Non Projects® is a record label dedicated to the support and discovery of Los Angeles' most innovative artists and composers. Mislaid within an ever-changing and confused recording landscape, Non Projects offers imaginative works of art and sound.
A 24 year-old professional illustrator, graphic and sound designer originally from the Pacific Northwest of America and now living in Los Angeles, RareBit’s music thrives on controlled chaos. A collection of tracks pieced together by Justin and label owner Brian Simon, The Destroyer EP serves as a fine introduction to the young man’s work and is a preview of what’s to come later in the year for Justin’s upcoming full-length debut.
The name RareBit stems from Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, a turn of the century comic strip by Winsor McCay in which each week, an unnamed character would wake up from an inexplicable dream at the peak moment of confusion. One experiences this phenomenon both after each track and a listen to the EP. “Familiar sounds reassembled in a seemingly natural way that only seem strange after dissection” as Justin puts it. From the cavernous prepared piano mantras of “Music for the Ambitious Careerwoman,” the massive cut and paste disco pastiche of “Aggro Crag” (which contains sounds recorded by Justin across the world including the U.S., Burma and France), the confounding and catchy tunes of “Onigashima” to the otherworldly synth vistas of “Responsibility – Stress – Release”, The Destroyer EP proves to be beautifully disorienting, frighteningly immersive and immensely colorful all in one. Dive in.
Mastered by James Plotkin
1. Initiation - Quitters - Freedom
2. Aggro Crag
3. Slime Time Live
4. Blue Blood Baskets
5. Music for the Ambitious Careerwoman
7. Tape Shreds
8. Responsibility - Stress - Release
Justin Hopkins is a musician, visual artist, sound designer and the newest signing to Non Projects. He currently lives in Los Angeles, though is originally from the Pacific Northwest of America. While the Non Projects faithful may remember some of his work that was posted on our blog over a year ago, I figured what better way to introduce Justin as an official Non Projects artist than with a proper label-artist interview. Plus, I had some questions for him that never seemed to get answered. Hopefully this will shed some light on the man and his work. - Brian
The Destroyer EP will be available July 14 worldwide on Digital formats.
[Brian Simon] Do you have an earliest music memory? I know you grew up in a house of visual artists… was there more emphasis on pursuing visual art rather than music?
[Justin Hopkins] I remember being 7 years old on a road trip with my dad. We were listening to The Jaws soundtrack over and over again. My mind was completely blown. If you listen closely you can still hear the echoing influences of John Williams in the music I make... I think... I hope... Both of my parents are great artists. I was, and still am, constantly enveloped by the visual arts. I started learning the family business at a young age and still make my living doing it. I see no difference between the visual arts and music. Music allows me to be more easily abstract and disconnected from the imagery that I am trying to convey, but it still always comes from same place.
[BS] You’re originally from the Seattle area… when did you move down to Los Angeles? What region influences your sound more - LA or the Northwest?
[JH] I moved to LA at 18 from a small ferry town called Mukilteo, Wa. I am inextricably bound to both places. Its hard to say which has sonically attached itself more to me. They are both so different. I like to think of my music as fungus encrusted and in a constant state of growth and decay. In this way I am influenced by the organic, wet, and florally lush environment in which I grew up. A place where my sense of discovery was harvested. LA offers me an entirely different kind of inspiration. Music for traffic, canyons, beaches, blonde girls, and billboards. California is my home now and I take beauty and frustration from it every day. I cannot help but represent it in everything I do. Home.
[BS] When listening to your songs, I can’t help but feel a staggering amount of attention to detail – precise textures, sounds that appear only once, field recordings, session recordings with other musicians, etc… while this would turn into a mess for a lot of artists, it always feels completely coherent and meant to be in your work. Is this something you’re completely conscious of when you work or do you just run with it depending on the track? How often are you outside collecting field recordings?
[JH] I'm really glad you don't think its a mess. There is always a general idea and detailed vision of where I see the end product going, but that always changes. Being open to this change is key. The aleatoric and improvised elements that seem to inject themselves and force you to change, edit, and rearrange the idea into a new vision are always the most exciting parts. I refuse to neglect a healthy wrench in the works. I don't even consider RareBit to be a solo project. I'm more of a compiler and editor - some of the sounds are made by me and some of them aren't. My friends play a huge part in the project and so do the environmental noises I try to wrangle. Some elements pop in and upset the rhythm while others stay for a bit and simmer. My Tascam recorder is always close by - usually in my car.
