Music Portrait | posted 03.03.2020
Kalahari Oyster Cult
The best of all possible worlds
Diving for pearls in the mud, tracking down rave classics from the nineties and working with producers for whom it doesn’t matter if the record ends up in the Beatport charts: Colin Volvert’s label Kalahari Oyster Cult mixes up the underground with its DIY ethos.
Text Christoph Benkeser
Rubriken_sticker_detail_06

You can find the Records of Kalahari Oyster Cult in the Webshop of HHV Records


The name is more difficult to forget than to remember: Kalahari Oyster Cult, a label for electronic music founded by Colin Volvert in 2017, wanders between 90s nostalgia and a pastel-colored techno-utopia. Gazing with one eye at the dance floor, trying to exorcise ghosts of the past with the other, the label is a melting pot for past rave days and a place of innovation at the same time. A place where the logic of exploitation is substituted by a DIY ethic which is entirely human because it depends on what people put together on their machines – and not whether things crash into the Beatport charts or not. Having released over 20 records in three years, KOC has developed into an eldorado for renowned and aspiring artists alike. With releases from producers like Roza Terenzi, A Psychic Yes and Liluzu that make you sweat the ecstasy out of your body. And forgotten classics, on which gems like DJ Trance and Brain Pilot splash fresh water again in their face.

The label name stems from a gimmick with words that are put together to form something that has nothing to do with its original meaning. Volvert cut out the umlaut of heavy metal band Blue Öyster Cult, brought in his love for oysters – and pressed the cult as an occult narrative as well as an aesthetic shortage of words into a label name that sticks to your head even after three nights on the run. However, Volvert, who is booked as Rey Colino at parties all over the world, did not intend to enter the record business in the first place. »I just had a master’s degree in communication science in my pocket, but I knew that I didn’t want to stay in the academic field.« A few months before he graduated, he ran into Otto Kraanen, owner of the Amsterdam label and record store Bordello A Parigi. »That was when I knew where to go.« Kraanen offers him a job, Volvert works his way up. From intern to manager who takes care of sales and the eponymous label which releases kitschy Synthwave records alongside Italo Disco Compilations. Volvert cuts his teeth, takes care of artists and the label side, networks in Amsterdam, listens to even more music.

»I simply aim at releasing music that has a sound balance between 90s nostalgia and contemporary sound design, that takes the best of both worlds.« (Colin Volvert) The decision to try something of his own was ultimately a result of the need to put a foot in the club doors of the Amsterdam scene. »I wanted to bring in everything that other labels and promoters, clubs and artists had given me on a silver platter during my time at Bordello A Parigi,« Volvert says – meaning the sort of electronic music that bubbles between monstera bushes in imaginary shopping centers with crunchy loudspeakers, binge-watching three seasons of X-Files and still not losing touch with the pumping sound of the present. »I simply aim at releasing music that has a sound balance between 90s nostalgia and contemporary sound design, that takes the best of both worlds. I don’t limit myself to one genre, even if I choose the music for the dance floor.« That means: looking for gems in the mud, licensing reissues and working with producers who either never have or have not released records for over 20 years.

_»I chose to diversify the offer with new music, reissues and compilations to make sure that the audience is not always to know what to expect,« Volvert says. In addition to his ever expanding Kalahri Oyster Cult, he has introduced the Oyster Tribe series in 2019, on which Volvert focuses to release slower percussion-based music from the past backed up with modern takes by remixers of his choice. Two records have already been released, »the third one is finalized and will go out before summer.« On »Elsewhere«, an infamous compilation installement he curates along with DJ soFa. On top of this, Volvert still finds time to develop a new series called Kalahari Oyster Ballads that will see the light of the day later this year and »focus on the quieter spectrum of electro-powered semantics, from meditative ambient ballads to escapist downtempo jams.«

All of this goes hand in hand with Volvert’s personal musical development. Whether the placid 90s deep house by X-Ray founder Raymond Castoldi fits the post-rave sound of Belgian brothers Stefan and Dimitri Van Elsen is not a question of feeling. It is pure conviction. When young downbeat producers from Down Under fish in the same pond with acid tribal sounds of 90’s producer DJ Trance, Colin Volvert has done everything right. »It is not difficult to draw parallels between the output of Kalahari Oyster Cult and my constant search for new sounds,« the label boss says. The taste changes, it drifts in a dynamic field, it evolves even more. »This is a great advantage for the persistence of a label. After all, it means having more freedom in choosing new music and picking up more people at the same time. But who knows what else I’ll find in the meantime.«


