We know Marlene Stefanie Engel from the work she did for Soundframe Festival and recently for some of the most exciting nights Vienna has ever seen. Marlene organized the first show of Jacques Green, Disclosure and Kidnap Kid in Vienna, and yesterday she even rattled the pots and pans at the delectable new restaurant Zweitbester.
As far as we’re concerned, this is more than enough to declare this girl officially awesome. But on top of it all, she’s gone and started a label! It’s called Moun10, and their first release – an EP by the UK band Rounds – will be out on March 30th 2012. It features four tracks and two remixes, including one by L.A. producer Anenon, (whose first album will be out later this year on NON Projects) and another by Viennese veteran Fauna.
And of course, there’s going to be a release party. We’d advise you not to miss it!
Moun10 Release Party
March 30th 2012, Pratersauna
xxxy, Rounds, IVVVO and many more
Even though the life of independent labels is pretty fragile at the moment – and this is even more evident in Eastern Europe – there are several examples that demonstrate that with an ample dose of enthusiasm and perseverance, these imprints can continue to release records even after ten or more years. The Slovak label Deadred is case in point. Established at the dawn of the millennium, Deadred was set up by designer and bass player Martin Turzík and singer, guitar player and former medical student Richard Imrich.
The oldest DIY record label in Slovakia championed and nurtured the independent music scene in the country over the noughties with a diverse roster oscillating between beats, guitars and electronics. In 2008, a new phase in Deadred’s history was inaugurated after merging with the Prague-based label Starcastic. Deadred commemorates its ten years with a compilation featuring ten recent tracks by ten artists affiliated with this imprint, and among others, includes Foolk’s Oak Tree which has recently received radio airplay courtesy of the mighty Mary Ann Hobbs or the recent winner of the Apollo music awards Bonus (read our interview with him here).
City Surfer are a force to be reckoned with in the Prague club scene. Established in 2007 as a spontaneous idea of like-minded music-makers, the collective has since expanded and currently encompasses graphic designers, illustrators or fashion designers who collaborate between each other. Music, however, remains at the core of City Surfer. Last year they released a vinyl EP under the City Surfer label featuring tracks by projects affiliated with the collective – from Detroit techno and house oriented live act Popper-C, to inane funk combo Fremeni to electronics-inflected Ticho De Beige.
Their new gallery-cum-studio space, which will host exhibitions, listening evenings or screenings, situated in the sprawling Žižkov area of Prague will shed light on the workings of the City Surfers. And they start with style – with a Polaroid exhibition by programmer and photographer Martin Baar featuring the collective’s friends and Prague and Brno party lovers today, Thursday November 3, 2011 in Bo?ivojova 67.
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.”
alice mange son coeur is barely out of its infancy and it already has a 16-track compilation under its belt. The Prague imprint’s roster is not geo-specific, rather sourced from the limitless sonic hatchery that is the internet. Spice Mouse, an Estonian songstress with a penchant for fragile melodies, industrial pop flavoured Doe Eyes from Canada, a British singer/songwriter KEEL HER and distorted American electronician Feel Flesh all contribute with four tracks each. The four producers differ not only in origin but also in stylistic expression yet together carve out a specific aural aesthetics that is the heart and soul of this label.
You’re In My Blood by _alice mange son cœur