The Ubiquitousness of Ubiquity Records

12 12 2008

Global Beat Fusion: The Ubiquitousness of Ubiquity Records
By Derek Beres

Last week while going through one of those unavoidable clean-out-the-studio moments, I continued my digitizing and filing process to clear the clutter of over a decade of music journalism. And while the chaos cannot be contained in any sort of recognizable order, I have been good about separating certain labels during the process. It is to one of those processes that we turn to this month.

One of the most ubiquitous packages to arrive in my mailbox every few weeks over the last six years has also been one of the most welcomed: those thin brown press packages from Berkeley-based Ubiquity Records. Size does matter, but not necessarily in terms of largeness. The size of quality is more relevant than the number of albums a label pumps out. And while they have certainly been proficient, these listening ears over in Northern California serve a unique and important function in modern music, even if half of their albums take us back a few decades.

Ubiquity is to record labels what Wax Poetics is to magazines: small and stubbornly focused, with a diehard allegiance of fans that collect the albums as much as listen to them. There is no clear-cut definition of what the label produces, unless we go for universal terms like “good” and “dope”. Not to say all of their albums are the golden fleece. Yet somehow even their mediocrity is understandable and forgivable. And, thankfully, rare.

So now the last six years of Ubiquity Records are in one place, simultaneously, in a brand new CD booklet. And while a comprehensive overview would take many columns to produce, I’d rather focus, however briefly, on some of my favorites.

Read the full column on PopMatters.