Recommended Records

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Recommended Records
ReR logo2005.png
FoundedMarch 1978
Founder Chris Cutler
Distributor(s)RēR Megacorp (UK)
Locus Solus (Japan)
Genre Rock in Opposition, avant-rock, experimental music
Country of originEngland
Location Thornton Heath, London
Official website

Recommended Records (RēR) is a British independent record label and distribution network founded by Chris Cutler with Nick Hobbs in March 1978. RēR features largely "Rock in Opposition" and related music, but it also distributes selected music released on other independent labels.


In 1982 Cutler established November Books, the publishing wing of Recommended Records, and between 1985 and 1997, Recommended Records and November Books published RēR Quarterly , a "quarterly" sound-magazine edited by Cutler. [1]

In 1989 Recommended Records became known as RēR Megacorp with a turnover of £180,000 in 1994. [2]


When English avant-rock group Henry Cow toured Europe between 1975 and 1977 they encountered many bands in a similar situation to their own: they were forced to operate outside the music industry that refused to recognise their music. In 1978 these groups got together and formed Rock in Opposition (RIO). [2] To provide a record label and distribution network for these artists, Chris Cutler of Henry Cow and Nick Hobbs, Henry Cow's manager at the time, established Recommended Records (RēR) as a model for a non-profit music company. [1] [3] When RIO folded as an organisation in late 1979, RēR continued RIO's work by representing and promoting marginalised musicians and groups. RēR became a "virtual RIO", [4] and "part of the continuing legacy of RIO". [3]

ReR founder, Chris Cutler, November 2007. ChrisCutler November2007.jpg
RēR founder, Chris Cutler, November 2007.

Recommended Records grew from "Ré", a private record label in 1978 to "RēR Megacorp" in 1989, an internationally recognised independent record company with distributors worldwide. [2] They have consistently introduced new and interesting artists from around the world, many of whom might never have been able to release records. They have always put the artist first and commercial viability second. [3]

Evolution of the name

When Henry Cow split up in 1978, Chris Cutler created a record label called for his own projects with a distribution arm called Recommended Distribution, so called because he personally "recommended" the titles they distributed. The intention was to import and distribute new, interesting and experimental music from all over the world to the United Kingdom. [2]

In 1979, Cutler established the Recommended label for releases other than his own. In 1987, he combined the Ré and Recommended labels to form RēR, and at the same time Recommended Distribution became a worker's cooperative enabling Cutler to concentrate on running the RéR label and writing RēR's mail order catalogue. This arrangement worked for a few years, but in 1989, due to enormous unpaid debts from Recommended Distribution, Cutler was forced to restart his own distribution system again, and RēR became RēR/Recommended. Recommended Distribution went on to become These Records, an affiliated label. RēR/Recommended became known as RēR Megacorp with a website and online shopping facilities. [3] [5]

RēR logos

Just as Recommended Records's name evolved over the years, so did its logo. Here are examples from 1979 and 1998:

Recommended Records logo, 1979. ReR logo1979.jpg
Recommended Records logo, 1979.
ReR Recommended logo, 1998. ReR logo1998.jpg
RéR Recommended logo, 1998.


Recommended Records has the following imprints:

Affiliated labels

A distribution network of affiliated labels exists throughout the world to promote experimental, unusual and innovative music. While many of these labels are distinct operations, they share a common musical ethic. Some of these affiliated labels are:


These are some of the artists that have had music released or re-released on the Recommended Records label.

RēR compilations

See also

Related Research Articles

Rock in Opposition Music organisation based in the United Kingdom

Rock in Opposition or RIO was a movement representing a collective of progressive bands in the late 1970s united in their opposition to the music industry that refused to recognise their music. It was initiated by English avant-rock group Henry Cow in March 1978 when they invited four mainland European groups to come to London and perform in a festival called "Rock in Opposition".

Art Bears English avant-rock group

Art Bears were an English avant-rock group formed during the disassembly of Henry Cow in 1978 by three of its members, Chris Cutler, Fred Frith and Dagmar Krause. The group released three studio albums between 1978 and 1981, and toured Europe in 1979.

