Lost Under Heaven, all performing live – and Cosey Fanni Tutti, who will be in conversation with Emma Warren.
On Saturday 13 October, Mute will take over Rough Trade East in London for a whole day of performances, including a lunchtime modular set from Chris Carter plus shop-scapes from Simon Fisher Turner. In the evening, A Certain Ratio and Lost Under Heaven will play live, and Maps will be DJing. The bar will be open, and everyone’s welcome!
In addition, Alt-Classic Album Playback will present a playback of Swans’ 1996 album, Soundtracks for the Blind, recently reissued on vinyl for the first time on Mute. Nick Soulsby, author of Swans: Sacrifice and Transcendence, will be the guest speaker at the event taking place on 23 September at Shacklewell Arms. Future playbacks will include a series with Pitchblack Playback, details to be announced.
Forthcoming releases that tie in with Mute 4.0 include artists from across Mute’s catalogue as well as newer signings to the label – A Certain Ratio’s ACR:SET is out on 12 October and features two new tracks from the band, Barry Adamson’s Memento Mori Anthology 1978-2018 is out on 26 October and features a brand new track and Yazoo release Four Pieces, a four-disc box set collecting their two albums alongside remixes and rarities and their BBC Sessions collected together for the first time. More releases will be announced in the coming weeks.
A special series of reissues on limited edition coloured vinyl are planned for October, and will include “probably the world’s first teenage electronic pop group”, Silicon Teens, and their one and only album ‘Music For Parties’; Mute’s first signing, Fad Gadget – ‘Fireside Favourites’; Josh T. Pearson’s lauded ‘Last Of The Country Gentlemen’, Apparat – ‘The Devil’s Walk’; Vince Clarke and Martin Gore’s project, VCMG – ‘Ssss’ and A Certain Ratio – ‘The Graveyard & The Ballroom’. Pearson will be released on gold vinyl, Apparat on violet and the rest will be on very limited Mute 4.0 orange vinyl.
Further releases to be announced include Mute Synth 4.0, the third handheld analogue synth collaboration between Mute, Adrian Shaughnessy and Dirty Electronics.
“From The Port To The Bridge”, a retrospective exhibition of the work of Thomas Leer and Robert Rental, is at the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock from 2-28 October. The exhibition will include a new film about Leer and Rental featuring interviews with Daniel Miller, Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti, JD Twitch (Optimo), family members and more. Their groundbreaking work was a huge influence on early 80s synth pop and the independent music scene in the late 70s. Daniel Miller met Robert Rental at a Throbbing Gristle performance and then went on to work with Rental (releasing Live At West Runton Pavilion, 6-3-79 on Rough Trade in 1980) and release music by both Robert Rental and Thomas Leer. Robert Rental’s classic double A-side single ‘Double Heart’ / ‘On Location’, was Mute’s 10th single in 1980.
Mute and Thames & Hudson recently worked together on Mute: A Visual Document, a visual history of the label. One of Uncut and Rough Trade’s Books of the Year, it was described by the shop as “Beautifully bound, this book is as iconic and dynamic as Mute’s musical past”. Learn more about the publication here
New Mute merchandise will be launched in the coming months, and future announcements will include a specially commissioned release well as unique events and evenings.
Since its launch in 1978, the label has grown from Miller’s one-man bedroom operation into a global entity that encompasses Mute, the recently revived label NovaMute, Mute Song (publishing), Noviton (booking agency) and Mute Management, with offices in London and New York.
Running parallel to its strong commercial track record, the guiding spirit behind Mute has always been one of artistic freedom and creative adventure. Mute has nurtured, grown up with and worked with artists as diverse as Depeche Mode, Laibach, New Order, Goldfrapp, Erasure, Swans, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Ben Frost, Throbbing Gristle, Liars, Mick Harvey, Irmin Schmidt and Can.