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FAX FAQ

This FAQ was compiled from numerous sources by Stewart Fritz and Warren Lapham. Send comments and additional questions to faq@2350.org. Reproduce the FAQ portion of this page at will.

  1. The Basics
    1. Who is FAX?
    2. What is FAX?
    3. Where is FAX?
    4. When is FAX?
    5. Why is FAX?
  2. Fax Recordings and where to find them
    1. Why does this Pete Namlook guy appear on like all of the CDs?
    2. Why are they so hard to find?
      1. Why only 3000?
    3. Where can I find these CDs, then?
    4. If I want to order something by FAX, should I FAX 4969450464?
    5. Where else can I get some of these CDs? Are there reissues of older titles?
    6. What's with the PK/PW/PS business?
    7. What do the circles/colors mean?
    8. What about vinyl?
    9. What's with the other labels associated with Fax?
    10. Why do some releases have Arabic numbers and some Roman?
  3. Fax miscellany/Ambient questions
    1. Have these guys released stuff on other(non-Fax) labels?
    2. Why would anyone name a music CD "Silence"?
    3. Is there any ambient music outside of FAX?
    4. What's with the rave-o-matic/jungle stuff? I thought you said FAX was ambient.
    5. What is ambient music?
      1. Where do I start?
    6. Why does FAX suck so bad?
    7. Is Fax dead?
    8. Where can I hear some of this music?
    9. Is there some sort of Blade Runner theme?
  4. Questions about 2350.org
    1. Who's in charge here?
    2. Are you guys fanatics?
    3. I bought "Jet Chamber LXIX" and I hated it. Why didn't you warn me?
    4. Why isn't your site prettier?
    5. Why hasn't the site been updated in a while?
    6. Can I link to your site?
      1. Will you link to my site?
    7. Can I copy the reviews on 2350.org?
    8. If I submit a review to 2350.org, does that mean 2350.org owns it?
  1. The Basics
    1. Who is FAX?

      Primarily Peter Kuhlmann (recording as Pete Namlook...it's backwards, get it? Oooh) and a supporting cast of thousands, including but not limited to Tetsu Inoue, Klaus Schulze, Bill Laswell, Ritchie Hawtin, Peter Prochir, Peter Benisch, Dr. Atmo, and many, many others.

    2. What is FAX?

      Fax is a record label that produces a wide range of ambient and electronic music in various forms and styles.

      Fax +49-69/450464 is the full name of the record label...it was originally named that so people who wanted to fax them could figure out the number easily. :)

    3. Where is FAX?

      Originally located in Frankfurt, Germany, Fax has since moved its headquarters to Traben-Trarbach, about 87 miles(140 km) to the west.

      The official Fax website is hosted by Hyperreal, and can be found at http://www.hyperreal.org/music/labels/fax/.

    4. When is FAX?

      Since 1992, approximately every fortnight.

    5. Why is FAX?

      Why not?

  2. Fax Recordings and Where to find them
    1. Why does this Pete Namlook guy appear on like all of the CDs?

      Well, for one thing, he owns the label. It was originally started to promote his music, and that's why he appears on so many of the releases.

    2. Why are they so hard to find?

      They're hard to find because the label only makes between 500 and 3000 copies of each CD, depending on the release. Except for the Ambient World releases, which are theoretically unlimited.

      1. Why only 3000?

        Mostly to keep inventory down and minimize upfront costs on releaes that may not sell well. You can try looking here for more in-depth information on the topic.

    3. Where can I find these CDs, then?

      You can check out online sources like Ear/Rational Music and Rioux's Records, or e-mail-based stores like Playing By Ear (send mail to pbe@Rt66.com), all of which have current releases as well as some older ones, at good prices. Other online stores such as CDNow and Amazon have been known to occasionally carry some of the FAX titles, but thier stock is hard to verify and it's a gamble as to whether you'll get the discs you order.

      Very early releases are hard to come by, but you might check out eBay and search for "Fax" or "Namlook" in the Compact Discs section. Another direction to search in is the Whitezone e-mail trading list, where a number of Fax rarities have turned up for sale or auction. To subscribe, send mail to majordomo@evilboots.com with "subscribe whitezone" in the body of the message. Unfortunately, many of the older releases are highly prized among FAX collectors, meaning if you do see one of the earlier releases on eBay or private auction, be forewarned that the prices may climb well out of the average collector's price range.

      If all else fails, ask around...maybe there's a Fax junkie out there willing to part with a copy of that hard-to-find title you're looking for.

    4. If I want to order something by FAX, should I FAX 4969450464?

      No. You cannot order from there. They make the music, not sell it. Besides, that number apparently is no longer in service.

    5. Where else can I get some of these CDs? Are there reissues of older titles?

      A number of the harder-to-find titles have been re-issued on Ambient World, as well as other labels. These re-issues can be found at many of the sources listed above, and generally contain the exact same music on the CD but with substantially different album cover artwork.

