Find it at hhv.de: Bliq Music Bliq is a British label from London, established in 2010 by Manos Mara and Costa Budolas.
Mara and Budolas, also known under the pseudonym Bu$$, grew up in the same neighbourhood in Thessaloniki, Greece – and met for the first time in 2006 in Great Britain. »We connected almost instantly, started throwing parties together for a short stint«, the two recalling their early days. Four years later they concentrated on their shared plans for a label, and Bliq was born – out of the two’s sampling habit – with the debut of the British duo Homepark. Vinyl was an absolute must, solely because enough material landed on the desk from the surrounding environment, which had earned a decent release. From the beginning, there were especially knowledgeable Deep-House Cuts, including the Dutch high flyer Lapien, however, the label opened up the catalogue as early as 2013 with a release by the Icelandic Dub Techno-legend Exos.
»We don’t really care about sticking to a specific sound or genre, to us, it’s more about the artists aligning with our tone & aesthetics« the lapidary answer to the question of the smallest common denominator in the Bliq roster.
It has increasingly become an international issue. Alongside a Brazilian artist, you can find Lowjac and Thingamajicks, who have released together via Bliq as Deemonlover, including the mysterious DJ Loser and Seixlack – who has since emigrated to Berlin – on the Greek-run London label. For them it is about personal contacts, explains Mara and Budolas looking at the broad personal roster, which stretches across half of the globe, and has opened the door to the world, especially with the early release by Lapien remixed by Conforce and Fred P. The two insist on demos, even though they prefer a long-lasting cooperation with their artists; Bliq should be a small family. The appearance has changed, since they had to say goodbye to their designer in 2013, and instead involve the Berliner Super Quiet, who has given the releases a very new, visual coating of elaborate prints and intensive colours, which at best seem to fit with Seixlack’s type of bumpy psychedelic-rhythm. The story of Bliq is obviously that of a slow coming together, not only in a geographical sense.
Find it at hhv.de: Dub Disco Dub Disco is a Berlin founded record label established in 2016 by Serj Nosé and Aussteiger.
The record label itself is in fact only two records old, however the idea to establish a label has accompanied the two for a long time – even if for fairly different reasons. Serj Nosé is an experienced DJ and has had for a long time »the permission« to be involved and channel my own musical vision. It was the optimal move, since I have never produced anything myself.« On the other hand, Aussteiger has for a long time produced genre cross-over music with echoes of House, Disco, HipHop Beats and so forth. Thus, the label should also serve its purpose by publishing one’s own, unusual works: »My DJ sets partly exist from 30-40% of my own, unreleased tracks; I need a platform where I can publish my tracks including mega-crazy tracks from my friends. Also, I have no desire to constantly send demos to labels,« says Aussteiger. No wonder Aussteiger adorned the first EP with the catalogue number 001. The hardest thing was to find 3 out of 15 amazing tracks which fit together and represent our style.«
After the label’s second release in december 2016, an EP by Berlin-based Italo-specialists S&W, Dub Disco 003 is slowly approaching. Still, the three label operators are taking it slowly: »In 2017 we will produce 2-3 releases very relaxed and surprise people with the sound«, Aussteiger explains. Surprise is an important term in the vocabulary of Dub Disco, since the young label would like, under no circumstances, to be reduced to a single style. There are so many labels, which release good music, however ultimately it always sounds the same; we really did not want that!«, he further explains and Serj expands: »One of the main aspects, which we agree upon on the outset, is that we wanted no stylistic homogenous label. There are enough pure House, Techno etc labels. Also on top of that, we would like to release things by friends, we want to remain free and not restricted. What we think is awesome gets pressed.«
The previous releases are united by their dance-floor suitability, their unusualness, and their common medium – vinyl – which the two put a strong emphasis on, despite their Bandcamp-Downloads. More coherence is however not necessary, even if the name of the label could be understood as a genre-fixation. We most certainly are proper Disco-heads, even if we are fundamentally very open minded, and we can actually find a liking in almost everything – as long as it´s well crafted.« admits Serj. »The same applies to the releases: I´d always go for a Disco release rather than a Techno one. Looking at the bigger picture, almost everything is allowed.«
Find it at hhv.de: Ectotherm Ectotherm is a Danish record label from Copenhagen, established in 2016 by the DJs Najaaraq Vestbirk (Courtesy) and Sara Svanholm (Mama Snake).
