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Release Schedule: hearpen.com aims to produce 8 releases a year, one a month on the second Tuesday of the month, excluding summer (June, July & August) and January.
Beginning with the May 2014 release we are introducing Apple MPEG-4 audio (m4a) format files. This is the format used for iTunes Plus. Over the course of time we may upgrade earlier releases to this format, particularly studio recordings. Buyers will be notified of any upgrades for free download. Meanwhle, we have been working with MP3 at the Unix level (LAME 3.99.5) and find it quite good - decisions on format in the future may well vary according to the relative strengths of the two formats for a particular release.
UbutiqueFor those of you in search of the Physical Object, the sister company to Ubu Projex, Ubutique, is a PayPal internet shop that sells as much related Physical Product as it can get its hands on: cds, some vinyl, posters, t-shirts, etc.
What We Arehearpen.com exists to sell soul. It's not merchandise. It's not content. It's called music. We offer downloads of recordings for which a commercial release is not deemed practical in the current marketplace, as well as rarities, live recordings, limited releases, and anything else of note by Pere Ubu and bands related to Pere Ubu or Ubu Projex.
How We Got To Where We AreDownload audio has constricted the marketplace. We must find our proper niche. That niche will be the place where we can control our output and offer it on terms that we can live with. It is not possible to enter into a commercial contract without negotiating download rights. It is intensely frustrating to hear sound that we've spent months meticulously constructing being reduced to a dog's dinner with lousy encoding ratios. If it's going to be out there we want it reproduced in such a way as to adequately convey the meaning of the sound. So we'll do it ourselves. Follow this link for a detailed explanation of the technical and aesthetic decisions made.
Every medium is a compromise but given the years we struggled under the extremist regime of Vinyl Production it's not a stretch to use the Apple MPEG-4 or MP3 formats when the marketplace has made the commercial release of many kinds of music production effectively impossible.
So, for studio recordings we use high quality encoding. At the cost of relatively large file sizes, we can deliver a Quality Listening Experience to our customers. We wouldn't bother if we didn't believe it. We don't sell what we don't endorse. And there ARE some advantages to the medium from an artistic POV.
A Note on Sound QualityIt behooves you to check this link for our attitude towards live recordings. We toyed with the idea of rating technical sound quality, and soon gave it up. Clearly, cassette tapes from the 70s and early 80s - or any era - are not going to be hi fi experiences. If you want to hear Pere Ubu from the Pirate's Cove in 1976 it's going to be... ambient. That said, cassettes can yield pretty good quality. (See if you can spot the track from the Raygun Suitcase Director's Cut which is actually sourced from a cassette recording of an early test mix.)
The Physical Object vs. The Virtual SubjectIn spite of running a virtual record company, we remain passionate about the aesthetic virtues of the physical object. We are therefore dedicating some effort to enabling the consumer to hand-make their own physical object from downloadable audio and artwork files. In 1975 Hearpen Records was one of the first of the DIY labels. It was gloriously amateurish - we hand assembled and glued together the record sleeves. We shlepped packages down to the post office. 33 years later the market has cycled round to the same place - the only difference is that now we get the record buyers to hand-make their own records and their own sleeves - that's what we call progress! (And there's no more shlepping!)
Many releases from August 2008 linked to printable booklets and tray cards in a PDF format. After a discussion with Chris Cutler in a cafe in Avignon we decided to replace that method with pdf liner notes. Feel free to comment on things we can improve on.
The Transaction Processhearpen.com accepts major credit cards in payment as well as PayPal transactions. Originally we offered the option to cherry pick purchases of individual song files. Very few people purchased individual songs so for the sake of simplifying the accounting procedures we've eliminated that option. Only entire release purchases are now offered. After the purchase phase of your transaction you'll be presented with a page listing your download(s). Click on each the "Click here" links to initiate download. You will also receive an email with a download link for each purchase. If you encounter problems with the download page then try the email URL. The links will expire after you've downloaded the files five times or 120 hours after your order is placed. The download(s) will appear on your computer in your default download location. They appear as a zipped file. Once unzipped drag the song files to your iTunes window or import into your MP3 player. Once imported the song files will display song titles, band names, proper running order, any artwork and album titles.
LIVE ALBUMS: They are presented in their original running order. We toyed with the idea of leaving in all between song noise, nothingness, talk and applause but given the increase in file size this would yield, and the various opinions on the value of this approach, we decided against it. Nevertheless, for some live releases, we have included some of the "better" ambient bits. You may want to set your MP3 player preferences to "gapless," according to your own tastes.
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18 Monkeys on a Dead Man's Chest
David Thomas and two pale boys
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Pere Ubu Live ExclusivesManhattan (1977)
Pirate's Cove (1977)
U-Men Live At Interstate Mall (1978)
I Walk The Line (1981)
The Art Of Talking (1982)
In The Court Of The Rhythm King (1988)
Waltz Across Texas (1989)
Waltz By The Sea (1989)
Paradiso, Part 1 (1991)
Paradiso, Part 2 (1991)
Petit Ubu (1991-93)
The Late Show (1993)
B Each B Oys (1995)
Oh, Pennsylvania, I Do Remember Thee
A Ghost Town Goes Where You Want To Go (2006)
Light It Up! (2007)
The Annotated Modern Dance (2010)
Live at Grant Avenue (2007)
Visions of the Moon (2013)
Pere Ubu SpecialsLady From Shanghai (Demos)
Lady From Shanghai (Demos) #2
Lady From Shanghai (Demos) #3
Lady From Shanghai (Demos) #4
Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi
Turpentine / Petrified
Bring Me The Head of Ubu RoiIllustrated eBook of the Script
The Radio Play
Free Podcast of 1st Act
Pere Ubu AlbumsThe Shape Of Things, 1976
390 Degrees Of Simulated Stereo, 1977-79
Dub Housing 2008 Master
"Long Live Père Ubu!", 2009
David Thomas and two pale boysThree Things / Life Of Riley
A Map Only Tells Me What I Already Know
Brunswick Parking Lot (2004)
How's Things In Your Town? (2005)
I Remember Mars (1996)
Disastohouse 001 (2012)
David Thomas and The Pale OrchestraMirror Man Act 2
David ThomasStudio Releases
Vocal Performances, 1981
Atom Mine / As Shoes Go By
Variations on a Theme (1983)
More Places Forever (1985)
David Thomas and The Holy Soul
The Accordion Club v.1.0
Ghost Line Diary
Winter Comes Home
A Free Man (2012)
Tom HermanWait For It
A Warning To All Strangers
Jim JonesThe Incredible Truth / Long Walk Home
15 - 60 - 75Here In The Life / It's In Imagination
Nobody's John / Behind Your Eyes
Jimmy Bell's Still In Town
The Inward City
Coal Tattoo (Kidney Bros.)
Rocket From The TombsI Sell Soul / Romeo & Juliet 2010
Extermination Night, 1974
When It's Too Late To Die Young, 2003