Label head who championed Laurel Halo, Hype Williams, James Ferraro and Daniel Lopatin killed in accident
Barron Machat, cofounder of Los Angeles record label Hippos In Tanks, died in a car accident in Miami, Florida, on 8 April. He was 27 years old. The label’s name, originally the title of the late night radio show he started with Travis Woolsey on the West Coast station KXLU in the late 2000s, references And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks, an early novel cowritten by Jack Kerouac and William S Burroughs that went unpublished in either writer’s lifetime. Machat had played baseball at Pacific Hills school in California, and at one point he eyed a career in sports. But he came from a family of music industry heavyweights – his grandfather Marty once managed Leonard Cohen – and his new label grew, in part, from the support and connections of his father Steven, a former lawyer at Death Row records. Hippos In Tanks released early records by Laurel Halo, Grimes and Arca, as well as albums by Daniel Lopatin and Joel Ford’s Games project, Hype Williams, Dean Blunt and James Ferraro, whose Far Side Virtual was voted album of the year in 2011 (The Wire 335). In his cover feature about Blunt (The Wire 367), David Keenan described the label as “hypnagogic pop’s Altamont, a label that functioned as a high paying lightning rod for major thinkers like Blunt, James Ferraro and Daniel Lopatin, while giving them access to visions of the kind of dark Babylonian capital and debauch that their music had previously only imagined”.