Saturday, January 1, 2022

four new titles to launch into 2022

 Four recent (and new) releases to welcome in 2022. For folks overseas, shipping continues to be a battle: please get in touch so we can arrange for something.


NVP043: Hali Palombo, Infinity Room (7” lathe, cassette, art, objects)

The fourth release in the lathe series. I met Hali several moons ago on a shared bill where she was doing a lot of manipulation and processing of shortwave. I had the good fortune to release her Homer & Langley cassette in 2020, and this release focuses on the Wisconsin experience that is the House on the Rock. Each copy comes with House on the Rock carousel tokens and a unique piece of art by Hali.

Edition of 26 lettered copies. Please note, the lathe subscription offer is closed, so remaining copies are $35.











NVP044: vertonen, territories et terrains 1 & 2 (2 x cassette, objects)
NVP046: vertonen, territories et terrains 3 & 4 (2 x cassette, objects)

The audio for both of these vertonen releases continues in the quieter field recording / acoustic / electronics work mode. Both releases come in a (potentially) needlessly complicated / elaborate package, including objects used in the recordings.

Each release contains approx. 80 minutes of music and come in an edition of 26 signed and numbered copies.

$25 ppd in the US.

If you’re interested in ordering both, that can be arranged for $40 ppd in the US.


NVP047: vertonen: 2022 calendar (12 x 3” CDR, calendar)

Given that we’re rolling into the third year of the pandemic, I figured I might as well create a full-color calendar that is (theoretically) enjoyable.

Each month is accompanied by a 3” CDR of audio, and each day is annotated with a fact that can be a jumping off point for further investigation if you so choose.

four hours of audio and 365 facts: who could ask for more?

The calendar is in an edition of 16 signed and numbered copies, and it’s $42 ppd in the US.




Saturday, November 6, 2021

Joe Colley "Tear" lathe released

I'm thrilled to share that Ballast NVP041, Joe Colley: “Tear” (7" lathe, CDR, and materials) has now gone out into the world.

Joe told me late last year that he had some recordings he thought would be perfect for the lathe medium, but the challenge would be unearthing them. Lo and behold, he did find them, and when he sent them across, I could not have agreed more: the recordings have a heavy “covert ritual recording” feel to me, and it’s just the right duration to pique the mind. 

Edition of 26 signed and numbered copies.


Please note: for all realistic intents and purposes, this release is sold out. As a result, subscriptions to the lathe series are now closed.



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Jeph Jerman's Quarry review

 Thanks to Frans de Waard at Vital Weekly for the kind words about Jeph's "Quarry!"

The music uses field recordings Jerman did at Antelope Hill in Arizona. The site has been used by Native Americans as a source for stone used to make milling implements, and on the site, there are "many heavily patinated boulders displaying petroglyphs, ancient to modern". Jerman was looking for a boulder made by J.J. Glanton, a notorious scalp hunter. On his trail on the hill site, Jerman made photographs and recordings, using the stones on the site and, I assume, later on, he worked with those sounds. I might be wrong, of course, but I don't think these are the recordings as he made them. In 'Three' (the first track on the CDR) there are also some electronic sounds to be heard. But by and large, the music is 'acoustic', as we have come to know Jerman's music in the last twenty or so years. Working with elements from nature, rubbing stones, breaking sticks and crushing leaves, but also man-made material (fences, barbed wire) which I would think are heavily layered by him, and perhaps looped in an organic mass of sounds. As said, with perhaps a few additional electronics. This is not ambient music, nor pure field recordings. These works are interesting, complex pieces of soundscapes that deal with a location-based concept. Words, images and music are connected and amplify the meaning of it all. It is all around fascinating trip. At times, it all may sound so 'easy', but upon closer inspection, you realize it is not. A work of art!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Eric Lunde: dressage 7" lathe now available


I’m kicking off a year of limited edition lathes, and the first in the series is by Mr. Lunde. The audio is a reading (with processing) of Lunde’s text, “dressage.” I’ve enjoyed the bulk of Eric’s writing (going back to LLND), and for me this piece carries overtones of some of the ideas addressed in Meat is Music and Art and Its Other(s). I don’t want to project too much, but this is a text that had some lovely resonance for me.

The 7” comes in hand-stamped sleeve designed and executed by Eric, a printed and stamped insert that includes the text, and a hand-stamped cardstock insert. Of course, Eric did some lateral thinking with the supplemental material, as on the cardstock insert he provides an email address that, if you send an email with your land address, will result in Eric sending you mail art (primarily in the form of postcards) from now until (near) the end of time.

Over the course of the pandemic, I have received about 40 such postcards, and they range from fluxus-esque phrases to asemic writing to patterning.

Edition of 26 lettered copies, of which 19 are available for sale. This is the first in a series of eight limited editions lathes by various artists throughout 2021. 


the lathe is $35 ppd in the US, and subscriptions to all eight lathes in the series are still available.

series participants include:

Maria Chavez (with Devin Kenny)

Joe Colley

Jeph Jerman

Bonnie Jones

Eric Lunde

Hali Palombo

Vanessa Rossetto


Sunday, June 13, 2021

jeph jerman quarry 7" lathe now available

excited to announce jeph jerman: quarry (lathe 7”, CDR, booklet, inserts)




The lathe features the magnificent field recording work of jeph jerman. Recorded around Antelope Hill, AZ, jeph explores the aural history of the site as both a quarry and a place of tool manufacturing for American Indians.


