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Asleep By Dawn | issue 1 | review | zine | Lollipop

Asleep By Dawn

Summer 2003, issue #1 FREE
by Scott Hefflon

The fine folks at Dancing Ferret Discs had an idea: Transition their mail order catalog called IsoTank into a magazine and include a free CD with each copy. After much discussion and thought (meaning they put it off while doing the many other things one can do in life besides run a zine), they released issue #0 of Asleep By Dawn. They were swamped with responses and orders and quickly sold out. I never even saw a copy, and I advertised in it cuz I ain't no dummy. I know a good idea when I hear one, and they had one.

Issue #1 (the second issue), has a glossy cover with Type O Negative's ever-cheerful mugs on it, and the 88 page interior is black & white newsprint. Exactly as claimed, it's mostly a mail order list divided into sections: Ambient & Electronica, Industrial & Future Pop, Goth, Metal & World Fusion, Experimental & Noise, '80s, Synthpop, Electroclash & Alt-Rock, Books, DVDs, Magazines & Videos. And then there's the order form and policies and the understandable blurb about "look, categorizing music into genres is subjective, so you may not agree, and we recommend you poke around the whole catalog." The prices are pretty damn steep, and there are no "buy two CDs get a third at half price" incentives or anything, but shit, at least you can FIND all these items in one place. For whatever that's worth. Unless you have connections or a great CD store nearby with a good import section, chances are you can't find a lot of this stuff. Sure, you can waste weeks on eBay trying to bid on a used copy of something semi-obscure, but really, unless you don't have anything better to do than surf the Web night after night to save $3, it's probably worth it just to cough up the extra few bucks and then go hang out with your friends with the time you saved, ya know?

The magazine part of ABD is pretty straight-forward, the bands listed on the cover are the bands featured: Wolfsheim, Assemblage 23, Mortiis, Pigface/Invisible Records/Underground Inc mogul Martin Atkins, ThouShaltNot, The Crest, and one of Emily Strange's creators, Buzz Parker. The features are usually a page long, the layout being either "arty" or "functional," and while there are no reviews, some of the mail order descriptions – especially in the book and DVD section – get pretty extensive. Then again, it'd be nice to know whether they wrote those descriptions or if the vendor supplied it, because how often have we seen ad blurbs that make shitty CDs sound like they'll align the stars and bring about world peace? There's minimal "scene reporting" or fashion spreads, but you can get that from Gothic Beauty, and they're glossy and more colorful anyway.

The free CD has 15 tracks ranging from underground label faves to unsigned/independent (I think, I have to admit I don't dig obsessively into the bedroom labels in this genre, mostly trusting Dancing Ferret, Cleopatra, Metropolis, Invisible, and Century Media/Nuclear Blast to do that for me). Unlike many label/zine combos, Dancing Ferret doesn't confuse a label sampler with a comp, DF contributing only two bands (and one feature) from their roster. Many of the rest of the bands are both featured and on the comp, but it's a small world, ya know?

Asleep By Dawn proposes to come out twice a year, and you can get a copy by simply emailing or writing them. I guess the mailing costs are covered by advertising, low-budget printing, and mail order sales, and it's not like the editorial or layout is all that tricky... Add ABD to the short list of electro/Goth/industrial sources worth consulting to stay informed, aware, and the proud owner of a diverse CD collection to suit all your dark moods.

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