Robin Des Iles has built a fertile platform from which a spread of dancefloor shoots has taken root. Electro, house, neo-disco, techno and a whole host of machine musings have been served via wax and download. Old hands, discovered talents and fresh faced newcomers have been collected across a range of releases.
Machines are slaves. Vinyl=scientific scrolls.
Kraftjerkz boss, Kid Gingsing, offers this cryptic phrase as a slogan, but perhaps the description on their new website tells a clearer tale: “Kraftjerkz is an electronic music label dedicated mostly to enthusiasts of mid-1980’s technology with no definite rules. Dynamics and edge are ever-present and the current sounds show a quality of beauty, refined or raw.”
Born with a mixtape Robin Des Iles has built a fertile platform from which a spread of dancefloor shoots has taken root. Electro, house, neo-disco, techno and a whole host of machine musings have been served via wax and download. Old hands, discovered talents and fresh faced newcomers have been collected across a range of releases.
Unquestionably one of Kraftjerkz’s proudest signings is Neud Photo aka Nico Nightingale. The New York synth virtuoso summarizes that “mid-1980’s technology” thrust. Warm and addictive melodies are deepened by textured pads, crisp percussion and a unique personality. Kraftjerkz012 and Omnicrom showcased what Neud Photo is all about. Heartfelt harmonies, elegiac electronics, superb synthesizer music created with aging analogue equipment. New Wave with a retrospectively modern tint.
Yellow Beach Balls and Babok Sabouri caused the greatest stir amongst the public. Well, I remember being asked by mates if I had contact details for YBB and a forum or two lighting up with his disco slanted sounds. With only a smattering of material this secretive artist has captured imaginations to such an extent that Babok Sabouri was even bootlegged! Perhaps I can illustrate the catchiness of this record by the fact I’ve got “Kissing Tails” stuck in my head right now.
But the focus isn’t just the US, artists from across the globe have been drafted in. Sweden’s Luke Eargoggle has dropped tracks but unknowns have also been unearthed. Honored Matres and Zarkoff hail from Croatia and have lit up the label with their synth rich audio antics. Styles are cherry picked as genres melt in a fresh and emergent medley.
The latest, De Iles teaming up with Detroit veteran Niko Marks, comes from Ausramp. And guess what, yet another shift of style. This Self-Titled EP assembles three cuts of side-stepping techno. Full bodied works brim with a 90s elegance. Throwback moments kept these modern works tethered to their dancefloor origins for a 12” bubbling with contained intensity.
Behind the wax curtain lies the digital wing of the imprint and arguably the more experimental side. The head honcho and other delinquents dishing up live sessions of gritted percussion, debased electroclash and hypno-house through the download link.
De Iles describes the future of the label as “obvious”, “keeping a rhythm of releases and now, not being afraid to sell it digitally and not vinyl-only.” An addendum can probably be, well, added to that. Kraftjerkz will undoubtedly continue to forge its own path, continue to give new artists a platform and continue to deliver engaging electronics.