Three International Electronic Music Labels You Need to Know About It
(Spoiler: none of them are from Germany)
So here in North America, we can end up a little focused on what our artists have to offer. Hey, we live in the birthplace of house music after all, there are plenty of great DJs and producers to be found locally. That said, electronic music is a truly global phenomenon, and there are some spectacular sounds out there, especially if you’re willing to look farther afield than some of the Western European tunes that can end up on our radar. Check out some of the music coming out of these three international labels, I can promise you won’t regret it.
NAAFI – Mexico City, Mexico
There can be no doubt, Latin American rhythms are blowing up right now. It seems like every other chart-topper these days has a reggaeton-inspired beat (I’m looking at you, Drake!), and there’s no better way to hear the most innovative uses of these sounds than to listen to some of our southern neighbor’s finest offerings. NAAFI has been around since 2010, so they predate the current craze, and their latest releases provide a unique blend of organic-sounding latin grooves and harsh tech synths and stabs. Did I mention that the parties they are throwing look insane. Scope their Instagram and then go look up flights to Mexico. https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ0xcwAAKec/?taken-by=n_a_a_f_i
Darker Than Wax – Singapore, Singapore
Darker Than Wax does it all. Exploring this Singapore based label you will find everything from creatively resampled funk and soul to warmly bubbling synthesizers and choppy electro-beats. This diversity and uncannily consistent quality have given them a global reach, so it may even be possible for you to see some of the label’s artists play live without jetsetting. Founder Dean Chew, a.k.a. Funk Bast*rd, puts out the “In 30” series on his Soundcloud, and it has quickly become my go to mix for discovering new sounds. Give it a listen! https://soundcloud.com/funk-bast-rd
ZZK Records – Buenos Aires, Argentina
ZZK’s tagline, “future cumbia shit,” doesn’t even begin to sum up the mind blowing fusion of traditional Colombian percussion with EDM sensibilities on display at this powerhouse label from Buenos Aires. A number of their artists have found themselves ranked high on electronic music critics’ best of the year lists (Nikola Cruz, most recently), and they seem to have recovered enough from recent financial troubles to begin signing new artists. To get started, check out “Selva” by El Remolón. “Remolón” translates more or less to “lazy bum,” but i can assure you he’s anything but, having made a record that I think I listened to on repeat for at least a year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76c0LIXn_P0
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