From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)
Publishing Aural Innovations and communicating on the internet has led me across the paths of several musicians who were involved in the underground cassette network of the 1980's. Earlier this year I discovered Chris Phinney's music on Mp3.com where he has several pages representing multiple projects from over the years. Like Carl Howard of Audiophile Tapes, Phinney, through his Harsh Reality label, has also maintained a catalog of approximately 350 cassettes that include many artists playing all forms of electronic and other brands of independently produced music. Phinney certainly has more of his music available online than any artist I've come across to date, illustrating the power of the internet to at least deal with the problem of how to make your music available to others.
Immersing myself in the five separate collections of music Phinney has available at Mp3.com it became clear that I'd stumbled across yet another musician performing adventurous electronic space music that I'd missed over the years. These include solo electronic works, duos, and full band projects, all ranging from very interesting to downright exciting. After some trading of emails Phinney also sent me eight CD's of music that are the first of the Harsh Reality cassette catalog to be released on CD. I've broken down our coverage into three sections which you can access from the links below. First, we'll review the eight CD's currently available from Harsh Reality. Second, we'll give an overview of the music available at Mp3.com. Third, we have an interview we conducted via email with Chris Phinney.
Please note that the eight CD's available from Harsh Reality only touch the surface of the music available in their catalog. I would encourage all readers to explore the pointers to Phinney's online music, and if you like what you hear then Chris will be happy to email you his catalog of releases. But for now... read on.