Now and then I will be highlighting some of the interesting record labels out there by doing a small profile on them. Hopefully this can serve as an entry point for those unfamiliar and as a guide to some of their important releases. First up is the Los Angeles-based label Soulection which has been putting out an impressive amount of quality music over the past few years.
Soulection is both a record label and an artist collective and they also broadcast their own excellent radio show. The company has been in existence since 2011 and the people behind it are Joe Kay, Guillaume Bonte and Andre Power.
A lot of the music released on Soulection is a product of the so called beats scene phenomenon which occurred in Los Angeles in the late 00’s. Around this time a group of electronic music producers started experimenting with new sounds in their bedrooms and in L.A. clubs like Low End Theory. A lot of the music made took cues from left field hip hop like J.Dilla and Stones Throw Records but also added things like electronica, 90’s RnB and jazz to the mix creating an innovative and forward thinking stew which soon caught fire and made stars out of people like Flying Lotus.
Soulection was established in the aftermath of the beats scene-hype when the sound started seeping out of L.A. and into the work of artists from other regions including many of those on the label. Just as the beats scene artists often differed quite a bit from each other, most of the artists on Soulection have their own sound, but also a certain aural aesthetic which binds them together. The music is producer driven, mainly instrumental and often reworks or references existing tracks from the world of urban music past or present.
Kay and co originally used Bandcamp to grow the label and managed to put out an impressive 28 releases during their first two years. Originally all releases were available for free but they’ve since started charging. The past few years have been successful ones. Apart from touring all over the world doing shows and attracting the attention of major players in the record industry, they recently entered a partnership with clothing brand Stussy. Big things are definitely in store for these guys.
Below are some of my favorite artists on the Soulection roster. There are many more artists on the label, so make sure to stop by their website or Soundcloud to check out more music if you like what you hear.
Lakim The Lynchburg, Virginia-bred Lakim is a man comfortable with many different styles and sounds. According to himself he originated the term “Future Bounce” which has since become a musical movement in its own right. It’s a fitting description, but one too limited for Lakim’s diverse sound. His debut full length “This is Her” effortlessly blended downtempo and broken beats with RnB, soul and more, but he also creates boom bap hip hop and occasionally dips his toes in deep house waters.
Sango The young, Michigan-based producer Sango calls his music “spiritual bass music”. He’s part of a wave of heavily RnB-influenced underground dance music producers which also includes people like Kaytranada and Schlomo. Sango first gained attention by remixing artists like The Weeknd and Aahliyah, but he really revealed his musical chops on his acclaimed debut LP “North” from 2012.
Iamnobodi This rising producer from Hamburg, Germany is a skilled musical craftsman who’s music embraces influences from jazz, house, hip hop and electronica. He’s shown his versatility on a number of releases which convey a wide range of moods and atmospheres as well as a consistent ability to keep heads nodding.
Mr Carmack A master at blurring genre distinctions, Honolulu’s Mr Carmack blends hip hop, trap, soul and RnB into cocktails that are often captivating. The producer/remixer/dj’s career really got a boost when his “Bang, Vol 3” and “Life Death” EP became best sellers on Bandcamp.
Vesatile producer Lakim from the Soulection crew is no stranger to the remix game.In the past he’s crafted remixes of tracks by artists like Erykah Badu, Kanye West and others. He recently gave Detroit-bred rapper Danny Brown’s “Lie4” the treatment and the result is very soulful indeed.