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Labels We Love 2013

Labels You Love: The Top 20 Labels, as Voted by XLR8R Readers

Throughout the week, the XLR8R editorial staff has spent a lot of time touting t… Read more »

Labels We Love: 10 More of Our Favorite Labels, Along with a Few Newcomers Worth Watching

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series. After putting together a few in-depth Labels We Love features about some of our favorite labels, we quickly realized that we wouldn't be able to give all of our favorite imprints that kind of attention this week. Nevertheless, we still wanted to shine a little light on some additional labels that have been particularly strong in 2013. Although this list—which is simply being presented in alphabetical order—certainly doesn't contain the names of every single imprint that we're fond of, it does account for the 10 labels whose output has truly been head and shoulders above the rest of the pack during the past year. And though it was extremely difficult to whittle our choices down to just 10 selections, we couldn't bring ourselves to end the Labels We Love list-making there. After all, a lot of impressive new imprints have popped up on our radar during the past 12 months, often out of nowhere, so we wanted to give a bit of attention to four newbies whose initial output has been especially full of promise. … Read more »

Labels We Love: Tresor

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series. Comeback stories in music are rare. Burnout and obsolescence, especially in techno, are the norm. So what explains the improbable rise, fall, and rise again of Tresor, the German brand that includes a label, a club, and a signature vibe that stretches across the Atlantic and binds the two most important cities in the history of 4/4 dance music? … Read more »

Hi-Five: Gerd Janson Looks Over the Running Back Catalog and Selects a Few of the Most Memorable Releases

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series. Running Back is often hailed as a DJs' label, but that notion sells the long-running German imprint short. Founded in 2002, the label has built an impressive catalog over the past decade, and has incredibly done so without relying upon a core crew of artists. Embracing a different model, Running Back has become a place where top-flight producers—including Todd Terje, Theo Parrish, Move D, Redshape, Tensnake, Mark E, and numerous others—deliver one-off efforts, many of which have proven to be standouts in those artists' discographies. Given Running Back's excellent track record, it's not much of a surprise that the imprint has once again been included in our Labels We Love coverage, but this year, we wanted to dig a little deeper, which is why we've asked label head Gerd Janson—who's a stellar DJ in his own right—to participate in a special edition of our Hi-Five series. Per our request, he's taken a look back at the Running Back catalog and selected five releases that were particularly memorable in the label's history. … Read more »

Podcast 317: Bill Kouligas' PAN Mix

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series. Although many labels have had an impact on the sound of 2013, there aren't many imprints that have been more influential than PAN. Though the Berlin-based label has been releasing music since 2008, within the past year or two, its dark and unique blend of techno, industrial, noise, and various experimental sounds has solidified into a sort of template, albeit one that's still incredibly difficult to define in any sort of concrete fashion. As with many of the best labels, it's hard to describe exactly what a PAN record sounds like, but there's undoubtedly a connective thread that holds all of its releases together. In hopes of examining that thread a little more closely, we've enlisted label founder Bill Kouligas to put together an exclusive mix consisting of nothing but PAN material, and have elected to debut it as part of our Labels We Love coverage. … Read more »

Labels We Love: Ghostly International

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series. Before there was a Ghostly International label, there was the logo. A simple caricature of a ghost, it wasn't too far off from the bad guys that appear in Pac-Man, its eyes wide and vacant, with a jagged run of triangular cuts along the bottom. As a teenager, Sam Valenti IV, the founder of Ghostly, would put it on mix CDs and roughly mixed compilations of his own production work when he was just beginning to DJ and produce. "I Was DJ Spaceghost in high school," Valenti says. "I liked 'ghostly' as a word. I liked that it was two syllables. I liked that it was an adjective as a brand—you're describing it. Ghostly can take on different feelings. It can be positive. It can be negative. It felt right." … Read more »

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