Tuesday, December 28, 2010

some of my best labels from 2010

ok, continuing along with my end of year stuff... same deal as the previous lists. this is all pretty subjective and incomplete. when it comes for labels, i am much more interested in quality than quantity. i don't care if a label only had a few releases, if they were very high quality, that's enough for me. also it is my list so it is going to differ a bit from some of the other ones floating about. there is plenty of stuff i just haven't listened to. anyway, here we go:

some of chris' best labels of 2010 (in random order)

raster-noton: i struggle to think of a label that has been consistently as good for such a long period of time as raster-noton. again, in 2010 they continued to push things forward in that unique raster style. senking's 'pong' is clearly one of the best albums of the year, ANBB's album was pretty strong, and the original EP even stronger. the kanding ray EP is top notch too. a lot of people rate the mark fell album, but i can't bring myself to check it. i have never been able to get into SND.

delsin / ann aimee: you gotta love these guys. nothing fancy, no big hype. just quality music on a remarkably regular basis. great EPs from delta funktionen especially, also redshape, brendon moeller, and finishing the year with an excellent remix EP of morphosis. i'll be surprised if they are not on my list again next year.

sandwell district / downwards: not sure whether these two should be separated or put together, but the way i view them SD and downwards are two different arms of basically the same enterprise / collective. the SD album is finally out, and it is an impressive album. earlier in the year there was the 2 part sampler, which was effectively an album in itself. SD are not remaking techno, they are definitely working within established genre structures, but they are pushing and pulling it in some interesting and distinctive ways. meanwhile downwards had the killer EP from sandra electronics (aka regis and silent servant), as well diverse and interesting releases from dva damas and six six seconds.

semantica: the quiet achievers of 2010. as i mentioned, my track of the year is the regis remix of svreca. the instra:mental EP is great, and they've had some quality tracks and remixes from serious names such as ERP, dettmann, silent servant, oscar mulero and claro intellecto. we should have a ssg special from label boss svreca early in 2011, which i am looking forward to!

kontra musik: this is another label that had a very strong year without too many people noticing. they started out with a great remix EP of jason fine, with oni ayhun and ben klock both giving excellent versions. add in one of my tracks of the year from gunnar jonsson, a gorgeous jason fine release and a very interesting effort from kondens. every release kontra had this year was worth picking up. you can't say that about many labels.

something in the sky: jeff mills returned in a big way in 2010 and the stuff he put out on his new sublabel was jeff back at his very best. powerful, spacey techno. millsart baby!

blackest ever black: ok, so they only had 2 releases, and these came out towards the end of the year. but every track across the 2 EPs is remarkably strong. and there are not many releases i've listened to more than these, so that's enough for me.

honest jon's: actress, t++, mvo were the ones i heard and loved. still got a couple of releases from these guys i need to check. hard to argue with the year they had. bold, innovative, interesting: honest jon's are doing it right.

i'll stop there. as i said, this is just my list, so it is missing plenty of labels that had a very good 2010. rush-hour had a very strong year no doubt. but to be blunt, i didn't listen to much of it. the only stuff i got from them - admittedly both excellent - was the virgo rerelease and the gorgeous bnjmn EP (if you can track this down, get yourself a copy). punch drunk put out some great music too, and mathematics had some gems (but they released too much). there were a couple of techno labels that had very solid years (notably T2X). saying that, there are some other labels that i've very consciously excluded. ostgut had a good year, not a great one, while the year r & s had was more hype than substance. also, given the tendency to focus on big labels, i'm surprised fabric hasn't gotten much love, considering some of the releases they've had this year: d-bridge & instra:mental, optimo, surgeon and shackleton. they've been pushing some interesting stuff... 

anyway, please add your picks in the comments. i'd be interested in hearing some smaller / less obvious labels that we might have missed.


  1. As small but fine Label: Perc Trax


  2. Good list boys. Old English Spelling Bee Hit the money foe me too this year too.

  3. I don't buy many releases ,but I've really liked what I've heard on LiveJam, Appointment, Restoration...have a few of their records.

    Also obligatory Further.

  4. I'll add editions mego and Type Records to that list. Everything I listened from them was from great to classic. Especially Type with Love is
    a dream/love is a stream and a long list of great albums.

  5. what? no Modern Love? claro? demdike stare? mlz? and its sister label daphne! c'mon mate. top notch dub techno! and yer missing the boat on the Dark Arx scene with artists such as gerry read, the aforementioned dark arx and binary sequence. deep dub/industrial techno/rolling bass joints. tip!

  6. with labels like old english spelling bee, mego editions, and modern love, i'm aware they've all had plenty of releases that people have rated highly, but i simply haven't had the chance to get to them, hence why i haven't included them in my list. i haven't properly explored demdike stare yet, i was waiting until all 3 of their albums for 2010 were out. now i plan to really get into them.

  7. Nice one - fully agreed these are some of the biggest hitting of 2010.

    We looked at some of the labels that keep re-appearing in our own mixes and came up with the following as our labels of 2010 :

    as noiseam
    acroplane recordings
    stroboscopic artefacts
    perc trax
    surface records
    arc / arcart
    frozen border / horizontal ground
    northern general
    planet mu

  8. Some more to add:

    Pattern Repeat
    Rush Hour
    A Made Up Sound
    Underground Quality
    Deeply Rooted House
    Soul People

  9. - "i haven't properly explored demdike stare yet"... i was quite surprised not to read more about them around here. wonderful stuff ! hope you'll catch up sometimes. i'd be curious to hear some weird occult mix from those guys one day. maybe here!

    - Honest Jon's : a heavenly place for open minds. I adore their 'Sprigs of Time' release, compiling unlikely 78's from the EMI archive, a real trip through space and time. Also got hold of the Candi Staton remixes by Pépé Bradock. like Hardwax would say : TIP.

    - Something in the Sky : Techno as Art. highly addictive.

  10. actually, there is a mix by Demdike Stare available
    here : http://www.modern-love.co.uk/mixes/6
    or here : http://soundcloud.com/modernlove/sets/demdike-stare-moving-metals/

  11. Hope this will get a mention in 2011 as well: http://www.orbisrecords.be


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