[BS] In my head, many artists depict one or two or three color schemes in their work. While I don’t believe that I have full on synesthesia, my mind tends to gravitate towards one or two colors and different hues of those colors when listening to music. Surprisingly, 'The Destroyer EP' sort of just blasts my brain with all these different shades and hues flying at me… do you think that you have synesthesia? Does working in the visual arts inform the sort of “technicolor” aesthetic of your work?
[JH] I can't really claim to have synesthesia. I wouldn't know how to diagnose that. I do, however, know that I have an extremely active and vivid imagination. Everything I do comes from an imagined visual idea - an idea, like a film, that I am tying to soundtrack. This original vision is usually warped and mutated by outside minds and stimuli, but it always starts as a vibrant dreamlike image. The visual arts background definitely plays a huge part.
[BS] Can you describe the process of professional sound design that you do? I for one am certainly interested, and I know you worked on some big projects including the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. Is there a difference in the way you approach commercial work and the way you approach your own music?
[JH] Sound design is something that I kind of just fell into. I snagged a couple big gigs while working at a place called Olio Inc where I was an illustrator and designer. Again, there is no difference to me between music and any other art form. its all just the same process of creation and adventure. So far I have been lucky enough to have had sound jobs that were very musical in process and allowed me to make up my own new sonic universes. In a way the Atlantis project is just a big art installation with an ambient RareBit album playing in the background.
[BS] Being the new guy on Non Projects, how do you think you fit in with the rest of the label?
[JH] I hope I fit in well. I'm excited to be here. I love everything you guys have put out. It feels like I've been following this stuff since the beginning.
[BS] Care to divulge one of your “secret weapon” recording tools? I know I saw a few lying around during my last visit.
[JH] I just try to stay open to all the weapons that present themselves - I know this sounds like a cop out, but I really just try to change it up for every track... OK - my Tascam DR-1
[BS] What can we expect on your upcoming Non Projects LP as compared to this EP?
[JH] Drums. New explorations in rhythm. Broader - Deeper - Collected.
[BS] Any recommended recent listening or reading?
[JH] Listening - Les Tetes Brulees, Everybody, Whats Up!, TIGERBITCH, COMBAT!, Pomar, Doudou N'Diaye Rose, Pharoah Sanders, Blood Bender, boredoms, Dimlite, Space Equator, Obi Lori, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Radiolab.
Reading - Short stories of Robert Walser, and Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter.
Photo by Sean Ferris
"Introducing Unreleasables, a bunch of music I'm never going to put out due to legal/artistic/motivation issues. mostly from the summer of 2010, a fine summer for us all for sure. featuring "pocket hearts" for download for the first time and a mighty fine "drake" track. please enjoy, won't be hearing much else like this in the future... from these quarters." - Ryan
Listen to and download the entire album at Bandcamp.
Available now from
The original Basic Climb can be found here.
With no intention of a follow-up remix record at the onset of recording, the idea sprouted with a request from the well-revered Dak to rework a track of Ana’s that he had heard on the Non Projects website. We were all so into this that soon word spread and the idea of remixing Ana’s lush vocals and harp playing blossomed into friends and producers getting in touch with label owner Brian Simon about getting their own hands on the impeccable stems that made up Ana’s debut.
What we have now are two separate worlds - one inhabited solely by Ana’s luxuriant voice and opulent instrumental arrangements and one inhabited by both her and the friends and fellow musicians whom she has shared with in the past years, each lending their own unique aesthetical take on undeniable beauty. Listening to Basic Climb Re-Imagined from front to back gives us 11 unique views of talents both studied and anew. The journeyed and Eastern tinged portrayal of “Blackberries” by Julia Holter (now a part of Nite Jewel’s live show) takes us on a journey up and down both the bustling and deserted roads of India with Ana as our vocal guide while the orchestral re-arrangements of Dak’s take on “Shapeshifting” leave us in cinematic awe as our ears witness his most open and wide-screened piece yet. Elsewhere a.d.l.r. opens up a rift in time with a parallel dimension of delay-filled harps and vocals, Dntel ushers us through an effortlessly relaxed after hours pop trip with his “Black Canyon” mix, Take drops Ana into the middle of a 60’s soul jam and Anenon guides us into a drum and drone meditation zone, while every other interpretation is a standout in their own rights.
Highlighting the collaborative work of one of LA’s finest pairs, Basic Climb Re-Imagined is book-ended with a synth / vocal cover of “Basic Climb” by Ana and Asura’s hauntingly glorious reworking of “Blackberries,” providing a glimpse into the new directions of their constantly shifting visions and proving to us that the work is never really done.
