Whether fish or fowl, non-vegetarians know that food tastes better uncaged. Apparently, Jamie Odell also knew this when he began gathering his cast of animals for the Freerange Records label 10 years ago. Starting with releases by his own Jimpster and Audiomontage aliases, Odell followed with singles and albums from Sweden's Stateless, Ohio's Hanna, and the UK's Trevor Loveys. Now the farm has a diverse population that includes Square One's dream-tech, Only Freak's retro house, Shur-I-Kan's intelligent future jazz, and Switch's punchy beats.
Odell explains that the London-based label has evolved from its eclectic downtempo- and jazz-influenced beginnings into more club-friendly, deep house sounds. But the last decade hasn't been all tasty eggs and fine meat; the liquidation of their main distributor, Ideal, nearly put them under, says Odell. "We, as well as the artists, lost a lot of money. So we re-focused on what we were trying to do and luckily pulled through it." Part of regrouping meant coping with the digital era, but Odell promises that Freerange's music is now available "on any one of the million or so download sites."
With fans from SF to Helsinki tuned in to the Freerange empire, Odell and Co. seem poised for another decade. But the question remains: Have the artists on the label actually visited a free-range farm? "Oh yes," Odell replies, "but we prefer the funny farm!"
Jimpster's Essential Freerange Releases
1. Switch "Get Ya Dub On"
2. Audiomontage Fun Kit EP
3. Only Freak "Can't Get Away from Your Love"