10 years of Marionette with Ali Safi

Objects & Sounds | Mood List | Marionette
To celebrate an inspiring decade of releasing music, we asked Marionette’s founder Ali Safi to share with us a retrospective in sound.

10 years of Marionette with Ali Safi

2024 marks 10 years of Marionette, a Toronto-based label which has carved out a special place on our shelves and expanded our listening experiences with the array of exploratory sounds it has brought to the world. A common motif across the releases is experimental world-building—artists twisting conceptions of instrumentation and presenting novel experiences that invite in curiosity and deep listening. The label is a playground for imagination, a space for non-linear, spirited excursions to soar.

 

To celebrate an inspiring decade, we asked Marionette’s founder Ali Safi to share with us a retrospective in sound. He notes, “While it’s impossible for me to narrow down 26 releases spanning a decade into a list, I look back at some specific tracks that forged pathways to some profound memories and feelings. It goes without saying that this does not begin to scratch the surface in terms of the offerings on the label but can be thought of as select viewpoints to admire.”

Objects & Sounds | Mood List | Marionette
Kilchhofer - Zinnen

All of Kilchhofer’s works are very much core to the label, and I consider them as pillars to a growing catalogue. “Zinnen” is a timeless masterpiece that will tug at your heartstrings. I’ll never forget the time I was listening to it while sitting on a bench right at where the mountains and waterfalls cascade into white rapids and eddies. It was raining, and I felt every zap of lightning through my spine. Raindrops and tears merged into one stream. Can’t go without mentioning The Book Room, as well—probably the most iconic album on the label.

MinaeMinae - Flügelhüllen

MinaeMinae’s Gestrüpp reached far and wide and maybe even set somewhat of a record for the label, a Marionette platinum if you will! It was the soundtrack to numerous spring and summertime road trips. This track is Bastian’s more playful and groovy side, which is a high contrast to some of his darker or more ambient tunes.

Twinkle3 - Soma 2815

The long-awaited Twinkle3 album – the last in their cosmos-themed trilogy with that next-level shakuhachi playing by Clive Bell. Virtuoso circular breathing in perfect harmony with modular and DIY electronics.

Francesco Cavaliere & Tomoko Sauvage - Twin Emerald Dolphins

Recordings of a rare and special collaboration inspired by a shared fascination of all things green. While being highly conceptual, the result is dreamy and melodic—right at the unique intersection of avant-garde and meditative music.

Max Loderbauer - Grosser Bär

I listened to this for the very first time at Maxi’s studio in 2017, and it remained in the vault for many years before it finally saw the light of day as the 20th release. Kosmiche of the highest order that’s reminiscent of early Roedelius and Cluster/Harmonia.

Pretty Sneaky - ending theme

Slo-mo, beat-driven music with bass that slaps and hints of nostalgia for the days that were. Pretty Sneaky takes me back to those tripped-out early hours in the morning after an inspiring night out. File under: brain dance.

Khôra - Echemythia

Khôra’s Gestures of Perception is yet another milestone. One of those wondrous albums that’s a sacred temple packed with all sorts of golden nuggets that will open up other planes of consciousness. 

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