Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spanish labels

A brief tour of some recent and/or interesting releases on some Spanish electronic labels or by Spanish artists.

ERP and Semantica Records

Event Related Potential (ERP) is Gerard Hanson, better known for his work under the Convextion moniker, whose old school Detroit-styled techno and IDM have been gracing discs for years. Madrid’s Semantica Records label recently released the third insallment of his Evoked Potentials series, again on clear vinyl with their usual attention to design and mystery. One side weaves and flickers in neon-tinted paranoia while the other cruises more sublimely through some retro-futuristic downtown. Pure urban music.

ERP also released earlier this year some remixes of classic techno act Hardfloor on their own eponymous label. Beguilingly fresh sounding despite its homage to the past, it is slow, derelict acid at its best.

One of Hardfloor’s first tacks was 1992s “Drug overlord” which inspired David Sumner aka Function to name his first creative outing Overlord. Two of Semantica’s best releases so far actually feature Sandwell District’s Silent Servant. One of the remixes of the year was Oscar Mulero’s version of “El Mar” while this year saw a second set of remixes by Svreca (Madrid-based DJ Enrique Mena).

Eduardo de la Calle and Analog Solutions

Despite being born in Madrid, Eduardo de la Calle also has a serious Detroit sound. He was even seen spotted recently sporting a balaclava and Metroplex shirt on the front of a trinity of eps. This year he has peppered the shelves with a heavy run of 12”s on his Analog Solutions imprint that have garnered something of a cult following in Spain and are steadily appearing in DJ charts and the odd podcast. Eduardo’s style is vivacious and his attitude always smart, but never condescending. There is a good sense of humour behind even the sternest tracks that make them approachable as well as functional.

Analog Solutions 009 - My Own Transition by EduardoDeLaCalle

But there is more than just peak time drama as the B-side “Flamenco Sketches” shows. Down beat, suave and with patient production, it highlights the range of powers at hand.

Analog Solutions 009 - Flamenco Skeches by EduardoDeLaCalle

Chaval Records

Madrid-based Chaval Records haven’t released anything this year, which is hopefully not a bad sign, but their small roster to date has included Eduardo de la Calle as well as other Spanish artists like Victor Santana, DJ F (aka Flavio Tortora), Boris Saez (under the Shadow Runner name) and the previously mentioned Oscar Mulero, under his unusual Trolley Route identity. The label’s aim seems to be the darker zones between Detroit techno and deep house: mechanistic, but sensual. The emphasis is on percussive and melodic force, where the two elements will not compete, but rather complement each other for a tighter, more breathless power.

Hivern Disc and John Talabot

Catalan DJ and producer John Talabot has been on a long and deserving high since the release of his landmark "Sunshine" on local label Hivern Disc back in 2009. Laidback, catchy and deeply organic, Talabot has since expanded his palette in all directions, largely for Indie/House label Permanent Vacation, but this year also saw him find a home on Young Turks. One track in particular off this ep caught my attention, the B1 track “Lamento” which seemed to be another new step, hitching his house sound closer to UK Funky, in particular labels like 50 Weapons and Night Slugs.

But Hivern Disc have also proved they are more than just one hit wonders. Now with more than ten releases, a momentum is well and truly building behind the label. Their latest releases also further their enhance their collectability, arriving in 7” and a 10” format with screen printing and featuring remixes by Talabot, Aster and Marc Piñol, another local producer.

The Suicide of Western Culture

Forged somewhere between Fuck Buttons and more pop-orientated post-rock electronica lies the Barcelona group The Suicide of Western Culture. Their debut came out last year on Barcelona-based label Irregular who’s parent label Regular is more associated with house and techno artists like Pablo Bolivar, Iñaqui Marin and the Monkey Brothers. The sweetness of the melodies is beguiling when contrasted to the dark track titles (like “A forest of greyhounds hanged”) and the heavier gravity of noise that pulls from beneath each track until all is overwhelmed.  Simple and effective and with an awesome live reputation.

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