schall_023 release cover art
They are the less-talked about side of electronic music production, but having spent an evening with the 'netlabels' this is something that needs to be rectified. And, to start: a weekly mention of a couple of labels that I've been listening to recently.
Essentially, netlabels are creative-commons licensed, web-based production labels that host and, to an extent, promote artists with free-at-source, downloadable tracks. And, admittedly, there are a lot of netlabels of questionable quality.
Grünfeld Tonträger, however, is of the highest standard. It's home to a variety of electronic producers, mostly ranging from dub-techno to atmospheric, ambient sounds. These producers are not limited to the free-netlabel format. DML, who co-founded Grünfeld, has releases on, amongst others, the German label Harthouse. And, some of the productions from DML are superb. Fin (Suedmilch Remix) for example is a piece of Ostgut-esque deep techno, comfortably at home on a six am dancefloor alongside anything from Klock, Dettman et al. Subconscious, by DML and Holger Leger is a slightly more mellow track, with dubby synths, a soft, padding bass-line and airy snares. Both well produced, mastered and eminently danceable affairs: layered, complex and with fathoms of depth. Visit their site and check out the other releases.
Schall Netlabel is a veritable treasure-trove of deep, dub-techno and ambient soundscapes. Founded in 2007, they describe themselves as focusing on 'deep, intense electronic music', and it's no word of a lie. With a roster of approximately 25 artists, their sound ranges from the gaseous, basic-channel inspired, classic techno to more left-field ambient releases. Dominique Jacquinet's Timeless Peak delivers hissing, bleak clouds of sound over a radically stripped down four-four beat, slowly rolling bass-line and melancholy synths. Somehow timeless, yet as contemporary a sound as you'll hear coming out of Berlin. Floating by aku aku is a warm, melodic summer piece. A lighter bass-line and snappier beats support synths that do, indeed, float. Certainly one for watching the sun set on a late-August evening, it's light, yet deep at the same time. The schall label's releases seem of the highest quality, and with judicious listening, real quality pieces of electronic music can be found, and enjoyed, for free.
There's a wealth of music out there, from unknown producers. You've just got to dig. And keep on digging. You can find these labels, and more, on the netlabels.org website http://netlabels.org/
I'll cover more releases from other labels over the coming weeks.