Best Hyphenate Label

Cuneiform Records

Founded in 1984, Silver Spring’s Cuneiform Records has released approximately 250 recordings in various formats, all of which fall under the rubric of what owner Steve Feigenbaum describes as either “progressive” or “jazz/rock/avant/electronic/New Weird America.” Cuneiform’s most popular artist by far is Robert Wyatt, the British singer-songwriter who once played drums in the jazz-rock outfit Soft Machine and its spinoff, Matching Mole. Archival releases are Cuneiform’s bread and butter (recent discs from the British saxophonist John Surman and the British big band Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath have been well received). But Feigenbaum continues to sign new talent, such as the Brooklyn jazz group Claudia Quintet and its avant-metal neighbor Time of Orchids. When asked to name a piece of trivia that might surprise the average Cuneiform follower, Feigenbaum responded, in typical good humor, “We either sell a lot more records than you think, or a lot less.”

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