Upfront 044 / November 23, 2015

Students of Decay

A surprisingly stirring half-hour of 2016 material from one of the finest ambient labels around.

About this mix

This mix of 100% unreleased material is a snapshot of some of the records slated for production on Students of Decay in the coming year, with the exception of the opening track which appears on our next release, hitting shelves in December.

Followers of the label will recognize many familiar names here, which is in line with my tradition of keeping things close to the vest.

Running a label in 2015 is often a thankless and uncertain job, but I found myself inspired and reinvigorated while putting together this mix. I hope it treats your ears just as warmly.


Alex Cobb

Boiler Room says...

Students of Decay has been in operation for a full decade now, and there's a solid chance you're unaware. Even closing in on 100 releases, the label's stable contains names unfamiliar to most heads, let alone the layman. Last year Kyle Bobby Dunn's 2hr opus ...& the Infinite Sadness (shouts to all the zeroes out there) probably made the single biggest ‘splash’, but it's all relative.

As opposed to a label like, say Editions Mego, there’s been no accidental stumbling onto the zeitgeist along the journey – and if anything, Decay is all the richer for it. Around a teaching career and family life in first California, then Ohio, Cobb has been diligently putting out whatever he finds especial resonance with; field recordings, acoustic noodling, thick drone, all sorts. There's no attempt to sprint toward any ambient goldrush or change policy to make good on trends. It's a labour of love.

And so it proves here: a clutch of 2016 material that is subtle, graceful and surprisingly stirring. It's half the length of Air Texture’s equally beautiful Upfront entry from late Fall last year – entirely purposeful, as Cobb feels these "tend to fare better erring on the side of concision, or at least thats generally my governing principle when I make them" – and so demands to be replayed and reinvestigated as soon as it draws to a close. Not something that can be said about all ambient mixes.

To me, by turns it evokes Fax +49-69/450464, The Sinking Of The Titanic and even Sigur Ros’ bowed swells on M. Sage's closer. But it'll probably sound different to your ears. And that's the beauty of the thing.

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel is one of the show programmer/hosts, and BR's Editor-in-Chief – somehow.