The release comes in a hand-stamped reel to reel box and includes the following supplements:

a) three double-sided inserts of photo documentation and background information

b) a CDR of audio adjacent to the lathe recordings

c) a booklet with reproductions of the hand-written notes jeph made during his trip to Antelope Hill.


The release is in an edition of 26 signed and lettered (A-Z) copies and is $35 ppd in the US: overseas folks, please contact me first for shipping, and folks in general email me first to ensure copies are available.


Subscriptions to the lathe series are still available as well. participants are:

Maria Chavez (with Devin Kenny)

Joe Colley

Jeph Jerman

Bonnie Jones

Eric Lunde

Hali Palombo

Vanessa Rossetto






Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Dead Edits: Dead Edits Presents Dead Edits, the Dead Edits Dice Game reviewed

Thanks to Frans de Waard for the kind words!
We were already aware that Ballast NVP releases special projects in small editions. This time they reach another peak with this one. Dead Edits, being Eric Lunde and label boss Blake Edwards came up with a small box with dice with letters on it, nine in total, so you can spell Dead Edits. There is also a dice shaker and three scorecards. A bit like Yahtzee or Boggle? I don't know. I never play games, analogue or digital. I won't explain the details of this game too much, even when it’s not complicated, but you get more points if you spell certain words, 78 if you spell Dead Edits, as one word. Having no one around here to play this game, I can't say if it's great, but I sure love the wacky idea of this. The cassette that comes with the package contains one side Edwards rolling the dice and Lunde finding words with those letters, whereas on the other side Lunde keeps on finding words and Edwards trying to pronounce the words the dice roll. It sounds like sound poetry, and it is great. It comes with machine noises in the background, Great poet cut-up tape loops and, apparently, cat sounds. Furthermore, it is short as well, sixteen minutes only, so the best thing one can do is to have this on repeat at a low volume in the background while playing the game. You got to hurry up, as this is an edition of sixteen copies only. This is by wide and far the best package of this week, despite the short review. (FdW)
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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Recent reviews of shallows, shallows II, elettra

some kinds words from Frans de Waard in the recent issue of Vital Weekly!

"Blake Edwards, the man behind Vertonen, is not someone who does things by half, as he proves, once again, with three new releases. I am quite a fan of most of his work, except for some of his noise work. With such a body of work, you could think that much of it is in the similar musical territory, but then you are wrong. 

The approach Edwards has towards the world of drones has many faces and here he shows how that works out. 'Shallows' and 'Shallows II" (not sure why he didn't use a double CDR release in one package) are work in which he uses field recordings, drones, small objects and creates some very interesting sound collages with this material This time it is not all put together in one big mass of sound, but in a more linear approach. Vertonen explores a few sound events and then moves on. On 'Shallows' there are more or fewer breaks within the piece, whereas on 'Shallows II', they are cross-faded slowly. The cover details the various sections, and they all have track titles (which reminded me of track titles by Hands To), so why he didn't go for cutting these into separate tracks, I don't know. The differences, so I gather from the information, lie in what sounds are used. 

On 'Shallows' this is "raw and processed field recordings with a focuses on over air recordings from closed, resonant internal spaces (churches, ventilation systems) external spaces (fields, forests) and external transmissions (shortwave radio)" and on 'Shallows II' "small manipulated objects and machines (cassette and microcassette recorded direct, small wood and metal assemblages), and processed field recordings", but it is not easy to distinguish that with the result found on these discs. On 'Shallows II" there is a whole section that I would think is all ventilation systems. Which, perhaps, only means, what do I know? I very much enjoyed the quiet approach Vertonen has here, bringing a much-needed rest in the headspace here, following some turmoil of a few days. 

The linear approach as well as the collage-like style of using different elements to tell his story works wonderfully well. The covers are hand-painted gouaches and will disappear over time, depending on how you handle them. I love that idea.

'Elettra' is a somewhat different work, a bit louder and working with 'raw and processed shortwave signals'. I love the use of shortwave signals a lot. It is, next to the human voice, one very easy instrument to play (although it needs practice and creativity; that goes without saying). I have no idea if Vertonen uses a real radio or uses the one from the University of Twente, which allows you to tap deep into all short, mid and long frequencies worldwide. Also, I don't know what Edwards does with these radio waves in terms of the processing; analogue or digital or perhaps a combination. He does something, that I am sure of. I believe I hear in each of the six sections to hear a mix of various signals and a few additional sound effects. Throughout this album is all a bit louder than the other two, or rather more present in the overall sound approach, but at the same time, it is effectively music of a similar quiet approach and deep listening. This is closer to the more usual drone approach of Vertonen, and it has the usual intense and mysterious sound that I know and love so much from him. There are so many voices on this release, just radio waves in many layers, and coloured by the use of sound effects. Excellent release. It once again made me think that a book on the historical use of radio signals as instruments is something I would welcome a lot, providing people such as Vertonen will get a place in there too!