    6. What's with the PK/PW/PS business?

      Quoting from the official Fax website:

      The main label is denoted with a PK code and is usually a collaboration with other German musicians or a solo project. On the record label there is a circle with a number in it on the upper right hand corner...There is the "triangle" label or just plain "sublabel" which has a triangle over a circle (in the upper right as usual). The vinyl records on this label have the text and the circle in white while the label is always black. For the CDs, the trimmings are gold and the background usually has some pretty impressive looking artwork that varies quite a bit. This sublabel is indicated by a catalog code of PS. Pete Namlook has nothing to do with this label musically but provides it instead as a support label for independent and underground artists. The "world" sublabel replaces the usual circle with a picture of the earth from space and the catalog code is PW. This label is set up for collaborations with artists around the world who are outside of Germany.

      A good way to keep track of the codes is PK=Peter Kuhlmann, his main label. PS=Peter's sublabel and PW=Peter's World label.

    7. What do the circles/colors mean?

      Although the "circle" album cover design has been slowly phased out, older releases followed a "code" for the label design which was as follows: On the CD sleeve or record label there is a large circle with a smaller circle in the upper right hand corner. Depending on the type of music on the album, the large circle would vary in color. For example, ambient releases are a light blue color while breakbeat gets an orange color. A full explanation of the Fax color spectrum can be found at the official Fax website. The few exceptions to this rule are the World and Sublabel series, which have a black circle with some kind of artwork in the large circle, the Namlook live albums which follow no real pattern, and various releases like the original release of Air II which has the circle design set into a photgraph of an astronaut.

      The second, smaller circle usually contains some sort of unique characteristic or color to identify it as a particular release in the Fax catalog. The exceptions again are the World label, which replaces the small circle with a photograph of the Earth, and the Sublabel, which replaces the circle with a triangle overlaid with a smaller circle.

      Starting with the release of Atom, the album covers have begun to move away from the standard circle designs, using more photographic and illustrative artwork.

    8. What about vinyl?

      Fax has released many 12" records of music from various projects. A list of the vinyl releases to date can be found at http://www.2350.org/vinyl/ (In the interest of space, we aren't cataloging reviews of them here, as much of the music tends to show up on CD's relesed prior to, or subsequent to, the vinyl releases, making cataloging them redundant. In time, 2350.org may include the vinyl releases.)

    9. What's with the other labels associated with Fax?

      Aside from the three subdivisions within the Fax mothership, there are two other labels associated with Fax in some way. The aforementioned Ambient World re-releases out-of-print Fax titles. The other label, Yesterday and Tomorrow, has so far released three titles. From the Fax website:

      Yesterday/Tomorrow Records is a label dedicated to the classical side of ambient and the ambient side of classical music. With this label, we try to connect the old music with the future of music. Basically our aim is to show that ambient is not only a new music born from the techno culture of our days but more a sound which was there from the beginning. Ambient, as it has its roots in the natural environment we are living in, exists in its basic form since several million years. The composer of the soundtrack was nature.

      Classical music developed after the third of the 19th century into a music with strict rules - even when the rule was no rule - with pure theoretic approach. A bit too far from the nature of 99 per cent of mankind and besides the interest of some science oriented listeners not very popular. On the classical side the late 19th century is our starting point. This was the time where all the experiences of the centuries before were used to create an impressionistic sound. Experiences and feelings had been transformed into music and bent the chains of musical laws which were very strict before this time had started.

      What we will do is to start musically at this point of musical history. The music at that time had one main vivid aspect: that whatever is useful to transport the desired feelings to the listener is also allowed. With the knowledge and technology of our time we are able to create sounds the composers of this time were dreaming of. We will take this chance and give the music of tomorrow to our listeners. All the releases on Yesterday/Tomorrow will be created by a classical musician in cooperation with an ambient musician. The ambient audience will be introduced to a new sound of their music with a classical approach. We want to show the audience of classical music that with ambient there is a new music going on which is made by composers of our time who have their roots in yesterday's classical music and in the timeless music of ambient to create the sound of tomorrow.

    10. Why do some releases have Arabic numbers and some Roman?

      Er...don't ask.

  3. Fax miscellany/Ambient questions
    1. Have these guys released stuff on other(non-Fax) labels?

      Most of the artists Namlook have collaborated with have produced music on other labels besides Fax, or (like Bill Laswell, Klaus Schulze, and others) were already well established in the music world long before becoming associated with Fax. A partial listing appears below:

      • Tetsu Inoue has produced a number of extra-Fax recordings, including World Reciever, Psycho-Acoustic, and Waterloo Terminal.
      • Bill Laswell has put out an uncountable number of releases in various guises, including performing, producing and writing roles. Labels inlclude Submeta, Innerrythmic, etc.
      • Thomas Fanger, of Fanger & Siebert, has done work outside of Fax as a member of the group Fanger & Kersten, also known as Mindflux. Mindflux recordings are available on Manikin Records.


    2. Why would anyone name a music CD "Silence"?

      Why not? Maybe it's a John Cage cover.