Henry Cow English avant-rock group

Henry Cow were an English experimental rock group, founded at Cambridge University in 1968 by multi-instrumentalists Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson. Henry Cow's personnel fluctuated over their decade together, but drummer Chris Cutler, bassist John Greaves, and bassoonist/oboist Lindsay Cooper were important long-term members alongside Frith and Hodgkinson.

Chris Cutler English percussionist, composer, lyricist and music theorist

Chris Cutler is an English percussionist, composer, lyricist and music theorist. Best known for his work with English avant-rock group Henry Cow, Cutler was also a member and drummer of other bands, including Art Bears, News from Babel, Pere Ubu and (briefly) Gong/Mothergong. He has collaborated with many musicians and groups, including Fred Frith, Lindsay Cooper, Zeena Parkins, Peter Blegvad, Telectu and The Residents, and has appeared on over 100 recordings. Cutler's career spans over four decades and he still performs actively throughout the world.

<i>Unrest</i> (Henry Cow album) 1974 studio album by Henry Cow

Unrest is an album by British avant-rock group Henry Cow, recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios in February and March 1974. It was their second album and was released in May 1974. It was their first album including oboe and bassoon player Lindsay Cooper, who replaced saxophonist Geoff Leigh.

<i>Western Culture</i> (album) 1979 studio album by Henry Cow

Western Culture is a studio album by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, recorded at Sunrise Studios in Kirchberg, Switzerland in January and July–August 1978. It was their last album and was released on Henry Cow's own private label, Broadcast, in 1979. Later editions appeared on Interzone in the US and Celluloid in France. Only the UK Broadcast pressing used the custom label artwork design.

Lindsay Cooper English musician, composer and activist

Lindsay Cooper was an English bassoon and oboe player, composer and political activist. Best known for her work with the band Henry Cow, she was also a member of Comus, National Health, News from Babel and David Thomas and the Pedestrians. She collaborated with a number of musicians, including Chris Cutler and Sally Potter, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group. She wrote scores for film and TV and a song cycle Oh Moscow which was performed live around the world in 1987. She also recorded a number of solo albums, including Rags (1980), The Gold Diggers (1983), and Music For Other Occasions (1986).

Bob Drake is an American multi-instrumentalist musician and recording engineer. He was a founding member of the avant-rock band Thinking Plague in the early 1980s, and a member of the 5uu's, Hail and The Science Group. He formed his own band, Bob Drake's Cabinet of Curiosities in 2007. Drake's engineering credits include mainstream artists like Ice Cube, Tina Turner and Engelbert Humperdinck.

Fred Records British independent record label

Fred Records is a British independent record label created in 2002 by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith to re-release his own back catalogue of recordings and previously unreleased material. It is an independent company working in co-operation with Chris Cutler and Recommended Records, utilising Recommended Records' distribution network.

Dave Kerman American musician, composer and record company executive

David Kerman, better known as Dave Kerman, is a United States experimental rock drummer and composer, best known as the founder and member of the Los Angeles avant-rock group 5uu's. He is also a member of the Belgian progressive rock band Present and the Israeli avant-rock band Ahvak. Kerman has been a member of the United States bands U Totem and Thinking Plague, and the Dutch band Blast. He has collaborated with several musicians, including Bob Drake, Chris Cutler and Fred Frith.

<i>RēR Quarterly</i>

The RēR Quarterly was an English "quarterly" sound-magazine comprising an LP record and a magazine. It was published at irregular intervals between 1985 and 1997 by Recommended Records and November Books, and edited by English percussionist, lyricist and music theorist, Chris Cutler. It was sold internationally by Recommended Records via mail order and in specialist record shops.

Stormy Six Italian band

Stormy Six were an Italian progressive and folk rock band founded in Milan in 1966. They performed and recorded until 1983, mostly as a sextet but occasionally as a quartet, a quintet and a septet. Although their line-up changed considerably over the years, founding member Franco Fabbri remained with the group for its entire duration. In May 1993 they performed at a re-union concert in Milan, which was recorded and released on a CD, Un Concerto (1995).

<i>Un Peu de lÂme des Bandits</i> 1980 studio album by Aksak Maboul

Un Peu de l'Âme des Bandits is the second album by Belgian avant-rock band Aksak Maboul. It was recorded at Sunrise Studio in Kirchberg, Switzerland in February and August 1979, and released on LP in January 1980 on founding member Marc Hollander's Belgian independent record label, Crammed Discs. At the time the band had changed the spelling of their name to "Aqsak Maboul", and this is reflected on the album's record sleeve. When the album was re-issued on CD in 1995 the spelling of their name reverted to "Aksak Maboul".

