Joe's Exploding Zoo

It's About Sound

In the earliest days of this label, Joe's Exploding Zoo, the question was asked, "What's the POINT? Why launch what is on paper a failure waiting to happen? Nobody makes a living making music anymore, do they?

What would the Legendary Pink Dots say about that? Or Brian Eno?

Music and sound have been devalued through music industry hateful practices, and a bunch of other "you kids get off my lawn" complaints we all know and love.

So why spend the time?

The answer, for the writer of THIS blog, has a lot to do with embracing contradictions (definitely part of any introductory learning about zen or taoism), being a willful contrarian, and sure, why not, being hopeful that this project might wind up being the exception to the starving artist rules.

A Bit of History

A lot of people start music labels. I've set up several micro labels, from extremely humble beginnings in the 1990s as a cassette only label run from my house in northern Japan (long story) to more of the same plus digital distribution in San Antonio, Texas, Chicago, and ultimately now, in Springfield, Illinois.

So I guess running one of these damn things is in my blood, it's just now the delivery system is easier, more sustainable, and won't create landfills through. music distribution alone. I like that.

Manifesto Isn't Just A Roxy Music Title

This blog post sort of feels like an attempt at a manifesto or statement of some kind. Perfectly logical, I suppose, if a bit defensive. After all, a LOT of people have become self-sustaining musical folk thanks to YouTube and other social media platforms...Patreon and the rest of it. 

That's something we all clamored for in the 1990s but we couldn't recognize how it would ultimately turn out in today's 21st century much the better some say. "If we knew, would we have chosen something else?" I don't have the answer to that one.

This blog space is sort of a way to keep things honest, more or less...I think people like to know there is a human being at work here and not just a retail machine. This is a small independent label in a very niche musical focus, and it would be ridiculous to pretend this is any sort of large corporately funded operation. 

And what corporation is all that interested in exploring the musical equivalent of liminal space? The ones that are, I want to know about.

Blog Rant Root Cause

This rambling post brought to you by not quite enough caffeine, a desire to say hello, and the weird need to justify the existence of yet another place on the internet that wants to help you spend money on unique sonic journeys. Sound is part of life, music is a life-enhancer, and the work you find here incorporates both. 

That won't make much sense to first. But like any good Coil or Nurse With Wound record, there's a weird center of gravity in each project that must be found in order to appreciate the work more fully.

Once you really hear one of these projects, you can't unhear it...understanding where this work fits into the larger continuum of music and sound makes these projects come more fully to life...

And the only way to get there is to, in the words of the late, Great Ken Nordine, STARE with your EARS.


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