Round Bale Recordings



 Round Bale Recordings is a private press record label associated with the Free Form Freakout podcast series (a.k.a. The FFFoxy Podcast) that focuses on small edition releases across various physical formats.


RBR-007: øjeRum “Skygge” CD

Order a copy via Bandcamp

The past three years have seen a flurry of activity from øjeRum, the alias of Danish minimalist and collagist, Paw Grabowski. Over countless limited run releases and various series of visual artwork, øjeRum has produced one of the most consistently rewarding and singular bodies of work of recent vintage. Whether composing in long form glacial ambience or dream-like folk configurations, there is a cohesive vision to all of øjeRum’s material that plays on notions of fading memories and beatific solitude. As with Grabowski’s unique, hand-cut collages, that contain worlds within worlds, the stains and markings of the past often seep through and imbue the music he creates with a sense of unease and imprecision. On “Skygge” (which translates to “shadows” or “shade”), notes waver around ghostly rhythmic lines, chords reverberate with varied color and intensity, clicks appear in unintended negative spaces, and time itself is all but erased. Yet, there is a masterly exactness with how Grabowski arranges the three, lengthy compositions heard on “Skygge” to evoke a sense of profound mystery and mournful beauty. Round Bale Recordings is pleased to offer this latest øjeRum release on a proper glass-mastered CD housed in a full-color, six-panel digipak: a format suited for the sounds and visuals prepared by the artist. Mastered by Sean McCann for full audio immersion.

RBR-006: Termite Acropolis “S/T” CS

Order a copy via Bandcamp

When not capturing the sounds of everyday bric-a-brac for his tape collage duo Maths Balance Volumes or his solo project Termite Acropolis, Clay Kolbinger has been holed up in his Madison bunker for the past couple of years honing his personalized take on the rock idiom. Recording virtually every part on his own, Private Anarchy’s eponymous debut documents Kolbinger’s efforts in an 11-track, 25-minute blast of finely crafted, D.I.Y. art-punk precision that connects the dots of virtually every worthwhile sub-underground shakedown from Manchester to Madison of the past five decades. The release brings to mind The Fall in places with its cryptic lyrics and tautly rhythmic playing, and Swell Maps in others with its loose form and primitive experimentation. But, make no mistake; this is entirely Kolbinger’s contemporary loner vision devised outside of any pseudo social media posturing. It’s his Private Anarchy. And we don’t feel the least bit hyperbolic dubbing this a future D.I.Y. punk classic.

RBR-005: Russell Hoke “A Voice From the Lonesome Playground: An Anthology” 2xCS+lyrics booklet


Order a copy via Bandcamp

It was in the summer of 2011 that I first stumbled across a small stash of Russell Hoke albums while combing through the tastefully stocked bins of Chicago’s Dusty Groove Records, which I later learned was one of the very few places in the world to actually carry these. Tucked in their small “Folk & Country” section sat these intriguing looking hand-assembled, hand-scrawled record jackets with titles like Haunted Brain and If I Had Been the Universe that looked positively out of place amongst the more recognizable selections within that traditional-mind- ed genre. With no knowledge of what any of these would sound like, but lured by the cheap sticker price and curious song titles, I ended up purchasing a copy of Hoke’s He Would Have Been A Fine Young Man.

When I arrived back home and put the needle to the record for the first time, I was downright mesmerized by what I heard. The album was a haunting work of psych- tinged, outsider folk that sounded like a lost late-sixties/early-seventies artifact, adding a bit of mystery and confusion to the 2011 copyright date on the jacket. This, of course, immediately sent me on the hunt for any and all of the other Hoke recordings I could get my hands on and to seek out any further information I could about this elusive artist. There was, however, scant information to be found online about Hoke at the time (and to this day, in fact), with the exception of maybe a couple of mentions of his 2009 released double album, The Magic of My Youth. Fortunately, based on a slight hunch and a blind email inquiry, I was put in touch with Hoke directly, a connection that has provided me with years’ worth of enduring songs, poetry, and camaraderie, and which brings us to the present day and this collection in hand.

The bulk of the recordings featured on this anthology date back to the 1980’s and have been circulated amongst Hoke’s friends and supporters in various minuscule editions and under various titles for decades, from the “pizza box” cassette edition of Splashing Onto You, My Children in the late 80’s up through the more recent spat of limited vinyl editions on Hoke’s private label, Unheard-of Records. This anthology draws from the entirety of his archives and these later private press editions, including three previously unreleased tracks, to circulate a collection anew for the next generation of listeners and future fans of this under-appreciated, Texas-based songwriter and poet. With 38 songs spread out over two cassettes and a 16-page booklet of lyrics, A Voice From the Lonesome Playground presents a broad overview of Hoke’s work, providing what I consider more than ample evidence of his much-deserved place in that great conversation of notable left-of-center songwriters and wordsmiths, from Dylan to Johnston to Hazlewood to Hurley. Get in on the action, friends: the Cosmic Outlaw is back!

David Perron, November 2016



RBR-004: Final Seed “S/T” tape


Sold out: Grab a digital copy via Bandcamp

With previous cassettes out on Alien Passengers and Fag Tapes, along with a recent split with Dylan Nyoukis (Chocolate Monk, Blood Stereo, etc.), Jameson Sweiger’s Final Seed project has been ramping-up activity in the past couple of years. His latest finds him pushing the levels of discomfort to new extremes with his zoned-out, minimal synth pulsations and ukulele plunks forming an aural gridlock for his broken tongue, epiglottal vocal utterances to break free from. Sweiger’s work bears linkages to Phil Minton’s feral oeuvre, yet it is firmly planted in the contemporary sound art here-and-now with his own crudely D.I.Y. minimalist approach.

