Fullbarr Remixed by Various Artists – Fullbarr
Arthur Barr’s semi-eponymous label has had an excellent three years, quietly building its profile the traditional way. And that’s the traditional way of the 90s, not the 00s. Taking vinyl around Europe by hand to the shops that it needed to be racked in, personally making the contacts that he wanted to ensure the music got the right ears, and putting in the hours selecting the music, getting to the right parties, and spending every waking minute (and penny) putting life and soul into a label that he could be proud of. The risk/reward has tipped nicely in Fullbarr’s balance in the last couple of years, putting out a selection of classy releases from artists that were new to many, and consequently gaining a reputation for serious music, and the label respect into the bargain. Culminating in this ten-track compilation, it’s a chance for Barr to proudly show off what got him to this point, and it’s something that could stand up against the output of far more hyped and self-important rivals.
In short, selecting such a small list from a starting point of dozens would have proven difficult, but by eschewing a mixed format has given the compilation less structure and the resultant freedom is rewarding. Leeds’ own Death On The Balcony’s opening rework of Robert Cashin’s Stay sets the scene nicely, its soft chords and slap bass flowing aside the vocal and subtle fx, highlighting DOTB’s ear for pattern and form as well as melody. Jan Tenner – whose emergence on the label with two EPs last year seemed to coincide with a spurt in recognition for Fullbarr – sees Henry Gilles give Piece Of Cake a sultry, warm going over that rewinds to the start of summer, while the ubiquitous Huxley lends his magic to the first of a pair of Sam Russo tracks, Fuck My MPC, which sounds as if it’s been repressed beautifully in 1995, while his second, Manitoba, gets a low-slung analogue slant from No.19’s own Nitin. Ever ripe for experimentation, Youandewan’s Dour Version of Gliesers’ Kuiper Belt showed adventure from the label, steering clear of simple ‘big name, four-four’ phone-ins, and taking the original on a dubby, eerie journey away from its centre.
Looking over the disc as a reflection of Fullbarr’s still-young existence, it’s the likes of Russo, Matthias Vogt, and Samaan, a producer whose Navigator (remixed here by Area Challenger) was one of many highlights he brought to the imprint, that showed just how keen Barr’s ear was for rare talent that sits away from obvious comfy regions. Better still was snaring fantastic remixes from artists as weighty as James Teej (here in action on a rasping mix of Vogt’s fantastic Rudiments), Brendon Moeller and Danton Eeprom, whose sleazy Edit of Midnite Radio’s Lower Than back in 2009 gave the label an early indicator of what to expect. Most of all though, it entices the listener to guess just what we can expect in the next few years. Roll on 2015.