Charles Adriaenssen (Outhere)

Independent label Outhere-OutNote (Aka Moon, LABtrio) demonstrates with great effect that there is still an audience fond of quality and vision these days.

Ut Pictura Musica (shop)
Rue de Bodenbroek 8 Bodenbroekstraat, 1000 Brussels (Sablon/Zavel)


What is… Outhere?

Independent labels with their (own) distribution network and music publishing business are priceless gems. Outhere, with headquarters in Brussels and branch offices in Paris and Cologne, is undoubtedly one of them.

The label was founded in 2004 and managed to thrive in an increasingly shrinking market, providing undeniable proof that passion and perseverance are more than ever a winning combination.

Chairman Charles Adriaenssen was involved in the project right from the outset. He was trained in classical music but constantly kept a sharp eye and attentive ear on what has been going on in other fields of culture.

The story of Outhere starts with Fuga Libera. Meanwhile the group boasts in total no fewer than nine labels with four collections (Alpha, Phi, Ricercar, Outnote, Aeon, Rewind...). The repertoire ranges from ancient and classical music to contemporary, world and jazz music.

The jazz section is incorporated into OutNote Records. True to form, this section makes room for groups which by no means fall under a single common denominator but are constantly looking for openness and innovation. No wonder, LABTrio and Fabrizio Cassol with Aka Moon fit in perfectly. Both will release a new album this autumn.

Charles Adriaenssen volunteered to answer our four usual questions.


What is…

... your favourite spot in Brussels?

The entire neighbourhood around Rue de Flandre/Vlaamse Steenweg has a particularly strong appeal to me. I find Maison de la Bellone with its stunning renaissance façade a unique venue. What makes it so interesting is this unlikely mix of locals, foreign citizens and Flemish hipsters. It is in line with my vision of life whereby culture and quality are key. And quality is everywhere and in all possible genres. Above all, we should be tolerant and open. Today, it is unfortunate to see that education no longer encourages people to read or listen to niche products. People do not read poetry anymore or listen to offbeat classical music. They expect everything to be brought to them on a silver platter. In my opinion, it is important to reach out to an audience which is not necessarily initiated but driven by the desire to discover new grounds. In order to reach this audience, it is important to keep an open mind and establish links with different genres.


… the last CD or album you bought for yourself?

The double CD by András Schiff on which he plays Franz Schubert sonatas on the pianoforte, released by ECM. I am a huge fan of both Schiff and the label. It is above all the continuity pursued by ECM’s big boss Manfred Eicher which commands admiration. Also the visual aspect is always eye-catching.
Our core business with Outhere is classical music. The jazz section has been added because I cannot imagine the world without jazz. Jazz is as classical as classical music is and has its own credentials. I myself am not a great jazz connoisseur but definitely a jazz lover. Some of my employees are genuine jazz buffs, this is also why we launched the jazz section.


… your fondest memory of a recent concert?

It is a concert by Le Poème Harmonique led by Vincent Dumestre performing ‘Dido and Aeneas’ at Bozar early June, featuring mezzo-soprano Isabelle Druet who won the second prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition Singing in 2008. I was indeed very much impressed... by the singing obviously. You cannot but be impatient to hear the arias. But also by the remarkable subtlety with which Dumestre led the orchestra. He knows how to work with contrasts. He lets the wind instruments sound typically Purcell-like, somewhat bombastic and rather French; whereas he renders a fairly popular, even flamenco tinted facet with the guitars. The contrast between the two reflects extreme sensitivity.


… your favourite quote of the moment?

It is one by Albert Camus: “Art is essential because if art disappears, freedom of expression disappears with it as well”. For me, art is a way of distancing yourself from everyday reality whilst taking the time to listen to others. In this respect, you must always keep an open mind. You cannot claim that your art is the art par excellence and that all the rest is just worthless. That would be a mistake. Voltaire once said to somebody he did not hold dear to his heart: “Sir, I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Tolerance is the key concept.
Our offices are located in a very interesting neighbourhood, half-way between the KVS and Théâtre National. As a matter of fact, this led to the collaboration for ‘Coup Fatal’, an original encounter between Baroque and Congolese music, conducted by Fabrizio Cassol and staged and choreographed by Alain Platel.