What exactly was Masstransfer?

Around the mid-90s, the major print magazines were Magnet, Alternative Press and CMJ, and most of their pages contained what was being hyped at the time, leaving little space for genuinely independent players—with little marketing budget—to be covered. Those magazines are heavily influenced by advertisers and publicists, so there needed to be an outlet for the more space-rock and hybrid electronic music we were discovering.

The concept for the zine emerged in late 1996. I was meeting lots of bands, usually through playing shows or even receiving demo tapes sent to the Mind Expansion record label. Talking directly to musicians, I realized there weren’t many press avenues for these bands to get exposure.

I wanted to create an indie music magazine to serve as a base for a wider community of artists and fans that were already mixing and mingling on the tour trails and record stores around the US and other countries. And it didn’t take very long to take off.

Masstransfer was produced between 1997 and 2003 in a comic-book style format. Each issue included a compilation (or “Installation”) CD that featured some of the bands that were in the issue along with a few other bands, likely an unreleased or upcoming album track.

The ‘zine covered mostly space rock, post-rock, and dream-pop genres, along with ambient and electronic music. It also included articles that were not music-related, such as stereo-repair tips and home-studio setups. Also included at the end of some issues was an ongoing story about a group of young people who found their way into a mental asylum.

It was my intention to create an experience where the reader could pick-up the print zine, put the CD in their player, and read the articles while listening to the tracks on the compilation. At a time just before the emergence of web-based multimedia, this setup seemed to be a rather enticing option.

Read more in the book Masstransfer: A Zinethology, out now.