About Jet Black Records & Words

Jet Black was founded in 1992 by an obnoxious high school student in Nampa, Idaho. Initially a DIY-style venture to release cassette tapes of the bands in which he and (mostly) his friends performed, the project expanded to the publishing of a semi-annual literary magazine, The Bomb.

The music released by the label was “produced” on a borrowed 4-track in a basement in Nampa, using mostly cheap, shoddy equipment. The cassette labels and cover art for each were pieced together using scissors and scotch tape, and required many trips to local print shops to finalize–this was back before cheap computers, software and printers, kids! And all of this was largely funded by a small circle of friends and well-wishers, who chipped in a few bucks or a few reams of misappropriated paper whenever they could. Each single, or album, typically only had a run of about 50 or 60 copies. As such, they’re now highly sought after by collectors (although I believe there are only maybe three collectors).

The Bomb was produced in much the same fashion, and in similar numbers. Although the later issues, in which the quality of the writing and art are superior, are significantly more slick and professional-looking. From 1992 to 1997, the success of this magazine earned praise from dozens of poets and artists you’ve never heard of, from California to Massachusetts. After eight issues, two small books, and a dozen pamphlets, however, the project collapsed.

Cut to: 20 years later. The aforementioned founder is now older and fatter and grayer. Sitting in an entirely different basement in Boise, Idaho, after a recording session with a longtime friend and musical co-conspirator, the friend broached the subject of releasing a 7″ of the music they had been producing over the previous several weeks. And, moreover, he had the brilliant idea, “Why don’t we put it out on Jet Black Records?”

That 7″ was the new EP by The Belstrom Nordburger Ensemble, and it kicked off this second phase of the Jet Black Records & Words endeavor. Fingers crossed, maybe this time we can keep it together for more than a few years. Cheers!