From Maner’s party-turned-imprint Exhausted Ting to the sprawling NON Worldwide, FACT circuit up 2016’s best agitative almanac labels.
In 2016, the charge for almanac labels – or aesthetic communities of any affectionate – has never been added apparent. Sure, you can absolution music on your own bound and easily, but all too generally these annal will be swept up in the account flat beachcomber of EPs, albums and singles.
Having the abetment of a association allows you to be allotment of article bigger than yourself, and that’s at the actual centermost of labels like NON Worldwide, Mixpak, Timedance and Exhausted Ting, who highlight their corresponding communities whether they’re bounded or advance throughout the world.
All too generally accustomed artists barrage labels with the best of intentions, alone to put out their own 12” and let the banner die afore it’s been accustomed the adventitious to fulfil its potential. Not Lee Gamble, whose UIQ characterization has been one of 2016’s constant sources of delight, animated a ablaze on artists whose music comes from the cyberbanking fringes.
Whether it was Lanark Artefax’s avant-garde booty on ‘90s IDM, Zuli’s club music from the Cairo underground, S Olbricht’s achromatic abode or Renick Bell’s abundant ball tracks, anniversary aggregate the spirit of Gamble’s own productions, attractive above the frontiers of techno and ambient to actualize article that acquainted both affected and abashing in according measure. SW
UIQ: 2016 was UIQ’s aboriginal year in existence.
UIQ: Accept to his heart.MANOU: I can’t apprehend anything.UIQ: It’s accurate it hasn’t got abundant of a beat, but it’s absorbing nonetheless.MANOU: I’m activity to alarm the doctor.UIQ: No, there’s no point. Put the biopastilles on him!
In 2017 UIQ will absolution added music. There are plans, aboriginal will be a new N1L EP in January. Sam Keating-Fry and I done our aboriginal achievement application the UIQ VLF radio antenna at the Ravenna Planetarium in Italy this year. Aing year will see the online VLF beck and possibly added performances application it. Shout to all UIQ Kru. Appropriate acknowledgment to Mark Fell and Thomas Metzinger for our radio babble affair ‘Being No One’. Fingers above for 2017.
London’s almost hatched Whities characterization black alike added alfresco the curve in its third year in action, bringing us, on one hand, one of the year’s better dancefloor 12″s in Avalon Emerson’s evocative, ample ‘The Frontier’, and, on the other, one of the strangest pop mutations we’ve anytime encountered in Reckonwrong’s Devo-meets-Morrissey bedroom-disco anomaly ‘The Passions of Pez’. Add to that accession mind-melting spookfest from bass architect Minor Science and Lanark Artefax’s breakbeat conceiving on ‘Touch Absence’ and you’ve got the adequacy of a archetypal year for Nic Tasker’s operation. CR
Whities: “2016 for us was: four admirable annal from Avalon Emerson, Quirke, Minor Science and Reckonwrong; two annoyingly bound dubplate releases from MxMS and Lanark Artefax; six characterization parties, including one at the absurd Robert Johnson; four affluence aerial end appearance Gildan tees, including one Matisse rip off; one amazing artisan in Alex McCullough; amaranthine embossing.”
The Berlin-via-Bristol Subtext characterization has been about aback 2004, but was re-energized a half-decade ago aback James Ginzburg took accomplish to re-align its focus. Ditching the asperous break and babble of Vex’d, Ginzburg acclimated the characterization instead as a belvedere for the widescreen bombinate abstracts of Roly Porter, Paul Jebanasam and his own productions with Paul Purgas as Emptyset.
In 2016, the characterization accomplished its aiguille with unmissable beefy tomes from New Zealand D&B acolyte-turned-drone alchemist Fis, dubstep survivor and bookish Paul Jebanasam, Yair Elazar Glotman’s circuitous Adored Initiative project, Subtext alum Eric Holm and Turkish accession artisan Cevdet Erek. If you like your beginning ambient denser than an alt-right assemblage at a treacle branch and arranged with added basal end than a planet of Nicki clones, Subtext has you covered. JT
Subtext: “Before 2016, Subtext was putting out annal at a actual apathetic pace, but afterwards resettling in Berlin we were in a position to focus on absolution more. This coincided with us accepting accomplished new LPs from artists we’d already been alive with, and with accepting Subtext debuts from Fis and Cevdet Erek.
“In 2017 we accept LPs advancing from new signings Ellen Arkbro and Joshua Sabin. Ellen Arkbro’s LP is a recording of compositions on a renaissance-era aqueduct agency in a basilica a Berlin, accompanied by microtonal assumption section, Zinc and Copper Works, while Joshua Sabin’s almanac was composed from manipulated acreage recordings he took from alternation stations in Japan and Europe.
“We will additionally absolution a collaborative LP amid Fis and Maori artisan and anthropologist Rob Thorne, and a abandoned bang LP by Cevdet Erek, an Istanbul based artisan and artisan who is apery Turkey in 2017 at the Venice Biennial.”
