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Label Mix Interview - Human Pitch

Nina Label Mix

A New York label specializing in ambiguous body music.

By editorial


The New York label Human Pitch explores electronic sounds that sit in the cracks between more codified genres. In contrast to many NYC imprints, Human Pitch’s mission has less to do with capturing a local scene and more to do with chasing an elusive sonic feeling. It’s an impulse that led founders Tristan Arp (Erin Rioux) and Simisea (Brandon Sanchez) to assemble an international roster of artists, many of whom make music that could exist in ambient, dance, or experimental music contexts. 

Human Pitch’s mix for Nina is an hour of ambiguous body music. It features music from all eight years of the label, and it keeps moving on and off of the dancefloor. In our interview, Arp speaks of a “creaturely quality” to the music Human Pitch pushes—the label is interested in “songs that sound like living things.” A lot of the music here does have a kind of biomorphic, sculptural presence, one that can only be achieved when the conventions of genre are thrown out of the window. We shot some questions over to Arp about both the mix and the label.

Where are you based?

Tristan Arp: Human Pitch began in and is based in New York City, from a shared apartment on Avenue of Puerto Rico in Brooklyn, to Ridgewood, Queens.

Can you describe your label mix?

This mix spans eight years of Human Pitch releases, from Seoul’s Salamanda to Accra’s GaltFaculty, Machine Woman’s remix of my first track as Tristan Arp, all the way up to our latest release by Kin Teal. All sounds point to the creaturely quality Brandon and I have always been drawn to, spanning rhythmic ambient music, leftfield bass and unclassifiable tones and zones… Songs that sound like living things.

What inspired you to start a label?

Brandon and I met and bonded over throwing events that explored what we personally wanted to experience and felt was a bit missing in New York circa 2013-2016. We wanted to see more live sets in the electronic music space, and we also wanted to hear more ambient music, especially of the rhythmic persuasion. We loved raves and we loved shows, but we wanted to explore the in-between spaces. The parties were pretty eclectic and we had folks like Laraaji, Beta Librae, Kelman Duran––anyone operating in a space of their own really. That laid the groundwork for the label and it became a project for us to learn and grow together as young artists and music freaks looking to spread our wings.

Does your label have a sound or a mission?

We hope to provide a supportive, nurturing space for artists to grow, whether they’re taking their first steps in their music journey or have a developed practice. One of the most meaningful things to me is when relationships with artists in different parts of the world turn into really special friendships after we meet in person and continue to see each other and grow over the years. I think these human connections are more meaningful than any mission we could have conceived of. 

What's your A&R process?

We’re both always digging and sharing new discoveries with each other. Usually we start working with people after finding their music on Bandcamp, mixes, or SoundCloud. If we both love it and can’t really point to anything else quite like it, then we consider if we have the time and capacity in our lives at that moment to give it the energy and attention it deserves. Le Frit’s m•emo•topia began as a demo submission. Some releases were the result of a lot of collaborative development. So we’re pretty fluid but patient and we focus on releasing a small number of records as vinyl, digital and books.

Tell us about your scene(s).

Because we tend to work with artists who we discover on the internet, they’re usually not located in the same part of the world as us, so the label belongs to more of an international community. It’s inspiring to see it all interconnected when you get the chance to travel; we’re all tuned into the same wavelength, and in conversation with each other from afar! We’ve also been residents on The Lot Radio in New York since the station started and are grateful to be a part of a diverse local community of sweet, kind-hearted, inspiring friends in New York. I think some labels coalesce around an existing sound in a specific place and help give it shape, but I think sometimes a sound presents itself. The latter has been more the case with us as we’ve highlighted a colorful, polyrhythmic, psychedelic and playful sound that we’ve seen take shape in the zeitgeist. I think you can find this spirit in Salamanda, Le Frit, Lee Evans––three artists who, for example, had not necessarily heard each other before, but were all after a common world, like the one we’ve been building with Human Pitch.

What labels do you look up to?

Principe Discos, Incienso, RVNG, 12th Isle, Livity Sound, Mood Hut and Hyperdub are some labels that have really inspired us from the start for highlighting new perspectives in sound, or like in the case of Principe, a vital place and time that is unlike anything else in the world and needs to be documented.

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