RareNoise Blurs The Lines Of Genre


Giacomo Bruzzo’s RareNoise label has built a catalog filled with adventurous releases.

(Photo: Anthony Dawton)

Before he was a label owner, Giacomo Bruzzo was a frustrated finance bro. Born in Italy, he moved to the U.K. in 1991, attended university and, as the decade ended, began working in the financial industry. After a few years, he entered a Ph.D program in mathematics when, as he put it via Skype from London, “in 2006, I crashed. I locked myself at home for six months, and when I came out of it I realized I just could not go back.”

Adrift in his mid-30s, Bruzzo began searching for something that would be not just a career, but a passion. This eventually brought him into the orbit of multi-instrumentalist Eraldo Bernocchi, who was connected to a universe of players and producers busily blurring the lines of jazz, rock and electronic music. By 2008, Bruzzo and Bernocchi had the RareNoise concept in place, launching the label the following summer with a half dozen releases, including titles by Bill Laswell-associated projects.

Since that initial burst, RareNoise slowly has built a catalog filled with adventurous releases that no one else would have thought to support. The primary qualification seems to be Bruzzo’s gut: “I like music that gives me a sense of vertigo, like I’m half a second away from the cliff’s edge.”

One of RareNoise’s most exciting 2020 releases is Belgian vocalist Sophie Tassignon’s Mysteries Unfold. She uses layer upon layer of vocals—and no other instruments—to create stunning reinterpretations of songs by Dolly Parton, the Cowboy Junkies and Vivaldi, as well as four originals. “What appealed to me about RareNoise was Giacomo’s interest in releasing albums that are very eclectic and powerful, but not genre-specific,” she explained, adding that Bruzzo “seems to enjoy letting artists be themselves.”

RareNoise opened its doors in the wake of the 2008 recession, which Bruzzo now sees as a boon. “If you start when everything doesn’t work, it’s good, because you get used to things not working.” This allows him to believe that the label will survive the music industry’s current coronavirus-related semi-paralysis. “It’s gonna be a kludge ... . [W]e have to somehow make it work.”

Bruzzo said he expects numerous pandemic-related factors—increased lead times in vinyl production, fewer indie stores selling product, less-efficient mail systems and the grounding of artists who would be touring—will result in a 30 percent revenue loss during the next 12 months.

But one way RareNoise has been making it work has been through its Leap of Faith program, where fans can pay in advance for the label’s entire slate of releases for a given year. “It helps quite a bit,” Bruzzo said. “The idea is, you have a boutique operation and you’re trying to create ambassadors. You try to create ties to people, and I’ve seen that recurrence in buying is very high.” DB

  • McBride__Kahn_copy.jpg

    ​Christian McBride and writer Ashley Kahn meet for a DownBeat Blindfold Test hosted by New York University’s Jazz Studies program.

  • Samara_Joy_%C2%A92023_Mark_Sheldon-4639.jpg

    Samara Joy brought fans to their feet in the middle of her Newport set!

  • 20170912_CeramicDog_EbruYildiz_29-2_copy.jpg

    Ceramic Dog is, from right, Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith and Ribot.

  • 23_Sullivan_Fortner_BFT_APA_Indianapolis_copy_2.jpg

    ​“He was the coolest,” Fortner says of Nat “King” Cole. “Didn’t break a sweat.”

  • 23_Houston_Person_by_Eugene_Petrushansky.jpg

    Person’s esthetic took shape in an era when jazz functioned as neighborhood social entertainment and moved with a deep dance groove.

On Sale Now
September 2023
Kris Davis
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad