elsewhere music is a US-based record label founded in 2018 by Yuko Zama, focusing on new trends in contemporary classical music and beyond, specifically composed works.
After being involved with music production first as a photographer, then as a designer and co-producer for Erstwhile Records for 15 years and Gravity Wave for 8 years, I decided to start my own label. The label's name is 'elsewhere', curated and run by me as a sole producer.
My label will feature mainly contemporary works, specifically compositional works which has classical music aesthetics at its roots, but it may not have to strictly belong to the area of contemporary classical music. The essential goal for my label is to find and release good music which touches my heart deeply with its lasting value, created by earnest devotion from the artist’s pure soul, which I believe I will want to listen to repeatedly for a very long time - just like I love to return to Schubert or Mahler or Monteverdi, or any past classics that move me over the course of many years. This label may also feature some music outside classical aesthetics - as long as it feels real and genuine, or something that seems as if I were hearing it in the wind or from elsewhere, far away from the noise of the real world.
Deep thanks to all of you who have been devoted listeners of our Erstwhile Records and Gravity Wave for giving us tremendous support for many years until today. We sincerely hope that we will be able to keep going with this new label as well as Jon Abbey's Erstwhile and Michael Pisaro's Gravity Wave label for many years, and your continuous love and support will be deeply appreciated. - Yuko Zama (Feb. 2018)
concept for elsewhere piano series
Q: What kind of (piano) music pieces you release at your label?
YZ: I like piano pieces that have unique structures and sounds tapping into the composer's/performer's originality and creativity, with different qualities from more conservative piano music from older periods, but also deeply or subtly rooted in the aesthetics of traditional classical piano music.
Also, I don't feel the terms 'experimental' or 'avant-garde' are right for my label's works. I rather call them a new form of 'music' that has an organic life with a hint of warmth in a clean minimal structure composed only with essential elements with no frills, yet not in a frame of the rigid styles of conventional compositions.
Some people may call my label a "neo-classical label", but I am honestly not so happy about the name since it sounds like a shallow, atmospheric, easy listening-sort of piano music for relaxing and healing. Of course, "relaxing" and "healing" are great effects of music in general, which I love personally, but that's not the main purpose of the piano music I would like to feature on my label. I like to feature piano music that is more purely artistic, essential, and profound, something that could help you to experience the pure beauty and the new, unknown possibilities of the sounds of the piano, and through them, I hope you could see a glimpse of life and real art.
Q: What aspects of compositions, concepts, interpretation are of your interest?
YZ: I think it's important for the pieces on my label to have some sense of contemporary time. Compositions and interpretations have to be original and inspiring, not banal nor cliched. The music has to be created by real artistic minds of devoted composers and performers who are deeply and humbly committed to pursuing perfection for the sake of creating great music, not for the sake of satisfying their own vanity nor competitive mind nor narcissism nor a desperate urge for social recognition. I don't work with the latter kind of musicians since such egocentric natures of the artists tend to cloud the purity of music and the true value of art.
I love working with my label's musicians, especially Jürg Frey, Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Melaine Dalibert, Reinier van Houdt, and Shira Legmann whom I worked (and will work) with multiple times on my label since their creativity is extraordinary both as composers and performers and also they have wonderful natures as great human beings.
(*from the radio interview with Pavel Klusák on Český rozhlas Vltava, Nov. 19. 2020)
other interviews with yuko zama
NYC music journalist Steve Smith did an in-depth interview with me on elsewhere, which will help you to understand my label's orientation and aesthetics very well. (8/3/2018)
Musique Machine interview with Yuko Zama, curator/producer of Elsewhere Music, by Roger Batty. (6/11/2019)
Rate Your Music's Sonemic interview: Yuko Zama's favorite 10 releases (8/24/2019)
about audio quality
Also, in order to pursue the best possible sound quality which will be closer to the rich, warm analog sound of vinyl, and also to convey the life of the music as vividly and naturally as possible, we are aiming to use 24-bit recording/mixing/mastering for every release, and also DSD recording/mastering for some particular project. Customers can choose between regular CD format or 24bit/96kHz FLAC HD files to purchase from our website, depending on their preference and listening environment. We also sell CD and lossless digital files on Bandcamp with streaming service. (On Bandcamp, pre-order customers for CD can download lossless digital files and streaming for free.)
We are not planning to make vinyl records due to our limited production circumstances, but we hope that our 24-bit hi-res audio will let you experience the music without losing its original delicate nuances of the sounds in a wide dynamic range, as well as the rich overtones and the warm, organic feel of the space, in a closer way to how you feel when listening to a vinyl record.