Labels We Love 2008: Part 3

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If you’re reading XLR8R you probably already own ’nuff albums on XL or Domino, Def Jux and Lex artists have repeatedly rocked your headphones, and you know what’s coming out on Minus or Stones Throw before we do. So this year–our seventh time loving on labels–we focus on labels we’ve (mostly) never quizzed before. For the next six weeks, we'll catch up with brash new dancefloor igniters Fool’s Gold and Dress 2 Sweat, techno champions Mobilee and Traum, and the dubstep damage squad: Hyperdub, Tectonic, Hot Flush. We'll revel in cosmic disco from Ghent and New Jersey, and applaud local pride from Los Angeles to Dublin. And since some of the labels we love are more obscure than, say, Sub Pop or DFA, we'll feature a new artist each week from one of the selected labels. This week talk to Peverelist, a Tectonic artist that gets Punch Drunk off that deep and dubby Bristol bass.Vivian Host and Ken Taylor

View more photos here.

Mule Musiq
Weirdo disco and ambient house make for an “ass”-kicking good time.

Founders: Toshiya Kawasaki (also owns Mule Electronic and Endless Flight)
Location: Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan
Best-known artists: Kuniyuki Takahashi, Force of Nature, Henrik Schwarz
Funny story: Unfortunately, we don’t have any funny stories.
Favorite label: Blue Note
Happy-hour spot: Bar Track, near Ebisu Station, is my favorite whiskey bar. It’s where I take my friends who come from overseas.
Label mascot: A stuffed Pink Panther.
Biggest disaster: Nothing yet.
Upcoming: A Kuniyuki remix single; a new single from Koss (Kuniyuki’s other project), with remixes from Âme and Betty Botox (JD Twitch’s re-edit project); a solo mix CD from KZA (Force of Nature); and a new Terre Thaemlitz album.

Exploring the murky depths of IDM, dubstep, and aquatic sub-bass.

Founders: Paul Rose and El Sid (now departed)
Location: London, England (and Berlin and Boston)
Best-known artists: Scuba, Boxcutter, Benga & Walsh
Funny story: We don’t have funny stories at Hotflush–we are a serious label. Very serious. Very.
Favorite labels: Skull Disco, Hessle Audio, Scion Versions
Happy-hour spot: Everyone who works for the label lives in different cities so we don’t really have one! We have virtual beers on AIM.
Label mascot: The weirdly angled wall that screws up my mixdowns.
Biggest disaster: The metalwork to a ton of our releases got lost. That was great.
Upcoming: The next in our series of free mix downloads, techno and dubstep remixes from the Scuba album, and a very good brand new artist.

Bassbin-shattering future dub for the dark and moody.

Founders: DJ Pinch, with help from Ginz, Fidz, and Jabba
Location: Bristol, U.K.
Best-known artists: 2562, Cyrus, DJ Pinch
Funny story: Cyrus and I got to walk the red carpet to the London film premiere of Children of Men (we both had Tectonic tracks feature in the film, hence the invite). I did my best to hide the fact that I’d sprained my ankle, walking with a bit of a pimped-out rude-boy swagger. The photographers were quick to stop taking photos when we got near...
Favorite label: Basic Channel. They went against the norms of typical record label practices and put out some of the most incredible sounds I’ve ever heard. I love how they left each release fairly anonymous and as soon as they reached a degree of popularity, shut up shop and moved on to something else.
Happy-hour spot: We’re all glad to see the back of one another come
6 p.m.
Label mascot: Two evil cats, Neep and Parsnip, plague the office from time to time. They hope to take over one day–you can see it in their eyes.
Biggest disaster: The aforementioned cats pull the phone cord from the wall socket in the middle of important international telephone calls.
Upcoming: Skream’s “Head Banger,” remixes of DJ Pinch’s “Get Up feat. Yolanda,” and Tectonic Plates Vol. 2 later in the year.

Illegal Art
Girl Talk’s homebase slaps copyright cops in the face.

Founder: Philo T. Farnsworth
Location: Bloomington, IL
Best-known artists: Steinski, Girl Talk, Wobbly (And we once had a compilation that included Public Enemy by permission.)
Funny story: The Australian artist B’O’K (Buttress O’Kneel) only communicates with me through another person, so I’m not even sure if she really exists or is the creation of this other individual, who also operates under an alias.
Favorite labels: Blackbean and Placenta Tape Club. It no longer exists, but the guy who ran it inspired me and answered all my questions about running a label. I loved their philosophy and approach. I wish we were as cool as them.
Happy-hour spot: We have kids. Happy hour doesn’t happen. We do love the traditional Mexican food at El Porton on Main Street.
Label mascot: Our water frog, Clover.
Biggest disaster: We got caught with a manufacturer for samples and they confiscated all of the printed parts they had already made. They then forced me to write a letter saying that I had misinterpreted copyright law and that I now recognized the error of my ways. If I didn’t sign the document they threatened to not return our money for the parts they had yet to make and would report us to the RIAA.
Upcoming: Girl Talk’s new album is out this month.

Wagon Repair
Cheeky house and techno pushes jazz and dub’s buttons.

Founders: Mathew Jonson, Jesse Fisk, and Graham Boothby
Location: Originally from Vancouver; now half-based in Berlin
Best-known artists: Cobblestone Jazz, Konrad Black, The Mole
Funny story: We were having a house party at Mathew Jonson’s summer flat in Berlin. He was on the sixth floor of the building and had an industrial crane to move heavy things up and down the side of the building. We strapped The Mole into a window-washing harness and he climbed up the side of the building from the ground floor! It was crazy, to say the least.
Favorite label: !K7. They release Cobblestone Jazz digitally and on CD, while we take care of vinyl.
Happy-hour spot: Irish Heather in Vancouver’s Gastown. It seems like half the time we are in the city it’s at this place drinking Guinness and Jameson whiskey.
Label mascot: We don’t need a mascot. We’re all fucking maniacs.
Biggest disaster: Trashing our record booth at Sonar was fun.
Upcoming: Albums from Luca Bacchetti and Deadbeat & Tikiman, plus more records from Hrdvsion, Minilogue, Sex Trothler, Loose Change, and more.

Featured Artist:

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If drum & bass and breakbeat science formed the basis of rhythmic danger throughout the 1990s, it’s the rumble and swing of producers like Bristol’s Peverelist (a.k.a. Tom Ford) that carries on the tradition. Drawing from U.K. garage, jungle, and the hypnotic end of techno, Peverelist is unquestionably a dubstep artist, yet his tracks diverge from the half-step plod that became standard in the scene last year. Instead, Peverelist’s propulsion comes from broken, rolling kicks and staggered chords, an effect that seemingly shifts chunks of rhythm right off the grid.

“The dubstep scene grew up on jungle, garage, drum & bass, and grime–that’s what we all have in common,” says Ford. “It’s the U.K. soundsystem culture that’s the heritage of the scene, and [I think] we’re all on quite a futurist vibe. But I guess my sound is more jungle-inspired… more bass-driven.”

Bristol boasts a laundry list of producers operating on the experimental fringes of dubstep–artists like Skull Disco’s Appleblim and Shackleton, Tectonic’s Pinch, and new talent like RSD and Forsaken, who Ford has released on his own label, Punch Drunk. You can often find any combination of these producers DJing at Rooted Records, the mythologized specialty shop Ford operates.

“It amazes me how people so far away can be so into and so knowledgeable about something which I see as small and localized,” marvels Ford. “I’m just making beats in my bedroom to play to my mates at dances in Bristol! And if people in the U.S. or anywhere else are into it, that’s great. Maybe this is the next chapter?” Brandon Ivers