|Distributor(s)||RēR Megacorp (UK)|
RēR USA (US)
Locus Solus (Japan)
|Genre||Rock in Opposition, avant-rock, experimental music|
|Country of origin||England|
|Location||Thornton Heath, London|
Recommended Records (RēR) is a British independent record label and distribution network founded by Chris Cutler with Nick Hobbs in March 1978. RēR features largely "Rock in Opposition" and related music, but it also distributes selected music released on other independent labels.
In 1982 Cutler established November Books, the publishing wing of Recommended Records, and between 1985 and 1997, Recommended Records and November Books published RēR Quarterly, a "quarterly" sound-magazine edited by Cutler.
When English avant-rock group Henry Cow toured Europe between 1975 and 1977 they encountered many bands in a similar situation to their own: they were forced to operate outside the music industry that refused to recognise their music. In 1978 these groups got together and formed Rock in Opposition (RIO). To provide a record label and distribution network for these artists, Chris Cutler of Henry Cow and Nick Hobbs, Henry Cow's manager at the time, established Recommended Records (RēR) as a model for a non-profit music company. When RIO folded as an organisation in late 1979, RēR continued RIO's work by representing and promoting marginalised musicians and groups. RēR became a "virtual RIO", and "part of the continuing legacy of RIO".
Recommended Records grew from "Ré", a private record label in 1978 to "RēR Megacorp" in 1989, an internationally recognised independent record company with distributors worldwide. They have consistently introduced new and interesting artists from around the world, many of whom might never have been able to release records. They have always put the artist first and commercial viability second.
Evolution of the name
When Henry Cow split up in 1978, Chris Cutler created a record label called Ré for his own projects with a distribution arm called Recommended Distribution, so called because he personally "recommended" the titles they distributed. The intention was to import and distribute new, interesting and experimental music from all over the world to the United Kingdom.
In 1979, Cutler established the Recommended label for releases other than his own. In 1987, he combined the Ré and Recommended labels to form RēR, and at the same time Recommended Distribution became a worker's cooperative enabling Cutler to concentrate on running the RéR label and writing RēR's mail order catalogue. This arrangement worked for a few years, but in 1989, due to enormous unpaid debts from Recommended Distribution, Cutler was forced to restart his own distribution system again, and RēR became RēR/Recommended. Recommended Distribution went on to become These Records, an affiliated label. RēR/Recommended became known as RēR Megacorp with a website and online shopping facilities.
Just as Recommended Records's name evolved over the years, so did its logo. Here are examples from 1979 and 1998:
Recommended Records has the following imprints:
- Points East – established to release experimental music from Central Europe
- Freedonia – established to release records by Půlnoc, formerly The Plastic People of the Universe
- Political Underground – established to release records by Unrest Work and Play
- Fred Records – dedicated to re-releasing the back catalogue of Fred Frith recordings plus previously unreleased material
- This is! – set up by Charles Hayward and Charles Bullen to re-release This Heat's back catalogue
A distribution network of affiliated labels exists throughout the world to promote experimental, unusual and innovative music. While many of these labels are distinct operations, they share a common musical ethic. Some of these affiliated labels are:
- Ad Hoc Records – RēR USA label
- Locus Solus – Recommended Records Japan
- These Records – independent UK label and mail-order shop
- RecRec Music – RēR Switzerland, an independent Swiss label (no longer active)
- Review Records – ReRe Germany, an independent German label
- No Man's Land – an imprint of Review (ReRe) Records
- AYAA – Recommended France, an independent French label (no longer active)
- Cuneiform Records – US distributor of RēR, an independent US label
These are some of the artists that have had music released or re-released on the Recommended Records label.
- After Dinner
- Paolo Angeli
- Arcane Device
- Art Bears
- Peter Blegvad
- Brainville 3
- Lindsay Cooper
- Chris Cutler
- Peter Cusack
- Tod Dockstader
- Bob Drake
- Janet Feder
- Fred Frith
- Lutz Glandien
- Light Coorporation
- Ground Zero
- Alfred Harth
- Henry Cow
- Tim Hodgkinson
- The Homosexuals
- Robert Iolini
- Kalahari Surfers
- Keep the Dog
- Boris Kovač
- Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar
- Albert Marcoeur
- Elio Martusciello
- R. Stevie Moore
- The Necks
- News from Babel
- John Oswald
- Zeena Parkins
- Lesego Rampolokeng
- Jon Rose
- The Science Group
- Skeleton Crew
- Slapp Happy
- Sun Ra
- Richard Aaker Trythall
- Thinking Plague
- This Heat
- Jack Vees
- Charles Vrtacek
- Various artists: Recommended Records Sampler (1982, 2xLP, Recommended Records)
- Various artists: Recommended Records Sampler (1982, EP, Recommended Records)
- Various artists: RēR Quarterly (1985–1997, LP/CD + magazine, Recommended Records)
- Cutler, Chris. "Biography". Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- Wright, Patrick (11 November 1995). "Resist Me, Make Me Strong: On Chris Cutler" (PDF). The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Cutler, Chris (1985). "Necessity and Choice in Musical Forms, Part III, Rock in Opposition". File Under Popular: Theoretical and Critical Writings on Music. London: November Books. p. 157. ISBN 0-946423-01-6.
- "20 years of Rock In Opposition: Interview with Chris Cutler (1998)". Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Gross, Jason (March 1997). "Chris Cutler". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 14 October 2011.