2013 sees Eglo celebrate four years of releasing music with their first label compilation Eglo Records Vol 1, a year in which label head Alexander Nut ponders the next step for his close-knit stable of artists. Tom Banham speaks to Nut along with Fatima and FunkinEven.
What makes a great record label? It’s a subjective matter, of course, and the ingredients of success vary from label to label, and from scene to scene. Keen students of legendary labels, from post-punk outlets such as Stiff, Celluloid and Factory, to modern day underground success stories such as L.I.E.S , International Feel or Night Slugs, will tell you that there are certain characteristics that remain constant throughout. These include, but may not be limited to, a distinctive musical aesthetic, a vibrant group of key artists, an attention to detail lacking in lesser labels, and a steadfast artistic vision that never wavers, regardless of sales. Oh, and owners that don’t just know their stuff, but are open enough to new sounds to take calculated risks now and then.
When Gene Wilder accepted the role of Willy Wonka in the disturbingly psychedelic 1971 movie Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, he did so under a very important stipulation, contending: “When I make my first entrance, I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp… As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself…I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.” When probed about why this request (a scene which never took place in the book) was important, Wilder replied: “because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”
Currently overseeing the successful Wild Oats label, forever collaborating, DJing and on the cusp of releasing a long overdue debut album; perhaps it’s time to stop calling Kyle Hall a wonderkid and give him more credit? Brendan Arnott speaks to him ahead of The Boat Party being released.
It’s fair to say “Phone Line” has matured into something of an obsession for this writer since hearing it towards the end of last year, and the expectation of gripping it on cold, hard vinyl hasn’t dampened one bit despite its release finally arriving nearly ten months later. The infinitely playful collaboration between Funkineven and Fatima might just go down in history as one of the finest B Sides ever too, as “Phone Line” appears three tracks deep into an EP that further cements how well the duo work together, having previously contributed to one another’s Elgo releases.
Not content with releasing some incendiary music for the Eglo imprint, ace London producer FunkinEven has announced news of his own record label entitled Apron, with the first release from the man himself set for release next month.
Along with a strain of likeminded future-jackers including John Heckle and Boddika, FunkinEven is one of those musical renegades surrounded by pretenders to the acid throne. From his surprising abode amongst the soulful ranks of Floating Points et al chez Eglo Records, he’s flung out a series of essential, if decidedly unhinged, 12”s and Roland’s Jam continues that legacy with gusto.
The title track takes no time at all in declaring its intentions as a squelchy beast aimed at decimating the dance. A stomping beat and nasty acid line form the backbone, which gets scuppered frequently by edits that display a fearless desire to screw people’s heads up just when they were managing to get lost in the groove. It’s almost lean in comparison to previous releases, but certainly no less deadly. The groove on “Take Back” ploughs a similar furrow, but with a many-limbed b-boy swerve where “Roland’s Jam” was all rigid 4/4 stomp. The synth nags in a similar way, but then leaves plenty of room for all kinds of freaked-out vocal hits and melodic outbursts.
“XXX” meanwhile gets even more explicitly acidic as the 303 action comes through in full effect. As the title might suggest, FunkinEven carries the torch for porno-sampling. It’s a tricky terrain that many haven fallen foul in – and it’s no Omar S “Look Hear Watch” – but he manages to navigate his way through without putting a foot wrong. The samples get even more frenetic and choppy to devastating effect, and once again the man proves just how fresh the most well-worn template in electronic music can still be. The madcap energy of FunkinEven would certainly scare off DJs that like music with control and precision, but those with a soft-spot for rough stuff will lap this up and come back begging for more.
Eglo Records take over East london venue CAMP next month to celebrate their second year in business with a bumper lineup that includes the great and the good of the London label as well as Mary Anne Hobbes.
The tenth release on Eglo, the label birthed by Floating Points and Alexander Nut, and yet another effortless slab of brilliance from London producer FunkinEven. A man who’s dazzled with subtly effervescent funk jams like “She’s Acid” and “Kleer”, not to mention his production work with Fatima (such as the floaty “Coming To America” tribute, “Soul Glo”) “Heart Pound” sees him go off on an acid-inspired tangent that once again showcases his incredible production skills.
Fans of old-school acid artists like K Alexi, Adonis and Blake Baxter will roll over with delight when they hear “Heart Pound”. With a classic 303 synth squall at the heart of it all, as well as galloping snares and a rock-solid kick anchoring the whole thing down, Funkineven multi-tracks his deep, commanding voice to create a call and response between him and his studio. When his chorus ends, cymbals and snares fill in the gaps making it a thrilling voyage – and one that never loses momentum thanks to his incredible arrangements and the host of subtle touches he adds to the motorik melody.
“Another Space” is even more hyped, and a true product of late ’80s hardcore. With chords cut up, pitch-shifted and resequenced to sound similar to The Latin Rascals seminal tape-edits, he drops a spanking Miami bass beat to really kick things off and let’s it ride out with cut-up vocal samples and flanged hi-hats keeping the momentum high throughout. Both tunes signal yet another subtle shift in direction for Funkineven – a bad move for most artists, but for this accomplished and forward-thinking producer, the sky really is the limit in terms of how dope and eclectic he can be.