In March 1998, with one of our earliest releases (a 12” featuring Third Eye Foundation on one side, and a then-unknown V/Vm on the other), FatCat initiated its split series.
These original releases came exclusively on 12” vinyl, packaged in a highly distinctive, minimalist aesthetic. Individually numbered, and with no external reference to the artists or music contained within, each release was identified purely by a hole drilled in its plain white cardboard sleeve (one hole for the first release, two for the second, three for the third, etc.). Allowing for a total of 24 releases, the series will also yield three compilation CDs (cover split series 1-8; 9-16; 17-24).
Having recently released the 16th split 12” in our series so far, we are now proud to announce the release of the second split series CD compilation, ‘Split Series 9-16’. Featuring 17 tracks, this CD-only release showcases material previously only available across the eight 12” singles from split series number 9 to number 16 - a period spanning nearly four years.
Whilst many seem to view the split series as the edgier, more electronic wing of FatCat, it has aimed to continually intrigue and challenge the listener, and to access a wide range of spaces.
Whilst it would perhaps have been easy to churn out a steady flow of gritty / chunky electronica, and to have plugged into a more stable fanbase, we chose instead to initiate it as a broader arena that might open different avenues / doorways into other sounds and scenes.
Thus, as with the recent FatCat label compilation, there are a wide variety of sounds and styles audible on this CD – from the beautifully intricate piano composition of David Grubbs to the intense noise blipvert of QT?; from the forceful, politicised house of Ultra-red to the fugitive improvisation of Anna Planeta; from the aggressive drum & bass of Christoph De Babalon to the splintered electronica of Duplo_Remote and Matmos or the disembodied guitar/ computer processing of Fennesz and Main…
Whilst there’s been no precalculated formulae for the series, from the beginning, the aim has been to curate a high-quality, challenging series of 12” singles that resists stasis and continually shifts; to keep the listener guessing; to utilise the unique qualities of the format in an exciting and creative way – whether it be pitting different sounds / styles against one another; drawing out links and similarities; or simply introducing unknown artists on the flip of a more established name. The series is littered with hidden clues and conceptual links, but we’ve left it up to the listener to draw their own conclusions.
Rather than merely existing as marketing tools for albums, most of the artists involved in the series were commissioned on a one-off basis, and several saw their debut (Duplo, Com.a, Motion, QT?, Team Doyobi, Janek Schaefer) or very early (DAT Politics, Kid 606, V/Vm, Foehn, Speedranch^Jansky Noise, Pimmon) releases via split 12”s.
Whilst we’ve been proud of and excited by every release, there’s been an air of commercial suicide on a number of them. Maintaining the series in the face of occassional indifference and a dying market for vinyl has been a total labour of love – preparing the sleeves alone takes 2 or 3 days of mindless, repetitive graft (drilling and stickering each sleeve by hand; inserting occassional texts)…
Our challenge now is to push on from the gains, and to drag the split series to further fresh and increasingly diverse territory, whilst maintaining the quality control. There are eight more 12”s scheduled to come in this series before it is complete.
Hopefully we will make it that far without having to switch to CD. And hopefully, as we continue the journey, we will provide many more unexpected turnings and adventures into unknown territory
supported by 4 fans who also own “Split Series 9-16”
This is a memorable Milieu release, for sure. Foggy, desolate midnights at the beach, encapsulated. This is a particularly hard-hitting album and I'm in love. Polypsilon VII and Tropical Sleeper are incredible - the entire album is. S|_|v