Saturday 27 December 2008


It’s been a formidable year for Peverelist’s label, and one that has seen it cement its reputation as a label truly at the forefront of bold sonic endeavour. With every release comes a different sound or style, and yet all of them are strangely cohesive when considering the imprint’s progressive attitude toward sound. A lot of Peverelist’s own musical identity is understandably inherent within the label’s programming, but there’s no clear-cut definition to what the label will release next, perhaps the hallmark of a truly great imprint.

Whether it’s the steely echoes and shuddering synths of Peverelist’s Clunk Click Every Trip, the staccato onslaught of Gemmy’s Bass Transmitter, the raw soundsystem styles of RSD’s Jah Way or the half-whispered sinister intentions of Pinch’s Dr.Carlson, the broad base of textures available on Punch Drunk has made it a buy on sight record label – without a single dip in quality for well over two years now, we look forward to what jewels they will bring to the surface in 2009.


After the release of Underwater Dancehall at the tail end of 2007, Pinch’s label continued to forge an unswerving path through the increasing mediocrity becoming apparent in Dubstep. The shimmering, hypnotic melody of Peverelist’s Infinity Is Now and the vital release of 2562’s album Aerial were both incredible highlights in a year that also saw the label give us the striding crunch of Skream’s Hedd Banger as well as the urgent skittering bleeps of Pinch’s Joyride. Tectonic continues to offer up the best examples of the genre and long may it continue.


Soul Motive tore onto the scene this year and set a fire directly underneath it. A collaborative effort between local DJ/Producers Forsaken and Kymatik alongside the evil genius Adam Telford, it was a truly inspired addition to an ever-growing local community of labels. Already three releases deep, the label has excelled in pushing the boundaries of music with some jaw-dropping sonic adventures committed to vinyl. The debut double A-side pitched the grandiose smackdown of Joker’s Snake Eater against the smooth rolling vibes of TRG’s Move Dis, and whilst that was still getting incredible hype Forsaken himself came correct with his collaborations with Mr Jo and Ben Blackmore in Last Saloon Swagger and Into The Sunset. Both of these encapsulated the ethos of the label with organic, emotive music that was breathtakingly original. The third split release dropped recently and again switched up expectations with the spiralling majesty of Coleco’s Campfire Funk and the ethereal beauty of Sharmaji’s Break Your Heart. Another must have label, and one that is set to take it to the next level in 2009.


It feels like Immerse was slightly slept on this year, which is odd given the perennial quality of its output. Immerse is one of BUG’s favourite labels and never disappoints in providing listeners with some incredible music. The sun-dappled groove of Kuma’s Dawn Stepped Outside was beautiful, as was the Kontext double, especially the microfunk of Plumes or the sublime Falling To Weightlessness. Forsaken’s sweetboy stylings on Hypnotised were another highlight, alongside two amazing remixes by Horsepower and Ramadanman of Kuma and Kontext respectively. Immerse for BUG is all about the genuine perfection of song craft rather than any specific genre of music; all the artists featured so far have broken the mould with some awe-inspiring sounds.


Phaeleh’s label is pushing whole new spectrums of sound against the grain of the consensus. This year saw it bloom from a focal point for the producer’s own work to become home for some of the true mavericks of the local scene and beyond. From the soaring drumfunk of Gyu’s Unknowable to the imperial death march of Darkham’s The Last Ritual, Urban Scrumping proved quickly this was no label for a set sound. With the glacial majesty of Sclist’s Darkroom EP due to drop in early January, the scene is set for a fantastic 2009 for this fledgling imprint.