Labels We Love: Wireblock
- Words: Matt Earp
Every day this month we're rolling out a new feature on XLR8R's Labels We Love of 2009. Whether it's the eye-catching aesthetics of Type or the model-for-the-future approach of Interdependent Media, these cut-making selections of the best in underground electronic, indie, hip-hop, and experimental imprints punch way above their weight. Feast your eyes on the features and then download many of the labels' related podcasts here.
Three Glaswegian bassheads take zig-zaggin’ between genres to new heights.
Wireblock has been making some serious noise up north (in Scotland, that is) for the last two years. Breaking all sorts of artistic boundaries, they fuse the wonky sound of Rustie (they released his massive “Zig-Zag” track about a year ago) and Hudson Mohawke (whose four-track Ooops! was an instant hit) with techno/electro bangers from the likes of Lory D and Alex Cortex. The label was started “as an apple in the Glaswegian eye of brothers Neil and Calum, and myself as far back as 10 years ago,” says producer/co-label head Jack “Jackmaster” Revill. “Inspired in part by both crate-digging in the vinyl Mecca of Rubadub and by Glasgow’s tradition of partying hard, we release music that has a dancefloor energy—stuff that combines house and techno’s raw drive with hip-hop’s swagger to give you that fresh rush. But since we’re all big music lovers, nothing is ever off the table as long as it works in the club.” Their six-year-strong club night, Numbers, at Sub Club (produced in association with the Revill-owned Dress2Sweat and the Stuffrecords crew) is where the eclectic Wireblock vibe comes together. The night has featured both their own artists and DJs along with huge names like Autechre, Ghostface Killah, Modeselektor, Diplo, and Kode9. Huge releases are coming this fall on the label, as is a super-secret collaboration guaranteed to take it to the next level! Here’s a few of our recent favorites from the label.
“Glitch Dub” b/w “Nocturnal"
Wireblock’s first foray into straight U.K. funky. Emvee reps the north (Birmingham) and not London (the land of funky), and both of these tracks have an infectious, carnival-based buzz that makes them irresistible. Deep, chunky basslines and shuffling doonk-ka-chuck-ka beats merge with upbeat thumb-piano lines that bring the heat of Dakar into the chilly north with an energetic ease.
Bad Science EP
The king of digital wonk’s best release yet. Period. “Boundary pushing” doesn’t begin to do it justice, with each cut containing half an album’s ideas in it. “Bad Science” rocks the socks off any glitch/dubstep banger that’s ever been made, “Shadow Enter” sounds like it was created by a bunch of birds locked in a video arcade, and the “Zig-Zag Reprise” is so over the top it’ll have you moshing your brains out. A spooky “Zig Zig” remix by Heinrich Mueller of Drexciya shows just how deep Wireblock’s understanding of their electro/techno history is, and that track rounds out the EP nicely.
Ghosts on Tape
Predator Mode EP
One of San Francisco’s most exciting new voices finds a perfect home on Wireblock. The EP is a nice fusion of lo-fi thumps and insanely high production values. Ryan Merry’s tweaked-out sounds fall somewhere between reggaeton, dancehall, and techno, and tend to kill dancefloors every time. The three original cuts on the EP are rounded out by a great funky remix of “Predator Mode” by hot-as-hell producer Roska. Next-level stuff that demonstrates what the forward-thinking Wireblock sound is all about.
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