Amorphous Records is an independent record label founded in 2000 by Pat Finn and Karl Koch. Its roster primarily includes the two's personal musical projects, or the projects of their friends and bandmates; it has released music by Organic Mechanic, Karlophone, Skuraiipeare, Southern Fried Swing, and Sonnyboy. According to label lore, its executive director is a mysterious fellow by the name of Blantiss Fliangshemp.
During 1999, while Weezer was on hiatus following the release of Pinkerton, the members of the band dispersed across the country to live at home and work on individual musical projects. Pat Wilson returned to his home in Portland, Oregon to develop his solo band the Special Goodness, which he had recorded a single self-titled album for in 1996. Karl Koch followed in tow to assist Wilson and see childhood friend Pat Finn, who facilitated Weezer's existence in Los Angeles in the early 90s before moving to Portland after the band was signed.
Finn, Koch, and Wilson experimented with music collaboratively during this time. Finn accompanied Wilson on bass at the first Special Goodness concert in July and Wilson drummed on demos with Finn for an early iteration of his own band, Organic Mechanic. The trio additionally had their own backlogs of unreleased work; Koch and Finn had developed demos under numerous monikers (including Skraper and Melvin Jones Total Soul Attack Orchestra), Koch had worked on his own solo music as Karlophone since at least 1996, and the three had recorded together off-and-on since 1992 for their project Southern Fried Swing.
The group sought to release their work through a DIY label. Finn conceived of the name Amorphous Records around 2000, inspired by the diverse and "amorphous" musical output which would fall under the label. Koch developed a website in spring 2001, originally hosted under his personal EarthLink web space. This early iteration of the website featured information on the label's first three planned releases: Organic Mechanic, the self-titled debut album from Finn's band (Wilson's drumming had since been replaced by Talbott Guthrie), Press Any Key to Begin, Koch's debut as Karlophone, and Free Flight Thru the Universe of Sound, an album consisting of collated Southern Fried Swing recordings. By September 2002, the Organic Mechanic and Karlophone albums were both available for purchase on CD through the website. The following month, the website was moved to be hosted under Karlophone.com.
By mid-2003, the keyboard logo used on the website was replaced with a new design, and a listing for a yet-to-be-released Skraper album titled Snow Lust appeared below the existing albums. In fall, Free Flight Thru the Universe of Sound was made available for purchase in a run of 111 homemade CD-Rs, as well as the album Dad Eye by Sonnyboy (the band of Organic Mechanic saxophonist Joe Cunningham) in a run of 100. The latter album was removed from the website without warning in early 2004. Koch would later recall that this may have resulted from conflict between Finn and Cunningham following the breakup of Organic Mechanic.
A listing for the Karlophone 7"-vinyl single "Desire" was added to the website in late summer 2004, and listings for his second album I Must Find This Karlophone... on CD and 12"-vinyl followed suit with its release in early 2007. The website received minor updates on its contact page up until 2009, after which activity ceased entirely.
Koch has continued work on a third Karlophone album and in 2022 hinted at a vinyl re-release of Free Flight Thru the Universe of Sound as well as an archival release of Skrapr music. In 2023, Koch stated that he expects that a new release by the label is inevitable and will include more involved promotion. However, no material progress on any new Amorphous Records release since 2007 has been revealed. Additionally, Finn has made no indication of a desire to return to the label.
|I wish I could remember exactly what the origins were. I mean, I remember going out to Portland, where Pat Finn lived, in '98, and then '99 again — and this is of course, during the dark times with Weezer, so I had a lot of free time. [. . .] That's where we were recording a lot of, just, wacky demos together. Like [Finn] was in full-on — he gets into these modes where he just cranks out tons and tons of music. So I just jumped in there and I had a little sampler and we were making tons of fun stuff, and I was trying to figure out what I was gonna make, as far as making my own record. [. . .] At some point out there when I was hanging with him, we said 'We should just release [his album] ourselves, somehow.' And it was funny, because you can make a label just by saying you have a label, and that's what it comes down to. [. . .] We just said, 'Okay, this is gonna be called Amorphous Records.' And I think Pat Finn came up with that name because the idea was like, it's a collective of amorphous — like, anything could be on this label, as long as it's not shitty. [. . .] It was like the very beginnings of, you don't have to get signed [. . .] like, 'Yeah you can do whatever you want! Nobody's ever gonna know, but you can do whatever you want!' Like, getting the word out was almost impossible. There was no social media to speak of, you just have your website. It's like, 'Well who's gonna go to this website? Why would they go there?' I don't know! It's all we got. [. . .] We had some missteps where some things didn't come out, and he had some sort of dispute with one of his guys in Organic Mechanic, so the Sonnyboy thing never came out. It's just kinda been floating ever since. There'll be another release, but's gonna be promoted a lot better, because we have a lot more ways to do it now.
|This is a joke page. List of joke pages.
The Amorphous Records label is helmed by a single dictatorial administrator holding the title of Executive Director. This man — or being — works under the name of Blantiss Fliangshemp, although his true identity is not yet uncovered. His behavior is erratic and his words are nigh incomprehensible. His eccentricity is a founding pillar of the Amorphous Records ethos and the driving force behind the label's achievements in music recording and preservation.
The menace, Fliangshemp, is held responsible for discovering and herding together the numerous acts whom compose the label. He is an anthropologist who has studied the history of the great lost Kingdom of Achtensfjord, as well as an archivist who has done much work to preserve the illustrious recordings of the Achtensfjordur duo Skraper. His cultural reach is broad; he has also traveled to the not-quite-lost island of Brunei to seize the music and soul of Mlefuffia Durla'a, lead singer for the hit band Southern Fried Swing. Some Flianshempian subjects have voiced their opposition to his mighty Blantissuperaboundings, however it appears resistance to him is — in essence — futile.
He who is in question has made public his views on the music industry and its corporate leanings. In an open letter to Wired Magazine penned '03, Fliangshemp disparaged the publication's anti-consumer and anti-art perspective on the contemporary music industry. He promoted the rise of the wonderous MPEG Audio Layer III file format as "the new democratized radio". He made his opinions on Britney Spears quite clear.
In 2004, Fliangshemp lost it completely. Now lost at sea on the Golden Hinde, he makes his exit from the record industry which has been tainted — a "free land" turned into a "fee land" — although he proclaims that his goals live on; the entropy of the cyberweb is eternal. He leaves Karl Koch in charge of the label while he's gone.
As of 2009, his whereabouts are unknown. His parable should be a lesson to all.
|Press Any Key to Begin
|Free Flight Thru the Universe of Sound
|Southern Fried Swing
|Snow Lust (unreleased)
|"Desire" (7"-vinyl single)
|I Must Find This Karlophone...