They made a name for themselves in their hometown, both as members of the DJ team Apeiron Crew, whose unconventional approach in the meantime resulted in an international success. Copenhagen, where Vestbirk now spends half of her time, and therefore is no longer an integral member of the crew, is the focus of the common project Ectotherm, which began with the EP of the regional producer Schacke. »It’s been a shared dream of ours to run a label for years", recalls Svanholm. The first impulse was a demo by the Techno producer Rune Bagge, who should contest the second catalogue number. »Najaaraq and I were hanging out after a party we held in Copenhagen and we were listening to those demos and just immediately decided to fucking do it.« Who is so dedicated to their own scene, will also be rewarded; the marketing department of the DIY project has instantly been giving a helping hand by the circle of friends. The mutual interchange also sets certain guidelines in the label’s politics. »We are only going to sign people we know and like personally«, says Vestbirk clearly.
Demos are often listened to, however, the personal strand is essential. Svanholm and Vestbirk strictly seperates Apeiron Crew and their work with Ectotherm; whose inherited ancient Greek name, which into English translates as »without borders« – is also a program of Ectotherm. The first two releases are already characterised by clear dancefloor compatibility, their influences are also related to other Dance music’s subgenres, like Dub or borrowings of Noise and Industrial. »I honestly feel that these releases capture the sound of the Copenhagen Techno scene right here and now – thanks to the fact that the people behind the music are also active DJs at the really good raves being thrown in the city these days«, says Svanholm. The familiar cooperation accounts for the specialised Ectotherm vibe, whose artists have formed its sound. Strong visual accents were set by Lukas Hojlund, whose rough design supplements the messy-raw Techno of the releases, and who as a part of the collective Fast Forward Productions not only co-organises events, but also is a part of an agency, which represents Ectotherm artists.
So everything interlocks with one another, as indicated by the Ouroboros logo designed by Lukas Højlund – which suggests a snake biting its own tail. In order for the fun not to fall by the wayside, there is however an acid-smiley in the centre. Vestbirk and Svanholm do not pursue their project of the heart simply because of their own individual interests as DJs; the two are already planning to create a sublabel, and to come up with some surprises.
Find it at hhv.de: Jazzaggression Jazzaggression is a Finish record label specialising in Jazz, established in 2007 by Johan Fredrik Lavik.
Everything began roughly 10 years ago when Lavik’s buddy Lars Findbrouk, who manages the label Plastic Strip, found unpublished recordings of the Jazz and Disco-Keyboarder Webster Lewis in the archives of singer Arne Bendiksen. »We thought the music was too good to pass by. So we chucked some money together and published the album«. Johan’s passion for sampling is grounded in his youth, when he began to rummage around in his mother’s and uncle’s collection. In the past 20 years he has increasingly concentrated on Jazz and found more and more forgotten, obscure releases. »In Jazz one can find everything, there is always something new to discover and it is never boring.« The to date compact catalogue of Jazzaggression is indeed not boring. Until now, on ten LPs, three 10inches and three 7inches a fascinating diversity can be found, from Estonian 60s Bop, to obscure Bonner Soul-Jazz of the 70s, up to present day Finish Avant-Garde groups. Today, Johan largely finds the obscure releases and their authors over the internet, but also regularly in the dusty archives of radios or musicians, back and forth with help from other label operators like Lars Findbrouk or Martin Jöela; Frotee concentrating on unpublished Estonian rarities. Last year Johan even organised a mutual concert of old and young jazz artists and he hopes in the coming months to bring out some more fresh Norwegian Jazz.
It is clear to Johan how this music should be shown to the world: »Vinyl is the only format, that is important to me. I have always digged records, and they are associated with a lot more feeling than with any digital format. There is nothing better, Vinyl is king.« One notices with Jazzaggression and the sister label Afro7, who has released African rarities since 2015, that they have a lot of passion for vinyl. In addition to the mandatory CDs in Jazz circles, there are regularly lovingly printed, limited vinyl editions, which are also, quite rightly, quickly sold out. There are three releases on Jazzaggression to come in 2017; a reissue of the ultra-obscure British Jazz album »Bird Curtis Quintet« from 1967 and a 7inch with an unreleased track of the Paris Smith Quintet, whose LP has already been reissued by the label. Who doesn’t want to arrive too late at a party, and look in the discographies valves or wants to simply broaden their Jazz horizon, should be sure to remember Jazzaggression.