“Jeff Hunt founded Table of the Elements in 1993, dedicating it to the release of important music that has fallen into obscurity. TotE has since become heir apparent to the trailblazing legacy of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, 1952. So much so, in fact, that TotE [has] inspired a New Archivism. Labels such as John Zorn’s Tzadik, John Fahey’s Revenant, and Lance Ledbetter’s Dust-to-Digital have followed in TotE’s tracks. Documenting and releasing ignored, repressed, and forgotten music, they have recouped marginalized histories of aesthetic life outside of thumbs-up/thumbs-down entertainment monoculture.
“The hallmarks of this New Archivism [are] beautiful and innovative packaging, elaborate and idiosyncratic liner notes, rare and obscure recordings ... Working with graphic designers such as the Grammy-winning Susan Archie, Hunt produced a collection that combines varied textures, lavish finishes, and period details with art from the era of the original source recordings. Hunt and Archie’s treatment of Robert Longo’s late 1970s photographs for Rhys Chatham’s releases could, for instance, measure up to what’s on view at most contemporary art centers. In addition to it archival endeavor, TotE also releases the new work of its avant-garde heroes and their devotees. TotE’s active support of the work of sonic pioneers ensures that theirs are living traditions – not ossified museum objects.”
"The supremacy of Table of the Elements for the past decade as an unwavering outpost of ultra-experimental strains can be attributed to its concomitant adherence to valiance. Most of the Table of the Elements catalogue has no broad commercial appeal, and many of its projects ... are risky ventures, even with respect to the experimental marketplace. Yet, this philosophy of risk works because everyone associated with the label feels like they're doing important work releasing important records, and they're willing to go for broke to make it happen.”