Extreme is a music label based in Melbourne, Australia. Extreme has an international focus with distribution based in Atlanta, GA, USA
Extreme releases genre defying experimental works that dip into and out of electronic, soundtrack, world/ethnic, ambient, free jazz, noise and musique concrete, often mixing and matching combinations of all of these styles.
Incorporated in 1985, Extreme was initially an underground tape label until Roger Richards took control in 1987. Richards continued the cassette-only releases for a short time, raising both the profile of his label and “difficult listening” Australian acts such as Orchestra of Skin and Bone, Krang and Ollie Olsen.
In 1988, Extreme released its first vinyl LP (Merzbow/SBOTHI’s ‘Collaborative’). It then concentrated on producing CD albums of “innovative contemporary music that offer a rewarding listening experience.” In 1990 Extreme released ‘Intifaxa’ by Muslimgauze and this was the first of the now famous Extreme graphics that have identified Extreme releases. In 2003 Extreme released its first DVD, ‘The Movement of People Working’ by Phill Niblock, and this has become a landmark in the medium.
Extreme has a catalogue numbering over 70 titles. All are notable for their high standard of audio production and design, in conjunction with innovative music that often eludes categorization.
Extreme has expanded its roster of artists beyond Australia and now includes performers from nearly every continent. From the foreboding, “Islam with attitude” aural tapestries of Manchester based Muslimgauze to the “Noise music” of Japan’s Merzbow, the label is determined to avoid falling into the marketing trap of repeating easy sells.
Extreme is notable also for the release of the Merzbox by Merzbow. Released in a limited edition of 1000, it documents the music of Japanese noise master Merzbow. It is part of Extreme Special Editions, an outlet for the most challenging, outre, lengthy or extreme of Extreme projects.
In 2006, Extreme revitalized its activity after a 3 year hiatus from new releases. 2007 saw the launch of the Antripodean series of releases on Extreme. The Antripodean series is a collection of works showcasing Australian artists exploring the boundaries of music. In 2023, Extreme released a further vinyl LP by Robert Vincs. Who knows what the future holds from there.
To understand more about the philosophy of Extreme, please follow this link to read an interview with the founder of Extreme, Roger Richards.