On Christmas Eve last year, my oncologist told me I likely had only months to live. In January, I asked for his approval to try yet another chemotherapy. Despite having previously been skeptical about the effectiveness of further therapies, he immediately granted my request, and I was able to start taking the pills in February. Meanwhile, I really did feel like I was about to die―very weak, always sick, and unable to stand on my feet for much longer than a couple of seconds.
This is why, after some deliberation, I decided on 29th January this year that the release of three works by five artists who had been with the label for a long time―one of them being Soundtester from Russia―would mark the closing of 20kbps. I was happy that we made it into the new decade, but I also felt that I had to let my lobit child go and, besides focusing on my ‘health’, limit myself to the consumption of netaudio published on other outlets. I was very happy to see that the lobit community was still around and was going to be there with or without its originator label. Adam Sigmund, who has beautiful releases on 20kbps under the name Origami Repetika, founded the newest lobit netlabel, sub65, about one and a half years ago, and has been running a lobit radio show called The Lowdown for almost a year now. It features an ongoing 20kbps‑themed series edited by Matri Oxar and presented by myself. Its crazy goal was originally to play every single one of the label's releases. There was also a fine 20kbps mix by Toxic Chicken. Other key lobit supporters are the guys from 8ravens and Kai Nobuko who runs the label l0bit and writes many lobit reviews on his blog Yeah, I Know It Sucks.
So while I felt the scene was in good hands, I was incredibly sad to think that 20kbps wasn't going to be there anymore. And I was deeply moved by two articles about 20kbps, one written by The Hardliner (20kbps and I), the other by Kai Nobuko (Celebrating 20kbps ‘the mothership of Lobit’ netlabel in style!).
About two months into chemo treatment, I had my first CT, and miraculously, my tumours did shrink. I also felt much better, took less pain meds, and was able to stand on my two feet again. But I still felt and still feel too vulnerable to reopen 20kbps. While hoping otherwise, I know that the results of subsequent CTs might not be as uplifting, and I really wouldn't want to find myself in a position where I have to close the label again. It was therefore a welcome surprise to receive a message from Jonas Santoso saying he would gladly look after 20kbps. I couldn't think of a better, more suitable successor. Jonas' affiliation with the lobit scene dates back to the early '00s. He is responsible for some of 20kbps' finest releases, and has run his own lobit netlabel stars in rehab in what now seems a distant past.
So I immediately took him up on his offer. We discussed different aspects, one of them being hosting. So far, hosting has been courtesy of Philipp Läubli, who is also to be given credit for rewriting the web design a few months after the label's inception, giving it its present shape that has been an important factor in its success. Very few people have seen the original web design that was of my own doing, and with which 20kbps likely wouldn't exist today. He also introduced me to agentff6600, a magnificent Gameboy musician who features on 20kbps many times. Läubli himself appears on some fun releases he and I made together under various names, e.g. haz+laub. He also made the first video clip for a 20kbps track, me is the master killer by Jimmy Slaughter. A photo showing him was used, without his approval, on the cover of Lieder zur Wiederwahl by Christoph Blocher Orchester. 20kbps owes him a lot and is very grateful for his many efforts!
A change of hostname was also discussed. Jonas suggested we use 20kbps.net. I was immediately for it, though emotionally, it was hard for me to let go of 20kbps.sofapause.ch. Well, the old URL will remain functional.
Before I end, I would also like to thank Christoph Stähli who in the early '00s wrote a tool that made it easy to add new releases to the label's RSS feed. Christoph has also contributed some excellent releases under monikers such as Denner, Aunderwex, stAAahhll, and Stahl. I'm excited about this new chapter in the history of 20kbps, and stoked to see what it will bring. I'm confident Jonas will be a better netlabel head than I have been in the '10s. But I'm not planning to leave completely. I hope my health will allow me to help manage some things―maybe polish some of our social media appearances.
Not to forget Adam Crammond, head of the now defunct label proc-rec and, as far as I know, producer of the first lobit podcast―it was called procpod and sadly was only short-lived. Under monikers such as c4 and graffiti mechanism, he delivered some of the coolest underground acid ever to exist. But the reason I mention him here is his generous donation of over $100 in a time when his home country was in considerable economic turmoil―the aftermath of the so-called subprime crisis. I would also like to thank the few other people who supported the label financially, even if it was with symbolic amounts. Being a student back then I valued every nickle.
Apart from that, I'm settling back and keeping on enjoying life, spending as much time as possible with my girl and my pug. And as a cineast, I continue to watch movies like a maniac. I continue as best I can to produce my monthly radio show slackjackerz, where I occasionally present 20kbps specials. I continue to pursue my autodidactic studies of the social sciences, especially economics and ethics, and read as many books as I can. I continue to listen to and explore music and scrobble as many tracks as I can. In other words, I continue to explore the cultural history of man, in which, I'm confident, 20kbps has its place.
There's not much for me to add. Some things I could have said here have been said in my article ‘20kbps and I’. The old URL will point to ‘20kbps.net’ indefinitely―it's not in my hands, whereas the new domain name is. Also, I understand my role to be that of a conservator rather than a creative director. 20kbps will therefore remain the same, and while there is a likelihood that I will mount the occasional release, my priority is on ensuring that 20kbps exists.