Then you meet those who refuse to adhere (to the spiral staircase of genres), who defy the norms and set their own standards. Manchester’s Natural Sciences would come under this banner.
I’ve always used labels as a reference point to get a handle on electronic music. True, that guide rail isn’t as important as when I started out but anything to hang on to in the spiral staircase of genres, styles and tags can be useful. Then you meet those who refuse to adhere, who defy the norms and set their own standards. Manchester’s Natural Sciences would come under this banner.
Alex Hall set up his label in 2015 in the usual form. “We had everything running out of our flat in Manchester and my girlfriend and I would do the art and learn everything else as we went and working our other jobs doing the day which is pretty heavy.”
In spite of the difficulties of founding and running an imprint, Hall managed an impressive ten releases over a two year period. “The first three from Aleks, Aquarium and Antonio in the bag” and an interesting notion was established for putting out music. “The loose idea is to release the first record from a producer and have the record as close to their initial ideas as possible. I rarely ask for any changes and as many of these are 1 take jams with mistakes and shit in there, they keep this loose edge that I love.”
And that “loose edge” is one of the defining qualities of Natural Sciences. Take the first 12” from Aleks. Sitting somewhere between house and techno, the Netherlands artist slowly builds blurry images of organic textures and aquatic pulses. Stepping from complex and contrasting sounds to minimal reduction the Low Definitions has already something of a future classic following.
The second release, by Aquarium and 外神田deepspace (same artist), has a similar melting pot style but an even better back story. “Aquarium sent over his early tracks that were made on some old Windows programme that couldn’t convert into WAVS or something mad like that, so we had to reconstruct them while translating Japanese through google. It as nuts. But that record has a feel which is hard to replicate.” And I’d agree. The 12” is one of carefree electronics, ambient meshed with house and simply superb.
And the search for new and upcoming talent is a Natural Sciences mission. The “Soundcloud wormhole” is often a source of inspiration. Mono-Enzyme 307 was more than likely a discovery from said wormhole, his Adventure in Cryosleep being a twisted and unnerving journey into 303 bitterness. Others, like Antonio, melt just a touch of something different into their style; the strings scorching into the red to tug the heart strings in “Raw Love.” Warren Raww comes from an entirely different space, one of smooth lounge and exotic skies,
The last three releases are all by artists employing the age old appellation of DJ, a prefix that seems to be increasingly be adopted by proponents of fuzzy house. The wonderfully named DJ Bong Gozling delivers demon eyed devilment with Anarchy in the House Sagesse whereas Dj Swagger pushes a sample strewn lo fi hip hop tale. DJ Seinfeld is the latest to break vinyl for the Mancunians, dusty breaks and old school throw backs given lengthy consideration.
I tapped Alex for some news on upcoming releases, and in true form he surprised. “Records are going to be really varied this year—a few more drone and experimental spoken word stuff as well as an electro album.” And varied would definitely describe Natural Sciences, a label that stalks unturned territory and consistently finding something different and new.