Visit RVNG Intl.’s physical manifestation on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a refuge for ambient, experimental and other adventurous music.
You can buy records at Commend, but “record store” doesn’t feel like the most accurate descriptor for the small but airy shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. That’s not just because you can also buy limited-run T-shirts and obscure paperbacks there, or browse an incense selection curated with the care you’d put into fine wine or catch an intimate electronic music performance. Commend, which opened as the “physical manifestation” of the record label RVNG Intl., strives to be a jumping-off point for the creative- and community-minded – it’s a place where you’ll leave more connected, inspired and higher-vibed than before you walked in. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that its record stock, though small, is among the city’s best for ambient, experimental and other less easily defined recordings. Here Commend’s Nina Bower Crooke takes us through the shop’s special blend of sounds, objects and happenings, by way of blissed-out jams from the likes of Ariel Kalma, RAMZi, Visible Cloaks and the Efficient Space label.