Music From the Interior

It’s not often you get a peek at something legitimately different. Released in 1985, on Canadian record label Attic, Sounds from the Interior (The Music Interior Sampler) seems to mimic the iconic New Age Windham Hill Record Samplers of the ’80s. We all know the drill now. Frame a compelling nature scene on a stark white album cover, add some modern typography, compile a selection from similar-intentioned acts in your roster, print money. The early ’80s were a weird time for electronic music. Before the internet, there was zero market for experimental music. Your marketplace was health food stores and fly-by-night catalog music publishing companies.  For all intents and purposes, there were no such things as electronica, ambient, IDM, or whatever other niche genres labels you could slap on your music to get sold at Tower Records; either you were New Age, Jazz, Classical, or flat broke. So, what happens when you have unique music that defies easy categorization and needs an audience? This was what you’d exactly do with it…


The roster that Music Interior had to work with was unlike any found on another label. Based in Toronto, Canada, Attic’s subprint, Music Interior, turned towards the Far East as a way to distinguish themselves from other New Age labels like Windham which looked within America or Fortuna Records/Narada which turned to Western Europe. From Japan, they were able to piece together a lineup of like-minded musicians who dabbled in all sorts of experimental Jazz and classical music. In order to create a unified theme, they struck upon a compelling aesthetic. Our releases will serve as compelling music for modern living.

Forget the outdoors. As these other labels attempted to keep you one shakuhachi-flute-and-reverb-soaked-string-pad stuck in the woodlands, out at sea swimming with dolphins, or speeding through the galaxy, Music Interior had more humble goals. Music Interior wanted to present music that could enhance your comfort within your contemporary environment. Combining classical instrumentation with sparse synths and real acoustic instruments, they presented a departure from the overly-cloying warmness or sterile-to-a-fault music you’d hear coming from other record labels.


Taking the ethos of environmental music presented by others like Hiroshima Yoshimura to its logical evolution, the releases found in Music Interior were obviously geared towards presenting music for interiors. If artists like Iasos, David Arkenstone, or Will Ackerman had you looking up at the heavens, artists like Ichiko Hashimoto, Seigén Ono, and Yoshio Suzuki would rather have you staring down at your navel, reaching your own kind of bliss.

In its own way, that’s why the music you’ll find below still sounds so contemporary. By accepting the specialness actual jaunts into whatever space that clears your headspace is, it becomes easier to create music that breathes it in and imparts back a different kind of nostalgic atmosphere – its music for appreciating what you do experience in the here and now. Don’t quite get what I mean? Take a listen to Seigén Ono’s “Water Front” below for a clue. I promise more of this to come…