HANDS has a backcatalogue of well over 200 releases under its belt, mostly fullength artist albums on CD or vinyl. Around 35 artists are currently active.
Also it has a history of two decades to look back at:
Udo Wiessmann founded HANDS in 1990 as an independent platform for his own musical projects Atrum, Severance and Winterkälte that would grant him complete artistic freedom. At this stage, the label operated from Fürth (Franconia/Southern Germany) and released limited edition cassette tapes of above mentioned artists as well as Industrial compilations.
In the mid-1990s, focus shifted towards the promotion and development of Winterkälte, and their debut album was the first HANDS release on vinyl. Their distinct style of Drum’n’Noise quickly put them at the cutting edge of the rising Rhythm Noise scene. Their subsequent three CD/vinyl albums and the unique live presentation have since secured them an exceptional status within the scene.
In the late 1990s HANDS moved operations to Dortmund (Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area of Germany) and started to regularly release artist albums in the CD format: The first ones were the debut albums by Orphx, Ah-Cama Sotz and Needle Sharing, soon followed by then newcomers Mono No Aware, S.I.N.A., Xabec and 5F_55 (later 5F-x). Ever since it has been the label’s main intention to establish long-term relationships with artists and to continually promote their work; in some cases, HANDS artists have resurfaced after a quite long time of seeming inactivity.
Over the years HANDS has introduced and established many popular acts, among others S.K.E.T., Nullvektor, Edgey, Angina P., Shorai and Empusae, rediscovered seasoned producers like Geistform and Wieloryb and rereleased the classic backcatalogue of The Klinik.
From 1997 on HANDS maintained the Power Electronics and Noise sublabel 220N, which was vinyl-only and put out beautiful specially packaged records. Unfortunately, the unavailability of 220g vinyl pressings rendered the concept obsolete around 2004.
The HANDS artists are regularly presented by means of two long-running compilation series:
The first one was started at the turn of the millennium as 2000 HANDS (2CD/5LP), a massive collection of three tracks each by 10 artists. View this either as a deep and detailed insight into the label’s activities or simply as a bargain bundle of 10 EPs - this series has gone into six editions so far.
The second series is the annual FORMS OF HANDS festival compilation – an exclusive track each by every one of the label acts to appear on stage at the label showcase taking place every spring since 2001. The 11 editions of the FORMS OF HANDS compilation perfectly reflect the development, growth and diversity of HANDS.
The desire for individuality and quality is represented through the outer appearance of the >HANDS Paper Pack< - a special CD packaging made of paper and carton only without using plastic. Most layouts are designed by Nicola Bork, giving every release a distinct visual identity.
In addition to the annual FORMS OF HANDS festival, the label’s artist regularly play festivals like Maschinenfest, Mutek, Kinetik, WGT, Schlagstrom, Elektroanschlag or Infest as well as performing numerous club shows all over the world, including full tours of America and Asia. Sound artists like Incite/, Schachtanlage Gegenort or Saverio Evangelista are also active within the art scene, doing sound installations and audio visual performances.