1. Basic Climb (Ana Caravelle Cover)
2. Anti-Anxiety Pill (a.d.l.r.'s Pills for Ana)
3. Anti-Anxiety Pill (yuk. Rendition)
4. Basic Climb (Dibiase's Tapedeck Dirt Mix)
5. Blackberries (Julia Holter Remix)
6. Where Have You Been? (TAKE Remix)
7. Black Canyon (Dntel Mix)
8. Shapeshifting (dakim regular shape mix)
9. Where Have You Been? (Anenon Drone Mix)
10. Black Canyon (Shigeto's As I Inhale Mix)
11. Blackberries (Asura Remix)
*Please note - the Shigeto remix that has been circulating has now been remastered and sounds much bigger.
a.d.l.r. is Nicholas Morera, a 22 year old musician from Laguna Beach, California currently residing in Los Angeles. Foam on the Waves of Space-Time… is Nicholas' debut album and the third full-length release from Non Projects.
The white First Edition Cassettes are sold out.
Purchase Digital from
Mastering by Taylor Deupree.
A complete autodidact, Nicholas began DJ’ing at the age of 11, inspired by the sound of LA's Beat Junkies on the now defunct 92.3 The Beat. After hearing Aphex Twin and Squarepusher at the age of 16, he then took on electronic music. Absorbing the sound design and fabric of Warp Records style electronic music, Morera soon discovered and immersed himself in the world of compositional techniques from such modern classical luminaries as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez. Gaining a solid understanding of these composers' languages, Nicholas' self-teachings then brought him to the every other year Darmstadt New Music Festival (Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik) in Darmstadt, Germany - a summer school in contemporary classical music which has hosted a large number of avant-garde composers as both students and lecturers including John Cage, Gyorgi Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis and many more.
As a.d.l.r., Morera takes his progressive compositional ear and feeling and weaves in current forms of sample-based drone, collage, minimal techno, ambience, tape music and microsound to create a highly listenable lush and coherent whole of audio ephemera that fits right in line with the immersive sounds of the Non Projects catalog.
1. Supreme Sunlight
2. Tactility of Time
3. Wilder Plain
6. The Sofest Shade of Purple of a Powdery Hue
8. Personal Grids
9. Bright Wave
11. The Systems
Press: 92bpm, Altered Zones, Brand X, Foxy Digitalis Review, Future Sequence Interview, Future Sequence Review, LA Record Review, OMG Vinyl, Rebel, XLR8R ("Wisp" mp3), XLR8R ("Supreme Sunlight" Video)
Distribution: Cargo (UK)
Funk jazz bass etudes from Devonwho, who contributes this workout of a remix for a.d.l.r.'s "Wisp," evoking aural imagery of Michael Henderson jamming with cassette tape drones and Jack DeJohnette on drums at The Cellar Door in DC.
The great Streets Of Beige club night in London, UK asked Asura for an exclusive mix and he delivered.
"Asking Asura to compile our tenth mix was no mere coincidence. His self-titled album, released at the very start of the year, comes in as our top album of 2010. Full of organic tinkering, lush instrumentation and delicate vocals, it is an electronic masterpiece packed with sonic experimentation. Drifting from act to act in a theatre of noise, reverb and fluttering melodies, Asura has cemented himself and label Non Projects as one of the most exciting new projects in LA.
And his mix reflects the often impulsive character of his LP - cutting between Miles Davis, Teebs, Arthur Russell, Squarepusher and more with embarrassing ease. There's even a track featuring The Backstreet Boys which - along with The Zombies/Supersilent mashup at the end - gives a nod towards the pop sensibilities that inform the nature of his sound."
01. Squarepusher/Ligeti-Massif (Stay Strong)/Violin Concerto: II. Aria-Hoquet-Chorale
02. John Cage-Mureau
03. Miles Davis-Black Satin
04. Broadcast and The Focus Group-I See, So I See So
06. Yellow Swans-Our Oases
07. Boredoms-House of Sun (feat. The Backstreet Boys)
08. Ana Caravelle-Basic Cimb (Dibiase's Tapedeck Dirt Mix)
09. Teebs-Long Distance (Feat. Gaby Hernandez)
10. Asura-Other Side Of Backwater (Feat. Baths) (Drums Version)
11. Bill Evans-Milestones
12. Dntel-Soft Alarm
13. Asura-Going On
14. Arthur Russell-Being It
15. The Zombies/Supersilent-The Way I Feel Inside/10.10