Five Record Labels Fueling The Italian Underground According To Elena Colombi

Discover a new world of proggy, synthy and '80s-indebted Italian record labels courtesy of NTS Radio Host and eclectic DJ Elena Colombi.

Words by Elena Colombi
Photos by Sepideh Farvardin
Elena Colombi by Sepideh Farvardin

As you might have gathered from our interview with her earlier this week, Elena Colombi is one of our favorite selectors. Just listen to any of her mixes and you’ll understand the appeal.

Her approach to DJing is eclectic and out-of-the-box. By her own admission, she has “anarchic” taste, and it shows. After our interview was over, we asked her to send over a few of the labels that she’s been into lately. The response was a number of underground Italian imprints that offer a good insight into her sound. Read on to discover a new universe of Italian sounds that encompass sludgy slo-mo techno, ’80s synth wave and even minimalist European prog. 

Marguerite Records

“This label was a retrograde discovery for me: from the cassette that is about to come out, going back in time to their first release. LBEEZE’s ‘Love Jacked’ has been an immediate favourite, creating havoc whenever and wherever I played it. But for you I’ll select another fine track, also from the same compilation: LKSMN’ ‘Paperboy (Top Sync & Layer Mix)’. Like a modern Doris Norton song! Maybe they are related?”

Random Numbers

“Great record label, also responsible for one of my favourite 12-inches (and most played tracks) of the end of last year: Carcass Identity’s ‘Narrenschiff’. The track I selected here is by label-boss Carlo ‘BXP’, and it’s called ‘Islands-01’. The record will be out sometime in April. This song was the one who inspired the theme of my last NTS radio show!”

Gravity Graffiti

“Meeting Gravity Graffiti’s creator Riccardo Shiro and drinking together at La Taverna Azzurra in Palermo was one of the most amusing memories of Italy over last summer! ‘Sentire’ from Maledetti’s Ritmi EP is a track I rinsed and still really love. Another release I’ve had on repeat for a while is Lamusa II’s ‘Vago Libero’. Beautiful, beautiful album! Listen to Lamusa II’s ‘Variatio Ad Absurdum’.”

ISTHEWAY

“I.T.W. is a one man label venture run by Omar Contri (a.k.a. Shinoby). It’s been releasing zonking music since 2015! This label from Verona has been solely focusing on Shinoby’s output along with collaborations and remixes by the likes of Hypnobeat, Tzusing, Le Chocolat Noir, Hieroglyphic Being and more.

I played I.T.W. on Boiler Room, at Dekmantel, at Robot festival…I’d play I.T.W. at your funeral too. Keep an eye on this guy.”

MinimalRome

“A go to label for quality electro and acid techno, MinimalRome has been active since 2003. It’s owned by Feedback & Composite Profuse.

I highly recommend checking out the label’s back catalog—banging stuff! Although the track I selected here touches the softer side of M.R.’s music range…It’s part of the double LP compilation Trame Due from 2018.”