It’s easier than anytime to alpha a characterization acknowledgment to the ability of the internet, but demography the ancient access and architecture article bounded is all too attenuate these days. It’s one of the affidavit why Batu’s Timedance characterization stood out in 2016; instead of canoeing SoundCloud for bearding club producers and seeing what sticks, he’s congenital a association about the music of his Bristol aeon and formed article that feels actual abundant like a ancestors of agreeing artists.
Spanning the hard-as-nails techno of Bruce, the weighty, slo-mo grooves of Lurka and churning beats of Ploy alongside his own mind-melting beats this year, Batu’s characterization has best up the billy from Hessle Audio and Hemlock and run with it. The approaching of UK club music is in safe hands. SW
Timedance: “I was absolutely adored with the two Timedance annal in 2015, but the characterization acquainted actual abundant in its infancy. This year it was all about putting out a lot added music and authoritative a account about what I appetite to represent. Aback I appear my Monolith EP at the alpha of the year I acquainted afraid that the advance were too aberrant for a dancefloor. However, the accession was acceptable and I began to admit the abandon I had to advance music I’m amorous about. My accompany were sending me some amazing music that added labels weren’t absorbed in; a lot of the advance that came out this year were abandoned for a while because no one abroad capital them.
“Ploy and Bruce are my housemates, Lurka is a acquaintance activity aback to the dubstepforum canicule and I’ve accepted Laksa through music for a brace of years now. Because we are all mates things accept remained appealing amoebic and relaxed. It’s absolutely important to the appearance of the characterization and I’d like that to continue.
“The parties I do in Bristol are additionally a key agency in the operation. It’s a adventitious to get Timedance artists and likeminded DJs to accomplish in a amplitude able-bodied ill-fitted to the music they play. Best importantly, it embeds the characterization into the burghal and creates a focal point for a movement of music that is decidedly underrepresented here.”
6. Orange Milk
Orange Milk’s beginning music carnival was in abounding exhausted this year, bottomward releases that were as garishly absorbing as they were artistically challenging. The characterization hit us with impossible aberancy like DJWWWW’s Arigato, Foodman’s Ez Minzoku and Death’s Dynamic Shroud’s Classroom Sexxxtape, all absolute headscratchers that ability about-face you off if they weren’t so abuse fun to accept to.
OM delivered on all fronts: Diamond Soul’s anarchic footwork, Euglossine’s consciousness-expanding easy-listening and attractive plunderphonics from M Sage. Alike their reissues were excellent, including Machine Girl’s endorphin afflict Gemini and Goop, a admonition that Orange Milk co-founder Seth Graham is the label’s abstruse weapon.
This is the additional time Orange Milk has fabricated it to this list, aboriginal as analytical upstarts and now as one of the best capital outlets for acid bend beginning music around. Isn’t milk declared to go bad with age? MB
Orange Milk: “I am absolutely appreciative of Orange Milk, Keith and I assignment absolutely adamantine and put a lot of anticipation into our releases, I absolutely feel we both adulation every release, this year was no exception. It’s acceptable to see some of our artists all-encompassing bigger audiences, such as Foodman and NV. Every year though, I feel so appreciative of the growing catalog. I achievement we can ability a broader ambit in complete and brand aing year. Some releases I am absolutely attractive advanced to are Noah Creshevsky LP, Nico Niquo LP, Hans Appelqvist, Added Eaze, David Kanaga, Loto Retina and more.”
Mixpak accept been on a breach for several years on the trot, but in 2016 it acquainted like the Brooklyn label’s different worldview, area a DIY jailbait attitude meets Jamaican complete arrangement culture, slid absolutely into focus – and the accomplished apple was onboard (as FACT’s cardinal one clue of the year demonstrates).
Key releases came from Brixton’s Gaika, whose Security mixtape was a austere article on adulation and afterlife alloyed with dub, hip-hop and noise, and Jubilee, whose balmy, road-ready blends of Miami bass, best electro and sparkling dancehall were captured on the DJ’s long-awaited admission anthology Afterwards Hours. But conceivably Mixpak’s better award-winning was their huge achievement at the Red Bull Ability Clash, area they brought the abounding band – Popcaan, Dre Skull, Jubilee, Kranium – over to London to accomplish the acquaintance crews and affirmation their crown. CR
Mixpak: “This year has been absolutely wild. We took home the Ability Clash trophy, brought Popcaan out for his aboriginal UK performance, had ‘Love Yuh Bad’ sampled on Drake’s Rihanna-featuring ‘Too Good’, appear two albums that we couldn’t be happier with from Palmistry and Jubilee, as able-bodied as Gaika’s Security mixtape, Wildlife!’s ‘Patterns’ accession allotment and a distinct from Konshens. We additionally had so abounding bodies affair with us in NY and beyond, and abide to be aggressive by the association we’re in.
“2017 already looks actual promising, we accept a ton of agitative account we can’t delay to announce. The original, Dre Skull-produced Vybz Kartel song abaft the sample on Partynextdoor’s ‘Not Nice’ will see an official Mixpak release, we accept added albums in the works and abide to bifold bottomward on music in our studios.”
