Notes on Brooklyn Recording Studio the Rare Book Room

Inside Nicolas Vernhes's sanctuary, home to avant-rock

This year, Vernhes has moved his A&R duties to the forefront with the launch of Rare Book Room Records. His first releases are due next month: a fragile, piano-based record from a New York artist named Lia, and another by a German performance- art duo called Palms. And despite the shaky time the recording industry's had of late, starting his own label makes sense to him: He can now control the means of production in multiple ways, while continuing to focus on artistic intent. "For me, it's the fact that a lot of bands came to me early on in their careers, when they were developing their sound," Vernhes explains. "I've always been curious about what happens to the records I make when they leave my studio." He adds that his work on the label so far has been "daunting— and very time-consuming. It's the kind of thing that, if I think about it a lot, I'll just want to close my eyes and run blindly." But that's not likely to happen.

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