Elegance, abstraction and bleeps from the South East London label.
Squareglass, the recently founded label have had a busy few months releasing debut EPs from it’s fresh roster of talented and young artists. A number of tracks caught our attention a couple of months ago so we felt they deserved a ‘label focus’ to draw your attention to the lush musical landscape coming out of an area of London which is becoming synonymous with creative talent.
This month is particularly timely as Squareglass release their first label sampler, ‘Transparencies’, a nine track compilation released this week, assembles a selection of new cuts from Squareglass’’ current roster, along with guest tracks by King of Hearts and Crypt Thing.
On first listen, although very much rooted in the artful end of electronic music, there is a diversity about the style of the artists coming through the label. This is pleasing to hear as many new labels are often focussed around an emerging micro-niche of an established genre in an attempt to appeal to specialist listeners or DJs. Often they get lost amongst the bigger more established players, failing to stand out. This very much feels like a ‘young’ label curating the music that they love and the music that reflects their cultural environment.
The overall sound of the label comes from a deep electronic and immersive place that is often moody and somewhat heavy, whilst retaining an elegance that only come from artists that are striving for creative excellence. The overall sound feels like a bi-product of living in one of the hardest and most expensive capital cities in the world. There are plenty of joyful moments but there is definitely an underlying urban struggle in the sound.
There is a transparency about the emotion that comes from these tracks and in that sense it is a pleasure to see musicians putting their art first, which for many artists is an increasingly unrealistic option, living in the money pit that is London.
Taking a look at the compilation highlights, Ballerino catches the ear with the track ‘Karl’. The project of Robin Paul Braum, an electronic producer and singer born in Berlin and living in London. The track starts with an abrasive electro twang that mellows out to a simple beat driven vocal ‘pop’ track with touches of boogie soul and a sweet bubbling bass line straight out of the German capital. Always good to see talent coming from Berlin to the UK as opposed to the other way round.
‘Ultimate Lounge’ by Semi Precious drops in with a lush soul funk electronic groove that would fit many an early afternoon Balearic set. Deep, sexy and and haunting, whispers and horns floating and wandering..this two and a half minute track leaves you yearning for more. It would be a pleasure to see this developed into a more expansive piece.
The classically trained Junk utilises electronic and natural elements, gathered from his hometown in the Lake District, to explore the tensions between acoustic and digital sounds. His offering, ‘Wax Dark’, showcases a more straight up European House sound with a female vocal gliding over the top, giving it a poppier edge than the music might as first suggest. Heads down, peak time melancholia..
Kings Of Hearts’ ‘Sunray’ drops in with a broken break beat with fractured electronic twists and discordant pads, a nice wake up from the often moody sound. This track is reminiscent of early Mo’Wax, a kind of raw instrumental Hip Hop that crashes and uplifts simultaneously.
‘Holes’ by Leiik has some pretty special vocals going on. The electronic duo comprising of vocalist Amy Spencer and producer Bunki create a deep, almost semi-classical feel with echoes of Lamb amongst others. ‘Priest’ by Daniel Cherney and Crypt Thing’s 'Archenemy’ are also well worth a listen if you’re a fan of cinematic narcosis..
Squareglass demonstrates its ability to maintain a tightly curated, honest sound with a roster of artists that are writing dynamic and thoughtful music. No cheap press grabbing remix stunts here, just real artists making real music.
Support real music and buy the sampler!