WE BELIEVE IN THE TRANSCENDENT POWER OF ROCK N ROLL.

 

When we say rock n roll, we do not mean a genre, we mean a spirit. We mean the pursuit to take back human fun and wildness, a deeper sense of human power.

Rock n Roll is a totemic manifestation of the human spirit. It is a fertile sexual power in these non-sexual times. An iconic creation based in the basic boundlessness of human power.  It is because of this root, primitive power that rock becomes a symbol of anti-establishment. But at it’s root, it is, like human consciousness, apolitical. It is simultaneously more primitive and more transcendent. 

Lightning is for us not only a celebration of this human force, but a movement to embrace this symbol of empowerment and fun. We see the current times, whether because of economic recession or an overly mediated lack of internal power, trending towards the puritanical.  Rigidity, fundamentalism and boredom run rampant in styles and tastes, even the arts. People giving away their sense of fun and spontaneity to media and food and dark woods. Defining their sense of self by their consumptive taste.  Competing with and treating each other as competitive brands. 

Lightning wants to offer the spirit of rock n roll back to people’s lives.

 

 

"There is a growing body of creative channels in America, relief for the young people frustrated by the country’s lack of sexual inertia and impulsive “rock & roll” spirit (not to mention nostalgia for a time when creating music that sounds like a Coke ad wasn’t subversive or even ad-worthy — it just sucked). Lightning Records is one such outlet, a “modern multi-media channel” — a tape label, print magazine, apparel company, “adventurous” event planner, and counterculture journal of bold photography and narrative journalism — launched in 2012 by Seth Olinsky (Akron/Family, Cy Dune) and Musician/Conceptual Artist Ali Beletic their group of cool friends who surf and bike and do other rad shit."    - Ross Devlin, Tiny Mix Tapes

Lightning is a modern multi-media channel showcasing our culture from within the scene. 

Launched in 2012, the channel is home to musicians, creatives, photographers, culture creators, artists, ditrbiking and surf stories, creating digital experiences in collaboration with exceptional artists, brands and cultural institutions. We've made the trip to have a beach burn on the industrial streets of Braddock with rebel filmmaker Bill Daniel, made surf pilgrimages backcountry with Kauai Legend surfer Chris, explored the future of shred with guitar legends Dick Dale and Wayne Kramer, brought Rhys Chatham’s 100 guitar orchestra to small town Pennsylvania, and toured in and out of every small venue overseas as traveling musicians. The new mobile-optimized Lightning also continues its commitment to discovering, crafting and showcasing the stories of the music, art, and free riders community from the inside.

We not only foster our online community, but also release records, produce a print magazine, and curate adventurous and out of the box events.

LABEL/ DEBUNK THE TIMES.

 

I don't have room to tell all the stories here, but from seeing Shinji and Kid playing a life changing set with the Boredoms at the 2009 Flaming Lips ATP, or Oneida's 12 hour sets or late night Brooklyn warehouse art squats concerts, seeing Talibam! fluctuate seamlessly between some of the best and worst sets of music I've ever known possible on the planet, to James from Wooden Wand who would, if you ask many a living musician these days, be considered one of the most amazing songwriters alive - all of the artists have their own unique relationship to the current history of music that has led us to this moment and will continue to lead us onwards, and for me, getting to participate with and release their music is much more than just releasing an album or ep, but an opportunity to get to share, support, and showcase their dynamic artistry. Participating in this dynamic artistic community, being immersed in it and taking part in its story. It is an artistic culture on the move and trying to find ways to open the doors to that musical movement.

The albums are part of a 20 Artist Series, where artists have been asked to contribute a unique side project or edge creative statement. The musicians involved are a diverse spectrum of artists that I have met and been inspired by while traveling and touring around the world. A group of artists that I always return to to see what they are doing. The common thread through all of the artists for me is the spirit - a spirit of expression and exploration, a transmission back from somewhere out on the edge.

--Seth Olinsky

"The brand new Lightning Records label kicked off what is to be a regular set of quarterly batch releases with a collection of five albums that seem to embody five differing shades of the frontier American psyche, emerging from the California Mojave Desert."     - Tristan Bath, The Quietus

 
LTG sample

THE ARTIFACT OF PRINT

Rock n roll. Freeriders. we are all stories.

The Lightning Magazine is an American counterculture magazine exploring fun-havery across various sub-cultures through immersion style journalism. It was founded to be the vital voice of a vibrant contemporary scene surrounding Lightning’s network of collaborators, with gonzo style articles written by artists, musicians, dirt bikers, gallerists, composers, architects, surfers, poets, and more.

 

In the first 112 page issue, post minimalist composer Rhys Chatham tells a first person account of the environment and energy of 60’s La Monte Young/Richard Serra Soho NY and how and why that energy moved to the 70’s Avant Garde East Village. Bill Daniel’s contribution picks up here with a photo essay and conversation about Austin Texas’ famed first punk venue Rauls’, including photos from Bad Brains and Butthole Surfers shows. The conversation with Aaron Rose discuses the genesis of the groundbreaking Alleged Gallery in New York in the 90’s that brought together the friends and DIY street artists of the Beautiful Losers art movement.

Rhys’ article ends in present day Williamsburg, where he discusses his collaborations with Oneida, seeing William Tyler play, and the now gone venue Monster Island - also covered in issue one as a multi artist photo essay put together byAndrew Deutsch with accompanying artwork by Maya Hayuk. 

All these articles weave intimately with the Lightning Records Album releases. Fat Bobby from People of the North/Oneida discusses memories of Monster Island, and the progression of their studios, the latest Secret Project Robot being the recording location for the Lightning People of The North album.  Wooden Wand’s James Toth contributes a hilariously insightful guide to songwriting, and Ohioan’s Ryne Warner writes an essay on Circle K,  desert water rights, and the American Spirit Blues.  

The first issue also offers additional conversations with Los Angeles based earth artist Katsuhisa Sakai, dirtbike artist Derek Gibson, bmx legend Scott Towne, car sculptor Jesse Sugarmann, desert architect Jesus Robles, gold miner Chris Entz and more

"In-the-moment experience and a sense of adventurousness help to define the mission of Lightning Records, and explain why artists, musicians, athletes and assorted wild-makers all belon under one roof."  - Eric Swedlund, Consequence of Sound


Contributors: Dick Dale / Wayne Kramer (MC5) / Mike Watt (Minutemen) / Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith) / Aaron Rose (Alleged Gallery, Beautiful Losers) / Rhys Chatham (100 Guitar Orchestra) / Bill Daniel (Who is Bozo Taxino?) / Bill Frisell / Nels Kline (Wilco) / John Deitrich (Deerhoof) / Maya Hayuk / Seth Olinsky (Cy Dune, Akron/Family) / Ali Beletic / Peter Baer / Eric Block / Paula Court / Andrew Deutsch (Monster Island) / Chris Entz / Fat Bobby (Oneida, People of the North) / Ossian Foley / Derek Gibson / Patrick Gookin / Thor Harris (Swans) / Matt Hummel (the PanAmerican) / Chris Kaplanis (Kalalau) / Chris Keiley / Billy Pfeiffer / Jesus Robles (D.U.S.T.) / Katsuhisa Sakai / Aaron Sperske (Beechwood Sparks) / Jesse Sugarmann / James Toth (Wooden Wand) / Scott Towne / Ryne Warner (Ohioan) / Howard Weulfing (Half-Japanese) / John Wilkinson / Wolfy (Kayrock) / Michael Yun (WL) / Jane Cramer / Pattie / Dave / Kristy Campbell / Jeff Ho (Zephyr)