I have always been fairly obsessed with record labels. They have defined entire movements in music history and provide artists with a guiding vision and sometimes even a community of like minded cohorts. The most successful ones are able to create a true aesthetic which runs through the music and art produced. I was raised on labels like Wax Trax!, Mo Wax, Factory Records, 4AD, Network, Sub Pop, Plus8, Mute and Warp. So for me, even in this age where artists “can” release their own music directly to the public there is something more mysterious and romantic about being a part of a record label. The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts I suppose.
Here are a handful of labels I have been really impressed with lately both by their audio output as well as their unique aesthetic and have inspired me to start one of my own:
Very inspired by this Toronto based label spouting modern electronics. Run by Adam Marshall who now lives in Berlin I think, this label does not pidgeonhole itself and just releases quality tunes through and through. This is the type of stuff that stands the test of time.
My Favorite Robot
Another amazing label from Toronto, droppin track after track of funk fueled synth and deep melodic unconventional gems. MFR does not shy away from vocals and with releases by innovators like Kenny Glasgow and James Teej, the label is a mainstay for forward thinking djs.
The most outside the box bass music around. Filtered house influences , dubbed out basic channel influences, amazing production and underwater crunk. Run by DJ and producer Scuba aka Paul Rose.
Compressed dub, as label manager Lucy calls it, SA has been creating some of the most interesting dub influenced deep techno I have heard in a long time. I love seeing techno labels taking more chances and dishing up more avante-garde influences. Started by Lucy (Luca Mortellaro) and based out of Berlin, SA has a consistent sound across the spectrum of releases, thanks in part to the amazing mastering work by Artefacts Mastering.
Masters of tech-house, Sean Michael-Yoder introduced me to this label and if you like tech-house this label is where it’s at. Based out of Mexico, Dialtone was started by Christian Orlo (Audio Engenieer) and Alexis O.L (Label Manager) aka Funk Shuei. Phat production, with a deep and funky vibe calling on a wide variety of influences.
Not much can be said about this label that hasn’t already been said before. Sandwell District are on my highly inspirational list of labels. They do what they want and dont release to fit any trends or do much publicity or marketing. I dig the punk attitude and in a world where everyone wants to be found, it’s nice having to do some work to get to some quality discovery.
When things get a little too serious, I can always get a my warm fuzzies from Munich based label Permanent Vacation. Great mid-tempo disco infused dance music that again, doesnt just release copy cat artists doing the same thing every release.