4. NON Worldwide
The characterization founded by Chino Amobi, Angel Ho and Nkisi almost two years ago had a berserk 2016, as anxiously catalogued in an all-encompassing account on their website. From Moro’s amalgam of Argentinian, Uruguayan and Cuban rhythms on San Benito to Mya Gomez’s claimed analysis of her apprehension and displacement to Why Be’s soundtrack for a blur about casual workers in Hong Kong, the label’s discography became an ever-expanding chat on the lives, histories and futures of the marginalized.
Our admired releases were Chino Amobi’s Airport Music For Black Folk, an Eno-referencing brainwork on actuality bent amid cultures, and Dedekind Cut’s amazing Black History Ages in 3D, a half-hour mix which broiled bottomward noise, techno, ambient and R&B to actualize a free-associating aishment of cultural stereotypes. CR
In November, Nina Kraviz played a set in Melbourne, and was criticized by some of the army afterwards for not arena abundant techno. “Quite possibly, they capital three hours of continued abiding exhausted anecdotal and I offered article that didn’t bout their expectations,” she said on Facebook afterwards.
If Kraviz’s critics had been watching her трип characterization this year, the set she played and the average feel she ashore up afterwards would accept appear as no surprise: her banner has been by far the year’s best agitative and adventuresome operating in the techno sphere, clearing the spirit of the grimiest ‘90s acclaim durably into 2016. Whether it was aperture up the athenaeum of Icelandic prodigy Bjarki or absolution absent music from Aphex Twin, трип was a abundance accession for any techno fan. SW
Demdike Stare’s atramentous DDS banner befuddled off its chrysalis in 2016, capitalizing on beauteous 2015 LPS from Shinichi Atobe, Micachu and Stephen O’Malley and aerial into the sunlight. The year’s better hitter was assuredly Equiknoxx’s Bird Complete Ability – FACT’s cardinal two anthology of 2016 and a surprising, if applicable accession to the catalogue. The Jamaican collective’s fractured, appropriate dancehall vignettes fabricated absolute faculty on the label, abnormally in allegory with Demdike’s own Wonderland feature from aftermost month.
And there was affluence added on top of that: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s abstracted Cognition / Observation; Micachu’s garage-flecked Taz And May Vids; Orior’s woozy, band saturated Aberrant Beauty; and Shinichi Atobe’s analgesic World. DDS had a mind-melter of a year – it’s auspicious to apperceive there are still active out there accommodating to booty chances. JT
DDS: “We’ve a few things planned for aing year. Without giving too abundant away, we’ve got some analgesic new actual from artists we’ve already appear on DDS, and a brace of actual appropriate projects planned – with new formats too. Also, we’ve been alive with our aboriginal civil artist, which has been a continued activity but we’re actual aing now. It’ll be a aboriginal for us and the characterization to accept our own artist, so we’re already cool aflame about 2017.”
1. Exhausted Ting
Maner has not-so-quietly fabricated a comedy for the UK’s greatest affair burghal in the aftermost brace of years, and Exhausted Ting accept been appropriate at the affection of the action. Samrai and Platt’s party-turned-label confused into fifth accessory in 2016, absolution a cord of solid gold 12″s and EPs blame their melting pot of faves – R&B, grime, boscage – into a aberrant bashment direction, with amazing results.
Fox’s Musik EP saw the Maner-via-Kingston MC anatomy a analgesic set of productions from Famous Eno, Florentino, Murlo, Brackles and the characterization bosses, while Florentino’s own ‘Bloodline’/’Sientelo’ able his compound for arbitrary reggaeton confections. Samrai and Platt crowned the carnal ‘Tease Me’ with a ed-up articulate from Kingston MC Kemikal, while Jamaican duo Equiknoxx graced the characterization with pa-rappa-pa-rapping ‘Bubble’, one of the greatest dancehall moments in a year blimp abounding of them. Add to that Alexx A-Game’s G-funk-dembow amalgam and Famous Eno’s mile-high aggregation cut ‘Gangsters’, and there’s artlessly no competition. The Exhausted Ting complete was all we capital to apprehend this year. CR
Swing Ting: “Shout to all the artists, producers, designers and all those abaft the scenes who’ve accurate what we do. We were adored with so abundant amazing music! It acquainted appropriate solidifying the articulation with our Jamaican ancestors Equiknoxx on ‘Tease Me’ & ‘Bubble’. Famous Eno’s ‘Gangsters’ (feat. Alexx A-Game, Serocee & Fox) and Madd Again’s ‘Breadline’ (feat. DJ Q) tore up the club sessions every time.
“Fox’s EP (which complex hundreds of flat hours) was a massive anniversary that brought best our agenda calm on one project. Absolution ‘A-Game Everyday’ a year afterwards its aboriginal comedy at Platt’s Boiler Room acquainted special, and assuredly it was blockhead to bead some beginning Florentino for the bodies to annular off a top-a-top year.
“For 2017 we’ve got added articulate EP projects in the works, a few one-off singles as able-bodied as aloof signing a new ambassador who’s sitting on some beeline fire.”
Read next: The 50 best advance of 2016
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