From ecstatic re-imaginings of the world’s musical traditions to the farthest reaches of avant experimentalism, Chant Records is dedicated to releasing adventurous and uncompromising music across the spectrum.

The music business isn’t what it used to be, especially for musicians. Never before has it been so easy to record and release music yet so difficult to get that music into the ears of potential fans. And if you happen to make music that’s described as ‘strange,’ ‘unusual’ or ‘weird,’ the wilderness of the music business can seem that much more dense and inhospitable for anyone attempting to navigate it and find kindred spirits along the way.

Enter Chant Records, a self-proclaimed ‘sonic temple for adventurous music.’ The label, founded by Jon Madof and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, aggregates and amplifies the work of an international community of artists pushing the boundaries of music across many genres. Madof is a guitarist, composer and bandleader described by NPR’s Liane Hansen as ‘Dick Dale doing the music at your bar mitzvah.’ Blumenkranz is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who has worked extensively with Yo-Yo Ma, John Zorn, Yemen Blues, Secret Chiefs 3, Cyro Baptista and many others.

Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (l) and Jon Madof (r). Photo by Saul Sudin

Chant Records launched in November 2017 with STRENGTH IN NUMBERS, an immense collection of 101 songs available for free download. The compilation came about as the result of a large-scale effort by the musicians’ community to help get the label off the ground. The final product is an unprecedented collection of music from around the globe, most of it previously unreleased. Artists on STRENGTH IN NUMBERS include Bill Laswell, Erik Friedlander, Billy Martin, Greg Cohen, Jamie Saft, Makigami Koichi, Baye Kouyatè, Ned Rothenberg, Ravid Kahalani (Yemen Blues), Basya Schechter (Pharaoh’s Daughter), Hamid Drake, Frank London, Avishai Cohen and Yuka Yamamoto.

The 101-song STRENGTH IN NUMBERS compilation

Chant Records releases new albums on a monthly basis. Previous releases include world music luminaries Yemen Blues, experimental electronica from eXpanseplane, traditional Japanese music meets psych rock and free improvisation from The Fugu Plan, Afrobeat/Jewish/improv from Zion80, Middle Eastern-infused Americana from Sandcatchers and many more. See the full list of releases here.

So if you find yourself wandering through the dense wilderness of the 21st century music business, you may hear a sound in the distance. It could be a cacophonous explosion of percussion, a beautiful soaring vocal melody, or both at once. That would be Chant Records, and their tribe of sonic explorers – dedicated to the future of a worldwide community of musicians, without compromise.