<i>Stockholm & Göteborg</i> 2008 live album by Henry Cow

Volume 6: Stockholm & Göteborg is a live album by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, and is disc 6 of the 10-disc 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set. It was released in September 2008 by RēR Megacorp as a free-standing album in advance of the box set release in January 2009.

<i>The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set</i> 2009 box set by Henry Cow

The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set is a nine-CD plus one-DVD limited edition box set by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, and was released by RēR Megacorp in January 2009. It consists of almost 10 hours of previously unreleased recordings made between 1972 and 1978 from concerts, radio broadcasts, one-off projects, events and the studio. Included are new compositions, over four hours of free improvisation, and live performances of some of Henry Cow's original LP repertoire.

The Muffins were an American Maryland-based progressive rock/avant-jazz group. They were formed in Washington, DC in the early 1970s and recorded four albums before disbanding in 1981. In 1998 the group reformed and recorded a further five albums and a DVD. The Muffins played at Symphony Space on Broadway in NYC with Marion Brown in 1979, and also performed at a number of festivals, starting with the ZU Manifestival in New York City in 1978, The Villa Celimontana festival in Rome, Italy in 2000, two appearances at Progday in 2001 and 2002, NEARfest in 2005, and the "Rock in Opposition" festival in France in 2009. In 2010, The Muffins headlined at Progday, making a third appearance at this long running festival.

Les 4 Guitaristes de lApocalypso-Bar Canadian electric guitar quartet

Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar, also known as Les Quatre Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar was an electric guitar quartet founded by André Duchesne in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1986. It was one of the first electric guitar quartets and was billed as a band from post-apocalypse Canada "inspired by the ghost of Jimi Hendrix".

<i>Romantic Warriors II: A Progressive Music Saga About Rock in Opposition</i> 2012 documentary film

Romantic Warriors II: A Progressive Music Saga About Rock in Opposition is a 2012 feature-length documentary film about the Rock in Opposition movement of the late 1970s, the music genre it spawned, and the influence it has on experimental groups across the world. The film was written and directed by Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder, and was released in the United States by Zeitgeist Media. It premiered in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2012. The film was generally well received by critics, with a reviewer at AllMusic saying that it "covers all the points an aficionado could possibly want".

<i>The Stone: Issue Two</i> Album by Fred Frith and Chris Cutler

The Stone: Issue Two is a 2007 live album of improvised experimental music by Fred Frith and Chris Cutler. It was recorded at The Stone in New York City on 15 December 2006 and was one of four CDs released between 2006 and 2010 by Tzadik Records to raise funds for The Stone. It was Frith and Cutler's fourth collaborative album.

<i>The Henry Cow Box Redux: The Complete Henry Cow</i> 2019 box set by Henry Cow

The Henry Cow Box Redux: The Complete Henry Cow is a seventeen-CD plus one-DVD box set by English avant-rock group Henry Cow; it was released by RēR Megacorp in December 2019. The box set comprises the previously released 2006 Henry Cow Box and the 2009 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set, totalling over sixteen hours. A bonus CD: Ex Box – Collected Fragments 1971–1978 was given to advance subscribers of the 2019 Box Redux, and contains newly recovered and previously unreleased recordings, plus the contents of the 2006 box set bonus CD-single: "Unreleased Orckestra Extract". The 2019 Box Redux plus the Ex Box bonus CD contains all the officially released studio and live recordings of Henry Cow.


  1. 1 2 Cutler, Chris. "Biography" . Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Wright, Patrick (11 November 1995). "Resist Me, Make Me Strong: On Chris Cutler" (PDF). The Guardian . Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Cutler, Chris (1985). "Necessity and Choice in Musical Forms, Part III, Rock in Opposition". File Under Popular: Theoretical and Critical Writings on Music . London: November Books. p.  157. ISBN   0-946423-01-6.
  4. "20 years of Rock In Opposition: Interview with Chris Cutler (1998)" . Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  5. Gross, Jason (March 1997). "Chris Cutler". Perfect Sound Forever . Retrieved 14 October 2011.