Notes From the Underground

A look at some of the top labels in the world of Irish dance.

In this edition we take a look at Ireland’s underground labels and what they have coming out over the coming months. Matador launched his Rukus imprint in 2016 with a four track EP featuring Chicago’s Felix Da Housecat on vocals. Since then, he has released his album Ructions on the imprint, and followed that up with a series of remix EPs by some of the world’s leading house and techno artists, including Paco Osuna, Hot Since 82 and Julian Jeweil.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Kiely’s Strictly Deep imprint is putting together a various artist compilation to celebrate their fifth release. Just in time for the Amsterdam Dance Event, it will feature tracks from Jamie Roy & Makanan, Dene Antony, Colman Buckley (Dog Days), Paul Hosey, and Hoodrat & Richard James & Krissky.

Moving on to Appian Sounds, they will mark their 10th release with a deviation from their usual various artist format. Instead, they are offering Irish producer o.utlier an extended platform for his first full artist EP. The London-based groove technician has crafted tracks for the release, which are reminiscent of early Basic Channel/Maurizio recordings. After appearances on Efdemin’s Naif and Fred P’s Soul People Music, o.utlier’s EP makes for a remarkable full debut.

Signal Code Records, meanwhile, have just released Dave Hardagon’s Windmill Lane EP on vinyl. Dave is one half of Dublin based outfit Slowburn, who have put out tracks on Uzuri Records and Lunar Disko. He released his debut solo material in 2014 on Italian label Land of Dance, with his double EP entitled Finding Purpose.

Last year also saw the creation of his imprint Lime Street Music. The musical range of the label runs from the slower boogie style jams to classic house sounds, all with a hint of acid. Dutch producer Marvis Dee (aka Jeremiah R) delivered the debut release, and there’s another in the pipeline from Serbian producer Module Werk.

Two other names to look out for are Rob Flynn and Cormac, who run a vinyl label called Rua Sound. They focus on up-tempo bass music: jungle, juke and hip-hop. The first two releases have been critically well received. Both records are now sold out, but are retailing at high prices on Discogs. Though the label was only founded earlier this year, they are already making their mark internationally.

Next up is Ricky Force, who has been overseeing Pressin’ Hard Records since 2012. It’s run as a platform for his own productions, with limited vinyl releases and digital downloads. Ricky Force’s story began back in 1999, when he landed a guest slot on legendary Dublin pirate station POWER FM alongside Don Rosco of the Bassbin crew. Shortly after, he was landing gigs with the likes of the Gappy Foundation, Studio B and Bassbin’s legendary “Refuge”. For good measure, Ricky also became a well known face on the Irish drum and bass scene. He has another release on the way in late 2016/early 2017 on Pressin’ Hard.

Stagma Records, run by Tone dnb, is another underground drum and bass label run out of West Cork. They have artists signed from Ireland, the UK, the Czech Republic and Texas. Their latest release, though, is the Back Again EP by Czech Republic-based artist KARPA. They also run a radio mix series through their Youtube, Facebook and Soundcloud channels featuring artists from the label.

Another name to keep an eye on are Hybrasil, who launch their vinyl imprint Double Vision later in the year with a four track EP, Sentinel. The record features tracks played heavily by Richie Hawtin, Jon Rundell and Alan Fitzpatrick. Cork’s Vision Collective label, meanwhile, have a two track, double A-side release on the way from Irish DJ and producer Mick Verma.

Also look out for Luke Creed’s Variance imprint, who distribute their music through bandcamp. Recent releases include Variance 012 with Gunjack, featuring remixes from Scenedrone, SKiN and Mael. Variance 011 with Vlaysin and Variance 010 with Swarm Intelligence, meanwhile, feature remixes from the likes of Rory St John, Vlaysin, and Airsilk & Scenedrone. Also forthcoming is a a new Scenedrone record with four original tracks. After that, expect EPs from Johan Platt, Mael, Ben Techy and Airsilk. Variance are currently aiming to establish a regular night in Dublin, the first of which will be this November – so watch our networks.


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