First, he announced that he has formed an independent label, RJ’s Electrical Connections, which will be distributed by the Orchard. (!K7 will handle distribution outside the States.) To commemorate the new venture, he’s releasing a box set that will include his first three albums (including his 2002 classic Deadringer) and several limited-edition EPs (including the Deadringer-era mixtape Your Face Or Your Kneecaps) as well as a new EP, The Tin Foil Hat. The collection, 2002-2010, is set for release on October 20.
Meanwhile, RJ has finished a new album, The Colossus. Once scheduled for this year, it will now drop in 2010. “I know I said before it would be out in 2009-you did know I meant FISCAL year, not CALENDAR YEAR, right?,” he writes. “You wouldn’t want me to rush this out all willy-nilly, would you? good, I didn’t think so.”
RJ’s Electrical Connections is a good move for an artist that has chafed under industry conventions. After leaving Definitive Jux in 2006, he signed with XL Recordings and released 2007’s The Third Hand. It earned tepid reviews. But while critics didn’t like the album — mostly finding fault with RJ’s unpolished vocals — he continued to tour successfully, filling theaters and playing several festivals. Much like Sound Tribe Sector 9, a mega-successful improvisational band that operates independently, RJ may be better off cultivating the sizable audience that appreciates his artistic evolution instead of chasing after trendy rap and indie-rock fans.
More from RJ:
I have been SERIOUSLY busy in the last 2 years; and very little of it has to do with twittering. At the risk of sounding all corny, I feel the need to say something that’s important to me: I’ve realized recently that I do music, make records, LISTEN to records, tour, and generally hole myself up in the studio because I love it, not cause its my job. Its become as natural as breathing, and keeps me sane-most of the time. Im much more concerned with making a timeless record, than with how to sell a record nowadays. Also, if you don’t see me posting left and right on whatever the most current social networking site is, its not cause I don’t like being social, its cause I feel like our time on earth is very very short, and that the most I have to offer this planet in my little window of time here is through the vessel of music. I would rather leave behind something you can hopefully use a little more than an update on my belly button lint. Hopefully, a catalog that speaks more volumes than all the blogs I could possibly write in a hundred years.