Interview With The Top Ambient And Drone Contributor On Discogs

At the top of u/Andi242’s profile, you will find lyrics from Kraftwerk’s song “Antenne”:

Wir richten Antennen ins Firmament, empfangen die Töne, die niemand kennt.

This roughly translates to, We direct antennas into the sky, receive the sounds nobody knows.

You would be hard-pressed to find a better representation of the pioneering work of this top Discogs contributor. With an affinity for unearthing esoteric sounds, u/Andi242 has contributed more ambient and drone releases to the Discogs Database than any other user. With nearly 8,000 contributions and 11,000 images added to Discogs, u/Andi242 has ensured many of this self-released and relatively unknown music will be forever saved in the world’s largest music database.

We spoke to u/Andi242 about how he got his start contributing, how he discovers so many rare releases and the future of the Discogs Database.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Andreas, I’m from Germany and I’m in my 40s. Even as a kid, I was impressed by the New Wave music that my oldest brother heard. Based on that, I later became more and more interested in electronic music. My focus was on EBM for a long time until I finally discovered ambient music for me. Today I’m interested in different types of electronic music, but ambient and drone are certainly my focus. I still enjoy buying CDs and hope that this format, that I like so much, can survive. I like looking for digital releases in the field of ambient music that are relatively unknown but deserve attention. In the past, I’ve added many such releases to the database.

How did you get started with Discogs?

When I searched through search engines for information about albums, artists, labels, etc., I came across Discogs again and again. When I used this page, I realized that it is the best place to start for every music lover, because the database has a clear design and a clear structure, and strives for the most valid information possible. Moreover, it is very convenient that everything is linked to everything and the various elements such as information search, submitting, buying and selling of sound carriers, reviews and discussions are linked together, but each user can still set his own priorities. At some point, I started to contribute to the database, mainly to support the international ambient scene, because I like this music very much. And I’ve met very nice people on Discogs – especially I would like to highlight u/richardgurtler (Richard Gürtler), whom I only call “Mr. Ambient”!

Do you have a technique for finding releases that are not in the Database?

About last.fm, YouTube and Soundcloud you will find a lot of unknown things that are not yet represented in the database. In addition, of course, Bandcamp has become very important in recent years. With bandcamp’s tag search you can discover many interesting releases.

Do you have any tips for new contributors or those interested in getting started on Discogs?

Do not hesitate to ask for help from other users who have been contributing to the database for some time! Most of them will be happy to give some support!

Do you have a favorite release that you have added?

Stu Jenks ‎– West Of The Fire: Soundtrack For Photographs, Volume Two Album Cover

Stu Jenks ‎– West Of The Fire: Soundtrack For Photographs, Volume Two

I was proud to add the CD version of Stu Jenks‘ album West Of The Fire: Soundtrack For Photographs, Volume Two. I think it‘s one of the best ambient albums ever!

What is the most bizarre release you have come across?

The most bizarre music release I found not on Discogs, but on archive.org. It comes from the US experimental band Bull Of Heaven and represents a loop that, started multiple times delayed, generates a composition that has a length of 8,462,937,602,125,701,219,674,955.2362595095 years. You can listen to it here…Enjoy!

What is your ideal vision of what the database could/should be?

The ideal would be that all the people in the world, for whom music is an important part of their lives, know Discogs and use it regularly!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Today, many young people learn things by watching explanatory videos. Maybe there should also be a short video on the home page of Discogs showing how to add a missing release to the database. If someone has a quick sense of achievement with the help of such a video, the likelihood that he will continue working will certainly increase. – I also have the tip to use the Explore feature of Discogs. For example, you can combine different styles in your search and you will often get surprising and pleasing results!

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Steven Williams
Steven is a Discogs content strategist and indie radio host residing in Portland, OR. Formerly a member of P.H.C., a found-object free jazz collective, he now spends his spare time learning bluegrass tunes on the mandolin.

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