You can find the Records of Kalahari Oyster Cult in the Webshop of HHV Records

Related Articles
Music Portrait | posted 09.06.2020
Dekmantel
Infinite Holidays
For the better part of a decade now, the Dekmantel imprint from Amsterdam is successfully squaring the circle as label, festival and promoter of several events: Connecting innovation and underground with a quality standard that is by now globally recognized without failing its aspirations. An end? Even in times of crisis far away.
Music Review | posted 14.04.2020
Various Artists
Systems EP 1
Kalahari Oyster Cult has recovered this unknown classic. The six tracks on »Systems EP 1«, 25 years old, are made for the dancefloors in 2020.
Music Portrait | posted 07.05.2020
Roza Terenzi
Rave in a time capsule
Roza Terenzi turns past rave days upside down and brushes it with jungle breaks and techno cuts. On »Modern Bliss« she finally ends up in the future.
Music Review | posted 18.04.2012
Orbital
Wonky
After a long break, Orbital want to proof that they´re still the biggest Techno-Act in the UK.
Music Review | posted 12.07.2012
Untold
Change In A Dynamic Environment Pt. 2
Untold’s amazing surprises on the first part of his trilogy fail to appear this time.
Music Review | posted 17.08.2012
Untold
Change In A Dynamic Environment Pt.3
After the glorious first part and the down-to-earth second one, the expectations for the finishing of Untold’s excursions couldn’t be much higher.
Music Review | posted 15.02.2013
Bandshell
Caustic View
In contrast to his debut, Bandshell now moves away from his unconditional lust for sound-aesthetics with his second record.
Music Review | posted 27.06.2012
Bandshell
HES021
The flip side is just an exercise in style. The front side, on the other hand, is filled with tracks that could well set the benchmark.
Music Review | posted 30.04.2013
Tessela
Hackney Parrot/Helter Skelter
Very good entertainment: Tessela has released an enjoyable 12inch on his newly founded label Poly Kicks.
Music Review | posted 08.08.2013
Special Request
Hardcore EP
Under the name of Special Request, Paul Woolford is striking a new path by trying out a broader spectrum of musical varieties.  
Music Review | posted 30.08.2013
Black Sites
Prototype EP
Helena Hauff und f#x have released an EP with music as charming as a pair of ripped jeans.
Music Review | posted 05.11.2013
Tessela
Nancy's Pantry 12"
Tessela has taken on quite a bit with his debut on the Belgian cult label R&S. The good news is: He has succeeded yet again.
Music Review | posted 21.01.2014
Container
Adhesive 12''
Container carves out a new niche by glueing together techno and noise.
Music Review | posted 24.09.2011
Container
Lp
Container combines minimal techno with raw sounds to a music that’s difficult to pervade.
Music Review | posted 27.02.2014
Kangding Ray
Solens Arc
The first place for the best techno-ALBUM of 2014 has officially been taken. Sorry for everyone who’s still to follow.
Music Review | posted 09.05.2014
Kyoka
IS (Is Superpowered)
Kyoka’s easy going and airy-fairy proto-techno is a great contribution to the classic boys’-label Raster-Noton.
Music Review | posted 09.05.2014
Prostitutes
Petit Cochon
The project Prostitutes is moving along the border between techno and noise. In addition, »Petit Cochon« is somewhat tribalesque.
Music Column
Records Revisited
A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory (1991)
It doesn’t get much better than that. At the beginning of the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest brought the flow to the point with their second album »The Low End Theory«. Without aggressive male poses, but with jazz, breaks and vibe.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991)
1991 – what a year for rock music. The albums by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers released September 24, 1991 made rock become popular again. But »Screamadelica« by Primal Scream changed the whole genre.
Music Essay
The Beat Era in the GDR
Hostile takeover
Records from the Amiga label are widely available in Germany. In addition to pressings of international stars such as Michael Jackson, the Beatles or Bob Dylan, there was also a lot of music from the GDR itself that was released. Some of it is worth to be rediscovered.
Music Interview
José González
Taste Is Like Your Bum
In 2003, Jose Gonzalez covered the song “Heartbeat” by The Knife and instantly catapulted himself into the hearts and study rooms of so many. Now he has a new album, »Local Valley«, released. We had the opportunity to interview him.
Music Portrait
Loredana Bertè
Somehow Incomparable
Loredana Bertè is being lauded as the »Queen of Italian Rock.« This is not only musically inadequate, for Bertè never represented the status quo and instead repeatedly questioned it. She was and still is an outsider out of conviction.
Music Column
Records Revisited
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing (1996)
25 years ago, »Endtroducing« was released, a hip-hop album that brought Björk together with Metallica and Finnish fusion. DJ Shadow was digging in the cellar for it. And found gold. He covered what he found with a touch of melancholy and created an album that seems to have fallen out of time.
