Is HI ARC TOW a record label? A website aggregating free creative commons music and paid downloads? A showcase for under-the-radar art? An artist collective? You could argue all of these things, and none. HI ARC TOW has existed for the better part of a decade – obstinately ill-defined, quietly focused however on the simple goal of showcasing music of quality and meaning.
The world of music finds itself in strange times. Technological advances (high-speed internet, cheap production gear, streaming) and the diminishing attention-spans of listeners have squeezed the market into ever-tighter avenues. At present the world is awash with music – little of it of enough depth to be profound, vast amounts of it passably well constructed enough to make truly well-crafted music commercially and culturally irrelevant. Music’s place in modern life is as little more than audio wallpaper to disconnected, trivial activities (getting drunk, riding the bus, going to the gym, posting on Instagram). Standards are low, expectations weary, and creativity shallow. Fewer artists are receiving useful recompense for their music and fewer incentives than ever exist to do anything other than pander to the lowest common denominator.
Despite this meriting much column and blog inches, no one honestly knows how this situation will resolve itself – or whether or not this is in fact the new normal.
Shunning commercial and social goals, we focus on what should always have been primary: the quality of the music.
As dire as things seem, we believe that with enough dedication it’s possible for artists to transcend this. By focusing exclusively on art that is distinctive & meaningful (regardless of genre) and by showcasing new, engaging work from emerging artists who we recognise are trying to overcome the stagnation of the present status quo, we think we can do our little bit to fill the world with better music.
We would rather hear one outstanding, visionary piece of music, than a mass of derivatives that leave us feeling only slightly more stimulated that if we’d listened to the sound of a photocopier.
Our goals are: to promote a thoughtful approach to creativity, assist people in the development of the necessary skills to create quality art, and then to help promote it – including (but not limited to) hosting work on this website by artists we like and who want to offer a sample of their work for free, public dissemination.
Catalogue of releases
00.1 – Programmed Cell Death – Submission [demo]
00.2 – Programmed Cell Death – Parasite [demo]
hi01 – Beithíoch – Díolaim [demo. Tape available through Divelix Rex]
hi02 – Cryosyncopy – Recollection of Lost Fragments
hi03 – Síol Na Gréine – Incandescence
hi04 – Programmed Cell Death – Pale Reflections
hi05 – Cryosyncopy – Black Sea
hi06 – Beithíoch – Aisling Dhorcha [tape available through Divelix Rex. 2016 CD from Aurora Australis]
hi07 – Cryosyncopy – Cosmic Vicissitude
hi08 – Síol Na Gréine – Nihil
hi09 – Beithíoch – An Sealgaire [demo]
hi10 – Mushin – Realm of Corrosion
hi11 – Mushin – Realm of Corrosion 2
hi12 – Síol Na Gréine – Adhradh [used as soundtrack to feature film Concrete Walls]
hi13 – Cryosyncopy – Black Ocean
hi14 – Khand – Interstellar Dominions [tape available through Rotten Shape]
hi15 – Síol Na Gréine – Incandescence [reworked for 2011]
hi16 – Beithíoch – Dúchas [demo]
hi17 – Monkey With Car Keys – Filament in Strata
n/a – Absvrdist – Illusory [CD available from artist]
hi18 – Chthe’ilist – Amechth’ntaas’m’rriachth [tape available through Graceless Recordings]
hi19 – Beithíoch – Summoning the Past
hi20 – Khand – The Fires of Celestial Ardour
hi21 – Cryosyncopy – Culmination
hi22 – Cryosyncopy – Culmination 2
hi23 – Cryosyncopy – Culmination 3: The Dark Path
*Italic = no longer available for download