    3. Is there any ambient music outside of FAX?

      No.

      Seriously, yes, there's TONS of it; some good, some downright terrible. The Fax label didn't invent ambient music...it merely perfected it. ;)

    4. What's with the rave-o-matic/jungle stuff? I thought you said FAX was ambient.

      Well, yes and no. In Pete Namlook's own words(taken from the "1 Year" Compilation):

      I'm sorry to put "Ambient" in quotation marks all the time, but for me in "Ambient" music, everything is possible and the word "Ambient" does not match all the musical possibilities we have within the music we do nowadays. It's important that you understand "Ambient" as more than one musical direction. It can be Dance ("The Fires of Ork"), Chill Out ("2350 Broadway"), Jazz ("Harmonize," "Air"), Classical ("Silence"), Ethnical ("Sad World") and Experimental ("Alien Community") or simply all kinds of music. I think that the main reason for the success of "Ambient" music is that you, the listener, are getting more and more open minded and that pure structured beat and form oriented music of other musical directions becomes boring after a while.

    5. What is ambient music?
      1. Where do I start?

        In general, a good ambient music starting point is Brian Eno's Music For Airports, one of the earliest "ambient" albums in the classical sense of the word. More recent, and still readily available, is The KLF's Chill Out, which is generally spoken of as a great prototypical ambient album. Join the Ambient music mailing list and ask around...people are very willing to share their opinions. The archives are a great source of information, as a number of "Top Ten" lists have gone through tie mailing list in the past few years.

        A good starting point for FAX, especially if you live in the US, is to search for the Instinct double disc re-releases of Air 1/2, Alien Community 1/2, and Silence 1/2. Word on the street, now, is that some of these titles may be out of print, so you may not be able to find them new. The compilations are also a good place to start, especially the Genetic Drift compilation, which is a nicely mixed two-disc set. Beyond that, the new releases should be easy to find, although we can't vouch for their quality or how representative of FAX they may be. If you want to dig a little deeper, reading the reviews here at 2350.org can help you decide which titles to search out next, as well as asking around the Fax mailing list.

    6. Why does FAX suck so bad?

      It doesn't. Shut up.

    7. Is FAX dead?

      No.

    8. Where can I hear some of this music?

      Our audio page has RealAudio clips of the lastest elease, and you can download MP3 files of Fax music at eMusic.com.

    9. Is there some sort of Blade Runner theme?

      With the release of 4Voice in 1993, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner became the sample playground of choice for many FAX projects. 4Voice, The Fires of Ork, and Shades of Orion are only a few of the titles that contain samples from Blade Runner. In addition, the cover artwork for Miles Apart features a shot from the film.

      However, Blade Runner is not the only sample source for FAX releases, it just seems that way because of the higher number of samples used from that film. Other films sampled include Dune(sampled in Air II) and, most recently, The Matrix(lines of dialogue were used extensively on Namlook XV). Other sources besides films have been used as samples, including an answering machine(which makes an appearance on both Xangadix and A Day in the Park), a howling wolf(at various points throughout Air), and even the seashore(used to great effect in Music to Films).

  4. Questions about 2350.org
    1. Who's in charge here?

      2350.org is the product of Warren Lapham and Stewart Fritz, plus the contributions of many Fax fans from across the world. More information can be found on the credits page.

    2. Are you guys fanatics?

      We used to be, but aren't so much anymore.

    3. I bought "Jet Chamber LXIX" and I hated it. Why didn't you warn me?

      How are we supposed to know what you like?

    4. Why isn't your site prettier?

      We've designed 2350.org to be low-bandwith so it takes less time to download. Pretty graphics might look nice, but that's not the reason you came to this site, we think.

    5. Why hasn't the site been updated in a while?

      We like doing things other than building web sites. See also the answer to this question.

    6. Can I link to your site?

      Yes, with one request: If your site uses frames, we'd really prefer it if you would include TARGET="_top" in your anchor tags. This will open 2350.org in a new window, and prevent us from being framed within your site, which isn't very polite. (What are you doing using frames, anyway? This is the 21st century!)

      1. Will you link to my site?

        We review requests for links on a case-by-case basis. If the link is a relevant one, we'll link to it(if we don't already have a link). However, if the link is for a site with only marginal relevance to the FAX label or 2350.org, we'll probably pass on it.

    7. Can I copy the reviews on 2350.org?

      2350.org is an archive site, meaning the reviews submitted and posted are owned and copyrighted by their respective authors. That said, it's probably safe to assume that if a review is posted on 2350.org, it's ok to use in a NON-COMMERCIAL way, i.e., you can't charge for it. However, if you've got doubts, or if you want to use these reviews in a for-profit manner, you should make every attempt to clear it with the original authors. We take no responsibility for any legal action brought upon you for failing to clear copyrights with the original author.

    8. If I submit a review to 2350.org, does that mean 2350.org owns it?

      No. Authors of reviews posted to 2350.org retain full ownership of their original reviews. 2350.org merely archives them.

 


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