Trackhunters labels to watch in 2020
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
At the start of each year we take a peep into our crystal ball at Trackhunter Headquarters to see which labels will be the ones worth watching in the coming year. With so many labels coming and going it’s a tough task and no doubt 2020 will see the birth and demise of several incredible imprints. So looking back over 2019’s efforts we think that these ‘magnificent seven’ labels will continue to build on their excellent outputs.
Safe Trip Records
Marco Young’s Dutch label delivered a small but perfectly formed collection in 2019, including the excellent Prins Thomas rework of Darlin’s Tulipa Moves double header. That was preceded by Hoshina Anniversary’s acidic groover Hakkenden, and before that, the excellent house vibes of Trans-4M and Arrival. If 2019 was anything to go by, then 2020 will be another high quality batch of House and Disco.
A label that’s featured on our list of who to watch previously and with good reason, they just keep getting better. CP Smith’s South Yorkshire Electro and Techno stable has continued to release impeccable quality electronic music month after month for the previous eight years and there’s little sign of that stopping any time soon (or at least not until the binary label catalogue numbers run out in a year or two). With over a dozen records delivered in 2019 and stand out moments featuring 96 Back’s brace of releases and the excellent Mikron Severance album, 2020 will be epic. Next up is the much awaited return of French artist Tryphème to the label with her Aluminia release - hopefully a full album will follow.
Anil Lal, Jay Lal and Majkel (graphics and art) label had a very busy 2019 and a shrewd successful business model based on short run, special releases that were snapped up on Bandcamp by loyal fans. Covering Techno, IDM, Electro, Deep House and Acid, they released music from established artists including Jungle Techno pioneer Jack Smooth, Scanone and Junq. The label have made a point of running regular collaborative events across Europe. Releases are kept between 100 and 300 units per release, so for the smaller runs, you’ll need to sign up to their social media and Bandcamp page to stay informed for what 2020 has in store.
Houndstooth had a highly prolific year in 2019 with three albums by Special Request alone. The Fabric based label starts the year in contemplative mood with the release of Primer by the Keep, a hypnotic collection of drones, noise and rhythms. 2020’s output continues on Valentines Day with Loom produced by Bjork remixer Katie Gately - a very personal album that she dedicated to her mother who passed away in 2018.
20/20 Vision Recordings
Completing a quarter of a century of releases, Ralph Lawson’s 20/20 Vision label is one of the stalwarts of British Electronic music. Starting in 1995 with his collaboration with Carl A Finlow and Huggy, they put out the superb Space Groover under the guise of Wulf N Bear, in 2020 Lawson is still on the money. 2020 starts strong with new label signing James Shinra, who has previously released music on the established Feel My Bicep, Furthur Electronix and Craigie Knowes labels. Shinra’s four track release is a mixture of flawless Acidic Techno with 1111 and On&On which has a truly hypnotic deep feel about it. Trademark 20/20 Vision styled Electro is on display with the other cuts Flyby and Route 909.
Yet another label that has been around the block more than a few times, Delsin enters its 25th year of delivering high quality electronic music from its Amsterdam headquarters. Age hasn’t slowed down the label one bit with a tremendous number of releases in 2019 that culminated in batch of hot December releases with the excellent Transition EP by His Master’s Voice being a highlight. There’s already plenty of great music lined up for 2020 with releases by Marco Shuttle, Mor Elian, Versalife, Caim, Natural/Electronic System, and that’s only January. A label that proves you can be prolific and maintain a high quality output - 2020 looks like another ripe year.
Nina Kraviz’s imprint had a very good time in 2019 with a good half dozen releases that included the mangled Techno of Buttechno, productions by the esteemed label boss herself and PTU’s Am I Who I Am double LP. The year finished with Vladimir Dubyshkin’s Budni Nashego Kolhoza which featured the intense Tribal Techno workout Customs & Traditions, it makes for a very compelling case for 2020. The label treads a fine line between banging four to the floor beats and experimental electronics and pulls it off in expert fashion. Expect to see and hear more Kraviz and her Russian Трип label in the coming months.
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