Posted on October 22, 2007 in Arts & Culture
By Tyler Jackson
You’ve probably noticed a new shop above Strange Maine at the end of Forest Avenue. Time-Lag Records, run by Nemo Bidstrup and some friends of his, is an extension of his record label of the same name, which has been operating out of Portland for years.
Time-Lag releases records from Maine’s best, along with reissues of music from around the world. The label is home to Portland’s Phantom Buffalo and has worked with larger underground names, such as Six Organs of Admittance.
Bidstrup answered some questions for The Free Press about the history and essence of Time-Lag Records.
Free Press: Can you talk about the Time-Lag shop you’ve recently opened on Congress Street?
Bidstrup: I opened the place with my girlfriend Rachel and a couple other friends, so it’s sort of a multifaceted endeavor. I’ve got all the Time-Lag releases in there, as well as all the releases on other small labels that I distribute. There’s a solid selection of vintage vinyl in there as well, with a focus of ’60s and ’70s psychedelic, garage, acid-folk, and underground sounds, plus a bunch of analog hi-fi gear, from turntables to tube amplifiers. Then there’s the whole Iele Tree side of the business, which is focused on the coolest vintage fashions and general household ephemera. It’s sort of a like time warp. You could walk in with a little cash and leave with a whole new outfit, a stylish vintage stereo, some original pressing ’60s lost gem of an album.maybe even a couple 8-track tapes.
Free Press: Can you describe the process of reissuing records?
Bidstrup: There’s sort of two levels to the reissue stuff I’ve done. Some things are more contemporary music that I really love, but that never came out on vinyl in the first place, like the two Charalambides Double LPs I’ve put out. The more proper reissues I’ve done-Satwa, Marconi Notaro, and the Patron Saints-were all LPs that came out in the ’60s and ’70s. They’re all really unique and wonderful records that I felt could be enjoyed by the same people that dig the newer music I put out on Time-Lag.
Free Press: How did you become involved with bands like Espers and Six Organs of Admittance?
Bidstrup: Well, when I started the label in 2001, no one really cared about music like that. The idea of the label was to give some of those great underground bands an outlet to put their music out on vinyl, done with a lot of care. Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance was one of the first artists I contacted about releasing music on the label, and we’ve done three albums together over the years. Espers I knew through mutual friends, and when they had their first album recorded they really wanted to do a vinyl version. Their label at the time didn’t want to press vinyl, so I put it out on Time-Lag. Times have really changed since then, as there’s a huge interest in all that type of music now.
Free Press: Did you have anything to do with Phantom Buffalo signing to Rough Trade in the UK?
Bidstrup: Not directly. I always knew those guys could have some mass appeal, so from the start I always told them I thought having a real album out could help get them hooked up with a bigger label. I think the band sent them a copy of the album, or it might have just been one of those chance things, as I know the Rough Trade shop in the UK was stocking the Time-Lag album, Shishimumu, and had very good things to say about it.
Free Press: How involved are you with the unique packaging and artwork of Time-Lag releases?
Bidstrup: Well, Time-Lag is a one man operation. So I’m quite involved. Sometimes I’ll get all the art from the band and just have to figure out materials, printing technique, etc., or sometimes the bands will leave the whole thing up to me. I always try to keep everything really high quality and artful. The hands-on aesthetic is pretty key to the label philosophy.
Browse their online catalog www.time-lagrecords.com and the shop at 578 Congress Street.