An international force championing avant-garde music in a variety of genres, and especially, music that challenges and transcends genre forms, Cuneiform Records
is an independent record label based in Silver Spring, MD, outside Washington DC. Founded in1984, the label has a catalogue of nearly 350 titles that cover a broad stylistic range, and include some of the most respected musicians in the world of avant-garde and creative music. Cuneiform artists include numerous young, rising-star rock (Afuche, Upsilon Acrux, Beat Circus) and jazz ensembles (Led Bib, Jason Adaseiwicz's Rolldown, John Hollenbeck's The Claudia Quintet,) as well as such avant-garde icons as US jazz artist Wadada Leo Smith, UK jazz-rock group Soft Machine, electronic music pioneer and minimalist composer David Borden/ Mother Mallard (USA), guitarist and electronics innovator Richard Pinhas/ Heldon (France), and Univers Zero (Belgium), inventors of Chamber Rock. The common denominator of this uncommon, artist-friendly label is the singularity of its artists: innovative composers and improvisors whose visions often defy and reshape genre boundaries, transforming the musical landscape for generations to come.
Cuneiform currently releases, internationally promotes and distributes 15 albums/year of cutting-edge jazz, rock, electronic and various genre-defying musics. While specializing in new recordings, it also releases historically and musically significant archival recordings that were never-before released, by such artists as John Surman and the New York Art Quartet. Cuneiform’s releases are critically acclaimed internationally and often appear in Best-of-Year lists. Its jazz releases have received widespread media attention, resulting in Cuneiform being named one of 2011’s top jazz labels in DownBeat’s International Critics’ Poll.
The adventurous, genre-defying musics released, distributed and promoted by Cuneiform are some of the most forward-looking and genuinely progressive jazz, rock, and classical works on the 21st century’s musical scene. The label’s output led John Zorn to invite Cuneiform’s head, Steve Feigenbaum, to curate The Stone in NYC for two weeks in November, 2011. Feigenbaum brings 11 of the bands performing at The Stone down to Baltimore, for Cuneifest, Cuneiform’s first showcase within its home state.
"Music that satisfies even the most discriminating underground tastes. From avant-rock to improv jazz, Cuneiform has eternalized music MTV wouldn't touch with a ten-foot transmitter."