Posted +++ 13h41 +++ 11 April 2012 +++
"No artwork. No names. No digital copies, ever. And no repress, ever."
The third in a new series of unreliable blogs from our new nightlife correspondent, Spencer Parker.
Ok, it's April, Spring has nearly sprung (by which I mean it's snowing in certain parts of the UK and hailing and pissing it down in B Town) and it's time for some more waffle from me! So let's get into it, first up we have my
MY RECORD LABEL OF THE MONTH
I thought I'd make this months column all about the music (for once), as, all jokes, free meals and drinks tickets aside, that is the main reason I got into this "scene" and is undoubtedly the reason why I choose (and love) to remain here. If you were to pick a current label that was "all about the music" then you'd be hard pressed to beat Stablo. Already five releases deep, Stablo tracks have been continually charted by the sort of DJs renowned for keeping you dancing while also making you ask yourself, "what IS that record...?". I'm talking about people like Radio Slave, Cassy, Ricardo Villalobos and Ryan Elliot, to name just four. The kind of DJs that still go record shopping every week, and still search out hot new music, as opposed to sitting at home and swapping files of tracks they don't own with their Skype/iChat address book. And it's actually this lazy/fileswap type of mentality that Stablo seems to be totally against, which is probably why, along with releasing great records, they've gained such a huge following so quickly. You see, in the internet era of hype and bullshit, Stablo has chosen to do the exact opposite, and, ironically, found itself to have quickly become, to those that know, one of the most hyped labels around. The ethos behind Stablo is simple. No artwork. No names for the tracks. No naming of the artist (each release is by a different and anonymous artist). No digital copies, ever. And no repress, ever. Each release comes in an edition of 250-500 maximum, features one track per side of 160g (thick quality) vinyl and is presented in a shrink wrapped plain white sleeve with a black inner sleeeve (how many other 'white labels' just give us a tatty torn white sleeve?). You can tell every detail has been carefully thought out starting right from the production of the tracks, to the mastering and ending with the final product. There is no real promo service, no mailing of files to the "big guns" before the little people. They are made, approved, pressed and sent to a few select record shops for sale. That's it. And I for one, simply love this kind of attitude. Stablo don't have a Facebook page; they don't inundate you with updates to let you know that they're no.67 in the Beatport techy-deep-rolling-minimal-bass chart and they don't give copies to certain DJs 6 months before anyone else. They put the records out and everyone can buy them at the same time, a touch that I find, really rather sweet. Everyone is equal! Anyone anywhere can buy the tracks, you just have to be pretty quick off the mark due to there only being a limited press of each release. But that shouldn't be a problem, as this is a label for, and dedicated to, all the real DJs and enthusiasts out there. The people that search for new records all the time, that enthuse happily about the latest Andres track or FIXHE release and that buy records week in, week out, because its a passion of theirs. It's a label for DJs and fans of house music that know there ARE still great records being release every week. It's a label for people with a little more intelligence and taste than the thousands who browse digital only sites for 20 mins and moronically claim "there's nothing decent out at the moment". A label that supports the crate diggers and trainspotters, whether they're playing to 5000 people at Timewarp or 40 in a small bar in Kreuzberg. It's a label that releases music for musics sake, not to try and hype up "the brand", not to get more gigs, not to try and affiliate themselves with a certain club - simply to release dope tracks! And in this day and age, I think that's pretty admirable.
