Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hefty Birthday

L'Altra, Phil Ranelin and Slicker - Hefty Naked Ninja (Eliot Lipp Remix)
Spanova - Absentminded

If I were a car driver and Hefty Records a hitchhiker, I would have driven past them thumbing a lift on numerous occasions, despite having a good feeling that they would make an interesting travelling companion. Sometimes it just happens that way. They’ve obviously been doing OK without me, as the Chicago-based label celebrate 10 years in operation this year with the release of two compilations and I get to see exactly what I have been missing.

Plenty it would seem. ‘History is Bunk’ is released over two parts, and rather than being a simple label retrospective with a few remixes chucked in, the majority of the material on both comps appears to be exclusive. Names I recognise include Savath & Savalas (another nom de plume of Scott Herren) remixed by Daedelus, Dabyre (also on remix duty), Telefon Tel Aviv (remixed by Ryuichi Sakamoto) and Jimmy Edgar. The rest of the contributors are either Hefty regulars or new artists set to break out this year. Of these, Plus Device, with their faithful old school electro pop, are the only artist to really break away from what appears to be the staple Hefty diet of post rock, experimental jazz and freeform electronics.

Check Brooklyn-based producer Eliot Lipp’s remix of a collaboration between L'Altra, Phil Ranelin and Slicker taken from ‘Part One’. It’s lush, expansive electronic soul music where hip hop beats, buried vocal elements and gorgeous analogue synths come together to make a song which perfectly reflects the upcoming change in the seasons. Lipp has previously recorded for Scott Herren’s (Prefuse 73) Eastern Developments label, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be too wide of the mark to say that Herren has been an important influence on Lipp’s work.

Spanova are a pair of Japanese electronic producers, and I’ve lifted their contribution from ‘Part Two’ as the second download. ‘Absentminded’ is proper downtempo, 4am smoking music, as twinkling pianos and sultry horns combine with breathy vocals for an atmospheric beatless introduction. Once the beat kicks, a bizarre series of sampled vocal melodies give this track a real air of originality and the track culminates in what sounds like harmonised gargling. Truly eccentric electronica.

The real coup with both these records is that they will delight serious fans of the label and provide enough intrigue for the uninitiated to want to investigate further. I count myself in the latter category, but I do wonder if they wouldn’t have been better off releasing this as a double CD, rather than two separate CD’s. The UK release date is 4th September 2006, though they are already available as imports from the States.

Visit Hefty Records website and My Space
Search Beatport to buy the latest Hefty releases as digital downloads
Buy Hefty Records catalogue from Norman Records
Eliot Lipp's website and My Space
Spanova website here