You might read the URL, wanderingear.com, as Wandering Gear instead of what it actually says, which is Wandering Ear, but either way, you’d be right. Wanderingear.com is a new netlabel set up Mike Hallenbeck and by Nathan Larson, the latter the founder of darkwinter.com, but unlike Dark Winter, which is dedicated to processed dark ambience, wanderingear.com is about unprocessed sound. It’s a label dedicated to field recordings, which is to say, it’s dedicated to the work of people who wander the land with their gear. Its first release, Thaw: Field Recordings from Minnesota, sounds like the title to a John Updike novel or a Christopher Guest movie. There are sounds from water (MP3, by Hallenbeck) and air (MP3, by Michelle Nagai), office (MP3, by Annie Baxter) and helicopter (MP3, by Bryce Beverlin II). These documentarians are not without a sense of humor. Among the album’s 18 tracks, all freely downloadable, are three “accidental” field recordings by Jaron Childs, who discovered them on his answering machine.
Wanderingear’s Larson is one of the three netlabel administrators who participated in the recent Disquiet.com discussion, “Free as in Netlabel,” along with folks from Hungary’s Complementary Distribition and Portugal’s Test Tube. According to his brief bio on the site, Larson has a third netlabel due to debut next year: rottencrab.com.