Why, one may ask, has an assortment of seemingly unconnected electronic musicians and nanolabels come to refer to itself as an Archipelago? The metaphor evolves from that of the island: electronic musicians tend to work in isolation, carving their pieces out of the solitude of the private studio rather than in the throng of the club, only releasing the results of this work on equally disconnected and nearly unknown nanolabels. Certainly the current obsession with so-named "electronica" might have been expected to change such a situation, but in fact it has done otherwise: rather than bringing musicians together, an industry-culled formula has ghettoized them into micro-genres to speed the efficient niching of new musical product. Yes, a rigidly partitioned and colonized mainland exists, but the smaller islands beyond it remain disconnected from it by choice or simply due to distance. At a certain point, however, the islands begin to become aware of the presence of other islands, eventually sending out boats (we have only oars) and at last hearing the noises made in neighboring tiny lands. Isolation is fine while chasing rabbits or practicing the traditional arts of paper airplane folding on our various little mounds of earth in the sea, but soon the idea offers itself: to link these unmapped islands into a larger network - to say that these are in fact the components of a larger archipelago.

Ah, yes, you are grimacing - I noticed - here is another clique, another crew, another posse, another brand to be namedropped, banner-advertized, stickered, flyered, T-shirted, strategically positioned, and leveraged. But it is not so. For what characterizes an archipelago is its decentralized structure, its scattered geography, its multihued assortment of contrasting local customs, and most of all its evolutionary definition by its islands rather than any active molding of the islands by the set. As can be heard in even a cursory listen to the Archipelago 3-inch CD sextet "Islands," our lands collect themselves into no fashion posse or DJ crew striving toward dominance in a stylistic ghetto, for each of us uses different musical implements and speaks in a different dialect, and rather than an exclusive clique the Archipelago is open to the addition of new islands in our chain. Yes, the Archipelago webpage resides on the Boxman Studies website, but its territory here is unattached to this or to any other of the participating nanolabels; you will notice that its email address is at the site of The Foundry. And of course there is a logo, but this logo is owned by no entity and is shared by all islands for use on our CDs and our websites, not a brand (remembering the sizzling sound a branding iron makes as a farmer applies it to cattle) but an emblem of our cooperative.

As for our numbering system, the "Islands" sextet bears a notation that it is Archipelago #3, for lower numbers have already been enumerated in our past: Archipelago #1 was assigned to the "Time out of Mind" CD by Thermal + Freezer + CUE, while #2 was given to the "A Monument of Chance" CD by Thermal + Seofon. The numbers indicate that these releases are collaborative projects in which the different islands establish creative routes between each other; it is after all along the edges of these routes that the shape of the Archipelago is mapped and explored. The Archipelago logo then will appear on any release by any artist or nanolabel linked as an island in the chain, while the numbers in the series will be assigned only to collaborative releases between the islands. Along with physical and virtual musical releases, the Archipelago will also be embodied in performances and other events, including the series of Electronic Salons, in which we hope hitherto uncharted islands will come to light. Meanwhile, travelers hither will find the water potable and none of the plants poisonous; as for our dialects, no dictionary is available. Please enjoy your visit.