Music Portrait
Sarah Davachi
Echo of the infinity
Intensity is the word that comes to mind. In her music and in her movements. Sarah Davachi is an artist on the border between ambient, composition and drone. Her sound feels like someone stroking the soul with a fingertip. Now her new album »Antiphonals« is released.
Music Portrait
Dais Records
Sound as a collection
Between experiment and expectation, the contemporary and the past, Dais Records dares a delicate balancing act in aesthetics. Gibby Miller and Ryan Martin make waves where linearity experiences conscious disturbance – and follow the tracks of exceptional labels.
Music Portrait
Leslie Winer
The Unknown World Star
Björk, Grace Jones, Boy George and Sinéad O’Connor are among her admirers. William S. Burroughs was her mentor. Somehow, she also invented trip-hop. Yet Leslie Winer is known only to insiders today. That could change now.
Music Portrait
DJ Koco
Guest Mix
With DJ Koco, amazing mixing skills meet a selection of tremendous sophistication. Hardly anyone cuts his breakbeats tighter into each other than he does. The most amazing thing: The Japanese DJ limits himself to 7-inches in his sets.
Music Column
Records Revisited
John Coltrane – Africa/Brass (1961)
In 1961, »Africa/Brass" marked the dawn of a new age: for John Coltrane, it was the beginning of his Impulse! years, and for many African countries, the start of independence. Musically, it was probably his most ambitious effort.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Björk – Vespertine (2001)
Introverted standstill. Despite numerous positive reviews in August 2021 for the release of her fourth album “Vespertine”, Björk Guðmundsdóttir did not seem to fulfill the promise of her previous work with this record. Because this time she chose a completely different approach. Which makes »Vespertine« one of her best records to date.
Music List
Durand Jones & The Indications
10 All Time Favs
More than retro soul: Durand Jones & The Indications have been combining the past and future of the genre since their debut five years ago. Now their third album »Private Space« is released. Time to ask the band about the 10 records that have shaped, improved and educated them.
Music Portrait
Conrad Schnitzler
In the Midst of Disorder
Conrad Schnitzler, who died in 2011, is still perceived primarily for his connection to Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. Yet the impressive body of work that the »intermedia« artist left behind stands on its own.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Main Source – Breaking Atoms (1991)
In some ways, »Breaking Atoms,« Main Source’s full-length debut, seems to have remained a second-tier classic. But Large Professor’s production defined a signature sound for the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
Music Column
Records Revisited
LFO – Frequencie (1991)
With »Frequencies«, the low frequency oscillators LFO from Leeds created one of the first techno albums. Their high bleeps and low clonks made history in techno music. To this day, it is an invitation, er, order to dance.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)
With »Maggot Brain« Funkadelic 1971 goes to the dark side of funk. The triumphant pleasure principle is interspersed with dystopian eschatology, and juxtaposes the celebration of life with an oppressive doomsday mood.
Music Portrait
Hōzan Yamamoto
Meditation out of improvisation
For over five decades he pushed Japanese jazz towards spiritual spheres, without kitsch or esoteric – and just a little pathos. Above all, he garnered reputation for it back home. Even today Hōzan Yamamotos work is internationally considered an insider tip.
Music Portrait
Hoshina Anniversary
The Techno and jazz meltdown
Hoshina Anniversary makes techno. But he would rather see himself as a successor to jazz and traditional Japanese music. And the Tokyo native is not alone in this. In this sense, jazz is less what you play than how you play it.
Music Essay
Jazz kissas
Where the music plays in Japan
They offer classy retreat from a world where everyone listens all the time. And they celebrate listening to music: Jazz Kissas, Japan’s unofficial cultural heritage. Journalist Katsumasa Kusunose is now documenting it.
Music Portrait
Hiroshi Suzuki
The unknown with the trombone
In 1976, Japanese trombonist Hiroshi Suzuki recorded an album. “Cat,” which is characterized less by perfection than by a fine groove, was somewhat overlooked at one time. Now you can rediscover it.
Music Essay
Small In Japan
Japan, a Vinyl Nation? Not really.
Elaborate packaging, audiophile listening bars and the highest number of record shops in the world: Japan, a vinyl paradise? No. For decades, the medium has only played only a minor role there. A cultural history of Japan’s music industry.
Music List
Evidence
10 All Time Favs
Evidence is a producer, cratedigger and rapper, and one who in 15 years of career has never lost the desire to discover. Now his album »Unlearning Vol.1« is released. We asked about 10 vinyl records that have shaped, improved and educated him.
