Despite Hyperdub’s relative youth (it was founded in 2004 by Kode9 – aka Steve Goodman), the label has produced some genre defining albums. Hyperdub introduced us to Burial – back in 2006 with his eponymous album garnering critical acclaim with it’s haunting melancholy and unapologetic display of emotions. When one of your first releases is a modern classic, you know your label is pretty damn cool.
Hyperdub has fought hard to stay out of the mainstream media spotlight and when Burial was pipped to the post by Elbow to win the 2008 Mercury Music Prize, there were sighs of relief all round. The label removed their presence from Spotify, aimed at protecting the music and avoiding what manager Marcus Scott has referred to as “pointless overexposure”. This isn’t to say that the label actively avoids the glare of publicity. The team works hard to retain its credentials as one of the best labels around. EPs and albums aren’t flung out on the wings of a costly marketing campaign and the label doesn’t parade its artists around as the hippest new artists to come out of London. The music is honest – and it’s the lack of superficial media hype that’s given them such success.
Hyperdub’s releases since 2006 have been trenchant, and include a legion of releases from Kevin Martin – aka The Bug, aka King Midas Sound. In 2008, the label signed Ikonika, and her debut was released last year – an attractively sophisticated collection of 8-bit inspired riddims. Yet again, the label’s reputation for producing high-quality music was cemented.
The Bug – Skeng Kode9 Remix
Ikonika – Please
Moreover, Hyperdub refuses to create a mould. Label Manager Marcus Scott has stated that the dubstep label doesn’t totally fit: “The roster has grown, and Hyperdub has long outgrown the dubstep tag it was originally associated with. However, even our earliest releases were always mutations of whatever dubstep was percieved to be; we’ve always been on the outside looking in – maybe we’ve changed a lot – or maybe not very much at all.“
The label’s guidelines to signing a band are fairly standard – Scott states the following as important in a tune: “Does it give you goosebumps? Does it make you talk uncontrollably about it in an excited way? Do you want to dance to it? Do you feel that this act alone is creating this particular music?” It’s the motif that most labels use, yet somehow the Hyperdub squad has a sixth sense, an uncanny knack of sniffing out the best in raw, experimental talent.
King Midas Sound is one of the most steadfast artists on the label. Scott explains that KMS’ Kevin Martin joined Hyperdub in the early stages. “He was a good friend of ours and wanted to release a new project. As Kevin is an incredible musician, we tend to go with whatever he would like to do – his ideas and visions are always strong.” The upcoming rework album Without You showcases an impressive cast of artists, among them a revoice from the up and coming Cooly G.
King Midas Sound – Lost
Cooly G – Love Dub
So what does 2012 hold for Hyperdub? Well Marcus Scott is excited. “Albums from Cooly G and DVA, as well as lots more music, more albums, and lots of really exciting developments with the label itself.”