“From 1993, US recording label Table of the Elements staked its claim on a massive enterprise. It intended nothing less than to rewrite the history of American music in the second half of the 20th century. The label’s 100-plus releases are a vital contemporary chronicle, a survey of meaningful eruptions across a broad horizon of improvised, experimental, minimal and outsider sounds.
“The label’s carefully cultivated archive now contains over 15,000 CDs and LPs, an impossible quantity to logistically or financially maintain. Rather than “recycle” (i.e., destroy) the majority of these artifacts of modern sound and design, Table of the Elements is offering them to the public…
…for the cost of shipping, handling and promotion.”
“Everything becomes fire and from fire everything is born, as in the eternal exchange of money and merchandise.”
"We put chemicals in one end so our customers can get memories out the other."
― unidentified former Kodak employee
”The interesting album design, the group name and the quotes from Heraclitus and Rousseau made me assume that these guys would at least be interesting. I was wrong. For many long stretches of the cd you can't even hear anything, then there is some static, then some acoustic guitar and mumbling, then nothing, then a little more static, then a cover of ‘Moon River’ comes blasting on. That's it. Maybe I should have bought the other cd where everyone is holding their Mao books.
"I just don't get it. It makes me nauseous, in a way I haven't felt from listening to a cd since I bought the first Storm & Stress album because it had neat album art as well. (I knew this was "experimental" coming into it, I just don't follow the experiment.)”
—Amazon Customer Review
1.0 out of 5 stars
a total rip off
March 30, 2002
“Everyday commodity has to be constructed as both miniature museum and theater. No longer a mere object, it now becomes a site in which one can endlessly indulge a sense of wonder, love and, yes, obsession. It’s not often that someone can cast an influence on a broader design aesthetic — think Blue Note in the 1960s, with its hip Reid Miles album covers — but as this sizable body of work took shape, that’s exactly what happened."
“So opulent, it verges on the pornographic.”—LA Weekly
“...And don’t look back — something might be gaining on you.”
Table of the Elements “Yttrium” Festival, November 7, 1996
—Tony Conrad with David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke
“Get Your Ass to Mars.” —graffiti, Issue Project Room, 2017
"Conrad was 100 percent badass. Without Tyler Hubby’s documentary and Table of the Elements ... one of the great stories of American music and art might have gone underappreciated.”
"Time, time, time. Life should be abundant enough for each person to feel what it is to have their greatest pleasure in wasting time.”
"Please send a catalog! Thanks, Conlon."
—Conlon Nancarrow, Mexico City, 1993
(We lost his return address.)