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Naim Label is an independent record company and subsidiary of a British Hi Fi manufacturer Naim Audio, who have focused their music preferences through their record label for over 20 years. The company’s aim to ‘champion both the artistic and technical’ links with the audiophile audience demographic. Naim Audio’s philosophy for ‘achieving absolute sound quality’ is shared with Naim Label, and combined with a desire to ‘preserve the musician’s art’. Naim Label focuses on the benefits of the artist and promote those with a mixture of talent and belief in their music. Through its various imprints Naim Label currently has a catalogue of over 150 releases, spanning from alternative rock to Beethoven symphonies.
In 1991, Naim Audio launched the CDS, Naim Audio's first Compact Disc player. Having ventured into the realm of digital music playback, Naim aimed towards a ‘superior listening experience’ leading Vekerer, the Founder of Naim Audio, to create his own mastering process to create CD’s with higher quality. Vereker acquired the original two-track master tapes of one of the company's favourite vinyl demo records: Electric Glide by Gary Boyle. Using mechanical isolation, digital signal handling and analogue filtering techniques developed for the CDS, and with the help of London mastering house Finesplice, Electric Glide was re-mastered for CD, and became the first Naim Label Release.
Naim Label releases ‘audiophile’ recordings created using a technique called ‘True Stereo’, a 'purist' direct-to-stereo recording method derivative of simple stereo pair micing, During the mid-90s the label developed a long relationship with recording engineer Ken Christianson, who pioneered the ‘True Stereo’ technique. Christianson was also a partner at one of Naim Audio’s American dealers Pro Music Chicago. The first recording of Christianson’s Naim Label released was Concerts Under The Dome, a collection of classical pieces performed by a 9 piece string group including work by Brahms + Mendelssohn.
Christianson counted numerous American jazz musicians among his friends, many of which he introduced to the label. Christianson introduced double bass player <<Charlie Haden>>, best known for his long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, to the label. The first Naim Label release of the Haden’s was a set of live recordings released in 2 parts as the Private Collection. The original releases sold out quickly, however the label has since re-released them on CD, vinyl and as Super Hi Def Downloads. Supported by Naim Label, Haden was able to make a number of both solo and duo recordings, working with a number of his American jazz piers such as Chris Anderson and John Taylor.
In 2013 Naim Label revisited many of its ‘True Stereo’ recordings. Engineer Ken Christianson returned to the original analogue master tapes and re-mastered 12 of the collection as 192KHz Super Hi Def digital files.
Naim Label has a long standing relationship with Italian acoustic guitarist Antonio Forcione. The guitarist came to the company’s attention when a customer approached Naim’s then sales manager, Paul Stephenson, requesting he demo a recording of Forcione’s at a Hi Fi show. Forcione has since released 10 albums through Naim Label. Antonio’s most successful Naim Label releases is Meet Me In London, a collaborative album with the half Italian half German Sabina Sciubba, most noted as front woman and only female member of, the alternative dance group The Brazilian Girls (Verve Records). Antonio discovered Sabina whilst on tour in Germany.
In 2011 Naim revisited Meet Me In London with the intention of making a 192Khz Super Hi Def digital re-master from the original analogue tapes. This was the company’s first venture into creating high resolution digital files. Working with producer and engineer Tony Platt (Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley), Forcione returned to the studio, where the process was an opportunity to revisit both the mix and master making both technical and artistic decisions despite working at a sample rate of 192 kHz being an uncommon practice in the recording industry.
In 2006 Simon Drake took over as General Manager of Naim Label and focused on developing and modernizing the label’s business model. Under Simon’s watch the label has seen significant sales increases year on year, along with improved worldwide distribution, the introduction of digital distribution, the signing of award winning artists and receiving a nomination for the Best Small Label award at the AIM (Independent Music Awards) in 2011.
A major development under Simon’s management was the creation of its 3 sub labels; Naim Classical, Naim Jazz Records and Naim Edge Records. Each subdivision was designed to provide a home for the label’s previous catalogue, as well as allowing the label to diversify across a range of new music.
Naim Jazz RecordsEdit
Formed in 2009, Naim Jazz Records is dedicated to all forms of jazz. Whilst continuing to promote the labels existing jazz catalogue, the aim of Naim Jazz is “to keep the music alive, by helping a range of new British jazz acts”.
Naim Jazz has an active roster including many award winning artists such as:
- Charlie Haden
- The Private Collection (2007)
- Tabula Rasa (2013)
- Elements Of Truth (2011)
- Out 'n' In (2009)
- Gwyneth Herbert
- Clangers & Mash (2010)
- All The Ghosts (2009)
- Neil Cowley Trio
- The Face Of Mount Molehill (2012)
- Radio Silence (2010)
- Fact Finding Mission (2013)
- The Gentle War (2011)
- Variations (2010)
- Barb Jungr
- Stockport To Memphis (2012)
- The Men I Love: The New American Songbook (2010)
- Stuart McCallum
- Distilled Live (2012)
- Distilled (2011)
- Maze (2012)
- X (2011)
- Get The Blessing
- Lope and Antilope (2013)
- OC DC (2012)
- Kairos 4tet
- Everything We Hold (2013)
- Sons Of kemet
- Burn (2013)
Naim Edge Records was created in 2009 as a venture into contemporary/popular music, with the aim of providing “a platform for deserving, cutting edge musical talent”. Naim Edge Records operate under the ethos that “it is about finding bands we love, people we believe in and doing what we can to get them heard”.
Naim Edge Records has an active roster including artists such as:
- Jump Ship
- whatisthisandwhy (2008)
- Phantom Limb
- The Pines (Special Edition) (2013)
- The Pines (2012)
- Live In Bristol (2010)
- Phantom Limb [Special Edition]
- Don't Say A Word (7’’ SINGLE) (2008)
- Phantom Limb (2008)
- Nangijala EP (2009)
- William Fitzsimmons
- Derivatives (2010)
- The Sparrow And The Crow (2009)
- Goodnight (2009)
- Jon Thorne Danny Thompson
- Watching The Well (2010)
- Future Sons & Daughters (2010)
- Max Raptor
- Mother’s Ruin (2013)
- Portraits (2011)
- Contact! Contact! (5th Anniversary Special Edition 2CD) (2012)
- Freud Links The Teeth And The Heart (7" Single, Ltd #1-300) (2012)
- Edith (7" Single, Ltd #1-300) (2011)
- The Wages Of Fear (2011)
- BOY COM
- Who Needs 'Em Anyway? (2011)
- Huey and the New Yorkers
- The After Hours EP (2013)
- Say It To My Face (2012)
- The Woman EP (2014)
- Bellavue EP (2013)
- Sinas EP (2013)
- Toujours (2014)
- Marc Ford
- Holy Ghost (2014)
Hi Def StoreEdit
in 2009 Naim Label launched their online download store naimlabel.com, from which they were the first record company to sell fully uncompressed 24 bit WAV files (digital files that match the quality of digital studio masters). Naimlabel.com offers the labels entire catalogue of music from all 3 imprints in a variety of download formats (WAV, ALAC, FLAC, MP3), as well as offering CDs and vinyl.