Beyond category, beyond preconceptions, beyond boundaries: Since first materializing onto the scene nearly two decades ago, Abstract Logix has consistently specialized in revolutionary music by visionary artists — sounds that defy genre in their quest for new expressive dimensions. That they have not just survived but thrived amidst the shifting sands of the music industry landscape is testament to Abstract Logix’s inventiveness, agility, and tireless support of musicians and projects that would challenge the imagination of any other outfit.
The longevity of Abstract Logix may be tied to the fact that the firm came into being in 2002 — the dawn of the most tumultuous, transformative time in the history of the music business. As insurgent technologies were upending old models, Abstract Logix appeared first as a blog, a relatively novel medium at the moment, edited by music enthusiast and computer programmer Souvik Dutta. From the outset, Abstract Logix specialized in an emerging musical strain that combined the new horizons revealed by the post-psychedelic jamband movement with the rigor, precision, and complexity introduced by the pioneers of jazz fusion. Their initial offering was not a physical title, but an online post of a house concert hosted by Dutta, featuring a mind-altering performance by the trio of guitarist Shawn Lane, bassist Jonas Hellborg, and drummer Jeff Sipe.
The first Abstract Logix album release did not appear until 2005, as Dutta’s blog was expanding into a thoughtfully curated online retail business catering to adventurous, open-minded listeners whose musical passions were awakened by artists like the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Frank Zappa, and the Grateful Dead. Both musically and technologically, Abstract Logix was ahead of the curve. Before long, any available space in Dutta’s North Carolina home was crammed with inventory and shipping supplies, and his wife Shweta stepped in to oversee the growing business’s finances.
Lincoln Memorial, which gathered the all-star ensemble of Jimmy Herring, Greg Osby, Ricky Keller, and Jeff Sipe under the banner of Project Z, marked Abstract Logix’s debut as a label. Some sixty-plus projects followed, the only continuous thread being a commitment to cutting-edge musicianship and a willingness to allow artists to document their creative pursuit without interference, impediment, or compromise. The revolutionary guitarist and bandleader John McLaughlin was an early supporter, granting Abstract Logix the rights to distribute his instructional DVD set This Is the Way I Do It and hiring them to handle tour merchandising, before cementing their relationship via the 2008 Floating Point album, the label’s eleventh release.
2008 also saw the peak of Abstract Logix’s run as an online retailer, with direct to consumer monthly sales (of both their own projects and distributed projects) averaging $50,000 before the decline of physical media set in. Eventually Abstract Logix phased out distributing other labels’ titles and reinvested in the unreproducible thrill of the concert experience — while continuing to release albums by a mix of established and new voices. Booking, tour management, and merchandising responsibilities took Dutta around the world, reaching an apex with the 2010 New Universe Festival, a two-day event in Raleigh, North Carolina featuring an incredible cast of musical luminaries from around the world eventually captured as separate double CD and DVD releases. As a label, the operation continued to further the careers of established artists like McLaughlin, Gary Husband, Jimmy Herring, and Wayne Krantz and gifted newcomers — including Alex Machacek and Oz Noy. They were voted “Best Record Label” in the 2019 Jazz Time readers’ poll, receiving more votes than the Blue Note, Concord, and Rope-a-Dope labels.
Today, Abstract Logix is a nimble and resourceful outfit, nurturing a thriving community of both musicians and listeners that interconnect and reinforce one another in surprising and inspiring ways. In the performance arena, Abstract Logix conceived and executed such notable tours as John McLaughlin’s farewell tour, which paired him with his acolyte Jimmy Herring to explore the legacy of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the highly anticipated reunion of the original lineup of Bruce Hampton’s vastly influential Aquarium Rescue Unit. On record, Abstract Logix generates a compelling mix of live documents (including the towering Live in San Francisco by McLaughlin and Herring), immaculately conceived and executed contemporary studio recordings, and previously unheard discoveries such as Wayne Krantz’s captivating Music Room 1985.
Now, with the world slowly emerging from the grim shadow of COVID-19, Abstract Logix is beginning to plot its return to live event production, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to continue to connect listeners to musicians and musicians to one another.
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