MY DJ OF THE MONTH
My DJ of the month is not someone I was particularly aware of before I moved to Berlin around 3 years ago, but after seeing him numerous times, in venues such as Panorama Bar, Watergate and the now defunct Bar 25, he quickly became one of my favourite's to go and hear. Fritz Zander is probably best known as being one half the duo Zander VT (alongside the equally excellent DJ and De:Bug scribe, Sven Von Thulen) who have released on labels such as Bpitch Control, Memo and Tuning Spork. But with both members of Zander VT now concentrating on solo projects, Fritz is simply continuing to do his thing - releasing, and playing, amazing records. The thing I really enjoy about hearing Fritz play is that, no matter what time he plays, he always seems to have the knack of tipping the night over the edge and into "party mode". And what's not to like about that?!?!?!? Whether I've seen him warming up the floor with ease at a secret loft party or tearing the life out of a heaving Watergate, where he is now resident, it's always done with a certain style and without the reliance of "safe" or well known tracks to keep the crowd happy. Whether he's playing disco, house or techno, without doubt, they'll always be one point during the night where I have peel myself off the dancefloor to enquire about the name of a certain record, as he's one of those rare DJs that can play new, old or unreleased tracks and make them all sound completely relevant to right now. And that's exactly why he's one of my fave's.
MY SINGLE OF THE MONTH
Andrés 'New For You'
Ok, ok, OK!! I know this track has been released a couple of months back, I picked up mine the day it was released, of course, but I really wanted to make it SOTM for a few different reasons. First of all, it is yet another vinyl only release, proving, as if proof was needed, that there are still so, so many great records that you can ONLY buy from your local or online record store. And you know that keeping record shops alive is a cause close to my heart! : ) Secondly, it's the first release on Andrés' new La Vida label, which, if the first release is anything to go by, could quite easily jump into the "favourite labels" section of my record bag pretty soon. And thirdly, it's just a phenomenally well made sample record, as you would expect from the DJ of Slum Village. I've always loved sample tracks when they've been done well, whether it was early releases on Crydamoure and Roulé, DJ Sneak cutting up The Jacksons on Henry Street or Pepe Braddock delivering one of my all time favourite tracks in the shape of the sublime "Deep Burnt". And I'd dearly love to hear even more sample based tracks, if they're of the quality of "New For You". In my mind this could easily be a huge track over the summer months and I'm sure that in certain cities and clubs around the world, it will be. Let's just hope it doesn't get swallowed up by a larger label looking for some cred points who then whack on an awful vocal and/or commission some woefully ill advised remixes. But knowing that Andrés is a part of a certain Moodymann's Mahogani Music label, I don't think that should be too much of a concern ... ;)
MY RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH
I've been lucky enough to have some great meals this month including a stormer at a relatively new joint in Berlin called La Raclette, for my beloved girlfriend's birthday. Now, my girlfriend is French, and if there's one thing I (very rapidly learnt) about French women, it's that they don't take any shit, and that food is a serious business! So, it was with more than a little trepidation that I booked a table at Keruzberg's La Raclette. But I needn't have worried as this place is nothing short of amazing. A pretty small place with low lights, a wood fire in the corner, faultless (French speaking) waitresses and great food. I had a phenomenal steak tartare (pictured - told you the lighting was low) as a starter and the rest of the food blurred by in a haze of happy taste buds, a very happy girlfriend and a fair bit of red wine. It's not exactly cheap but is, without doubt, excellent value for money and undoubtedly less than you would pay for the same meal in London or Paris. If you live in Berlin or happen to be visiting, check it out!
MY CLASSIC OF THE MONTH
As it's all about the music this month (ok, and a bit of food, jeeeez, a man's gotta eat!) I thought I'd share a favourite classic of mine. And, as I spoke briefly about great sample records, what better way to end the column for this month than with THIS courtesy of Daddy Ash.
MY BLATANT SELF PROMOTION OF THE MONTH
Lots of fun times this month in far flung places such as Heilbronn and Geneva to name just a couple. Was also nice to make my debut at Berlin's own legendary Tresor club too! Up next I'll be playing for the first time at Snowbombing in Austria and returning to Berlin's infamous Panorama Bar to play alongside DJ Deep and Radio Slave for a Cabin Fever party. I'll also be returning to Paris and playing for the excellent Concrete crew alongside Norman Nodge, Xhin and Virginia. If you really want to know what my DJ sets sound like then I've recently updated my Soundcloud with lots more punishment for your pod. Production wise, my latest release is out now on Rekids, I have a new single due on Tokyo's Apt. International label and some new material from myself and Ian Pooley should be forthcoming very soon too. Bye!
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