RBR-003: Termite Acropolis “Dedication in Vinegar” tape


Sold out: Grab a copy via Bandcamp

“Dedication in Vinegar” is the first solo release from Clay Kolbinger under the name Termite Acropolis. For tape-based music, there is a remarkable sense of clarity and depth to the five pieces spread across this release. Through a myriad of clanks and clatters, hidden and not-so-hidden rhythmic patterns emerge and morph, shifting one’s focal point towards something buried even further in the mix only to find you chasing down that initial misidentified loop. In places it sounds like a punk-primitive take on the seething audio confusion that Rashad Becker concocted with his Traditional Music Of Notional Species Vol. I. But, hell, that’s just reaching for an elusive reference point that slips away the moment you think you have a firm grasp on this material.

RBR-002: Troy Schafer “Untitled No. 4” lathe

FullSizeRender copy

Sold out: Grab a digital copy via Bandcamp

Wisconsin-based composer and improviser, Troy Schafer, has scattered a staggering body of impressive work throughout the darkened pastures of the Midwest over the past decade with his contributions to various group efforts such as Kinit Her, Wreathes, Burial Hex, and Rain Drinkers to name but a few. On top of this stellar output, Schafer’s 2012 solo release on the Recital label entitled Evening Song Awaken provided further confirmation of his considerable talents as a violinist and as a composer of soul-stirring sounds. The past few years, upon completion of a Master’s Degree in Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has seen Schafer’s music continue to evolve along more conceptual and theoretical lines, pushing into areas of Musique concrète and performance art, while maintaining a distinctive emotional heft common amongst all of his work. Schafer’s ongoing Untitled series, started early last year, has proven to be the apex of this newfound path as a solo artist, with each installment unlocking a new and varied piece to the beguiling sonic puzzle that he is creating. With that, we couldn’t be more thrilled to offer up Untitled No. 4, the latest solo brain-scrambler from Troy Schafer. Here on one side you’ll find him presenting refined yet dissonant piano lines competing with jarring static disruptions, and on the flip side a lurching industrial swarm bowed out of custom-built electronics and extended techniques. It’s another peerless example of modern avant composition forged with blood upon the hands and sweat upon the brow.

Untitled No. 4 comes in a limited edition of 40 clear mono 7” lathes (with digital download card included) or as a stand-alone digital release that includes both stereo and mono mixes with purchase.

RBR-001: Tilth “Country Music”


Order a copy via Bandcamp

(*Bonus CD-R edition still available)

Pleased to announce the inaugural release on Round Bale Recordings, a private press record label associated with the Free Form Freakout podcast series (a.k.a. The FFFoxy Podcast) that will focus on small edition releases across various physical formats. This first LP comes from the group Tilth and their long-awaited sophomore album. Initially the duo of Cody Yantis and Nathan McLaughlin, whose debut Angular Music came out on Soft Abuse in 2012, Tilth’s new trio incarnation includes long-time collaborator Joe Houpert, who has worked with McLaughlin in Loud & Sad and with both on the superb Line Drawings release out on Desire Path Recordings last year. Each of these musician’s solo and collaborative works have been featured regularly throughout the history of the Free Form Freakout podcast series. In fact, Tilth performed their very first live outing in a show that we arranged here in Mankato, Minnesota a few years ago. It was quite an exhilarating performance filled with clashes of tape drift, stringed dissonance, free jazz eruptions and the occasional verbal prodding amongst the group members to push towards some next level catharsis. It was a rather compelling live show that opened the door to new possibilities only hinted at on their debut release.

After several months of planning and collaboration, we couldn’t be more pleased to finally offer Country Music, an album that captures the bound-up tension and breezy release of that memorable first performance. It’s country music not in style, but music conceived during a time and place marked by rural living and relative isolation. McLaughlin’s reel-to-reel textures and Yantis’ resonant guitar work are still present, but the sonic palette has been noticeably widened with Houpert’s skittering percussion and dissonant violin scrapes adding new rhythm and color as the album unfolds. There’s much more to it: nuance, space, breath, and grit. Ah, yes, it’s indeed Country Music!

This first LP release comes in a numbered edition of 150 copies with hand-printed artwork by Casey Deming. The album was mastered by Sean McCann. The first 50 orders through the Free Form Freakout website will get a bonus CD-R called Backwoods Runoff that contains five (or is it six?) extra tracks featuring a mixture of rehearsal material recorded on the eve of that first live performance and brand new exclusive material recorded over the past few months. The CD-R comes with full-color artwork and was mastered for release by Seth Chrisman.

“Country Music” is also being stocked at these fine places: Tune Town (Mankato), Treehouse Records (Minneapolis), Experimedia (U.S.), Crisis of Taste (U.S.), and Fusetron (U.S.)

3 thoughts on “Round Bale Recordings

    • Benjamin,
      Thanks for writing. I’m open to giving demos a listen at the very least, but I make no guarantees at this stage. Just want to take things slow and get my head wrapped around all of the logistics of doing this.

  1. Pingback: Hymies Vintage Records · A quick local tape roundup

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