Music List
Record Store Day 2021 – 2nd Drop
12 releases to look out for
On July 17, 2021, the second Record Store Days this year will now take place. Again, several dozen exclusive releases have been announced. We have again picked twelve records that we want to recommend to you.
Music Column
Records Revisited
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Released in 1986, »The Queen Is Dead« is the culmination of the British band The Smiths’ career, which lasted only five years and four studio albums. It still sounds refreshingly idiosyncratic even after so long.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Porter Ricks – Biokinetics (1996)
When Porter Ricks released the album »Biokinetics« in 1996, it was more than just a collection of their first 12inches flanked by two bonus tracks. It was a utopian attempt to expand upon the dub techno formulas.
Music Portrait
BBE Records
The influencer's influencer
Peter Adarkwah is the reason why some lives have been changed by J Dilla, why Roy Ayers experienced a second spring and why Japanese jazz albums are reviewed by Pitchfork. In other words: BBE Music turns 25 years this year.
Music List
Record Store Day 2021 – 1st Drop
12 vinyl records to look out for
On June 12, 2021, the first of two Record Store Days will take place this year. For this alone, several dozen exclusive releases have been announced. We have picked out twelve records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music Portrait
Portico Quartet
Guest Mix
»Terrain« is the name of the new album of the British band Portico Quartet, which was released these days on Gondwana Records. For us, Portico Quartet’s Jack Wyllie has put together 60 minutes of music in an exclusive DJ mix.
Music Portrait
SSIEGE
Looking for the Infinite Loop
Densely packed with details, the sound of SSIEGE strolls along the transitions of the seasons and during the process blurs ultra-saturated pictures with cravings yet unfulfilled. With them, the Italian producer manages to tell dream tales that recur endlessly.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Marvin Gaye – What's Going On (1971)
Is it even necessary to reminisce about this album? Not really. But you can listen to it again and again. And it has remained relevant to this day, for better or worse. Marvin Gaye’s »What’s Going On« is 50 years old.
Music Portrait
Seefeel
Music in vacuum
Seefeel are a convergence of improbabilities. For almost 30 years they have been playing between styles, unfettered by contemporary references. Their sound remains a singularity.
Music Portrait
Arsivplak
The Past, Re-presented
Volga Çoban’s Arsivplak label and Arşivplak edit project are two sides of the same coin: his approach to Turkish funk, disco, pop, rock and jazz is archival on the one hand and strives to shed a new light on old sounds on the other.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing, 1981
Nightlife for androids: On »Nightclubbing«, along with one of the world’s leading rhythm sections, Grace Jones made sure that reggae and new wave would develop a new life of its own in 80’s pop.
Music List
Crumb
10 All Time Favs
Since their debut »Jinx« in 2019, Crumb have been considered the next big thing in music . Now their new album »Ice Melt« is out. The perfect opportunity to ask them about 10 records that have shaped, improved and educated them.
Music Interview
Adrian Younge
Sonic history lesson
»The American Negro« marks the beginning of a new chapter in Adrian Younge’s work. It is more frontal, more politically charged, and more self-assured. He wants to teach. We had the opportunity for an in-depth interview.
Music List
Leon Vynehall
10 All Time Favs
With his new album »Rare, Forever«, British producer Leon Vynehall continues the path he started with »Nothing Is Still« 3 years ago. Today he tells us 10 vinyl records that have shaped, improved and educated him.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces Of A Man (1971)
He was called the “Godfather of Hip Hop” because he wrote about drugs, racism and the Divided States of America. Gil Scott-Heron’s most successful album is now 50 years old – and more timely than ever.
Music List
Jenn Wasner (Flock Of Dimes)
10 All Time Favs
With her solo project Flock of Dimes, Jenn Wasner has just released her most personal and at the same time most substantially far-reaching album. We asked the musician to name 10 Vinyl records that have shaped, improved, and educated her.
Music Portrait
Gondwana Records
Soul And Character
As a DJ and musician, Matthew Halsall became a label operator. Starting with a local focus on Manchester’s contemporary jazz scene, the trumpeter, composer and bandleader has since given his imprint Gondwana Records a fairly international focus.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Yellow Magic Orchestra – BGM (1981)
Cues for the future: on their fourth album, »BGM«, the synth wizards of Yellow Magic Orchestra drafted background music for generations to come.