Best Experimental Label


Critics' Picks

In a pattern common among artists who run labels, Chicago electronic musician Brian Labycz launched Peira to release one of his own recordings when he couldn't find anyone else to do it. The label started slowly in 2007, but in the past couple of years it's issued a steady albeit modest stream of music—its catalog recently reached 13 titles. Most of those releases document local musicians from the free-improv and experimental communities, playing in ad hoc groupings and working outfits that include Green Pasture Happiness (a trio of Labycz, Aaron Zarzutzki, and Daniel Fandiño) and Fandiño's Zarzutzki's duo with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Peira is also widening its scope beyond Chicago: it's put out a great solo effort by New York trumpeter Nate Wooley and a trio album with local bassoonist Katherine Young and two composers based in Brooklyn, Mexican-born Ivan Naranjo and Bulgarian-born Maria Stankova (who was recently chosen by the International Contemporary Ensemble to participate in its impressive ICElab program).