Despite Warp delivering quality albums from Darkstar, Mount Kimbie, Boards Of Canada, Jackson & His Computer Band and Oneohtrix Point Never, the unrivalled accolade of The Pen’s label of the year would have to go to Houndstooth.
Owned by Fabric and coordinated by Electronic Explorations founder Rob Booth, the imprint’s opening release came in late-February courtesy of Call Super. 10 months on, a rampant yet consistently engaging release schedule has seen music from Dave Clarke's Unsubscribe, Dylan Richard's latest manifestation as House Of Black Lanterns, a collaborative album between Throwing Snow and Augustus Ghost, Synkro and Indigo's partnership as Δkkord, Al Tourette's transformation into Second Storey, and perhaps most notably, Paul Woolford's Special Request.
With appetites having been whet by the ‘Hardcore' EP two months earlier, Woolford's 'Soul Music' in October undoubtably marked Houndstooth's highest profile release. The London-based veteran's comprehensive ode to the golden era of jungle was certainly one of the year's memorable albums, but for me, it was more about Δkkord's self-titled long-player and the sub-heavy psychedelia of Second Storey’s ‘Margosa Heights’.
Stylistically, a distinctive common thread has run through the catalogue without confining the label’s sound to any one genre, so it would be interesting to know how far in advance the resourcing and scheduling commenced prior to the launch, and how much new material has been added since. Whilst well-made, I didn’t feel Snow Ghosts' 'A Small Murmuration' fulfilled its potential, and of course there's the significance of Fabric's backing to consider, but even still, very few set-ups have made such a resounding impact within an opening year.
NB: Commemorating the end of their first year, Houndstooth released a digital 7-track compilation yesterday, which finds the producers on their roster remixing each other’s tracks. ‘HTH vs HTH' is available to download directly from the Houndstooth website for just £1 (MP3) or £2 (WAV), with two of the inclusions embedded below.
Photo of: The cover art for Margosa Heights
RELATED POSTS: Δkkord ‘Δkkord’ [Houndstooth] *** Special Request ‘Soul Music’ [Houndstooth] *** Special Request - XLR8R 318 *** House of Black Lanterns - Clash Mix *** Δkkord ‘Navigate EP’ [Houndstooth] *** The Label of the Year 2011 - Planet Mu *** Synkro Thump Mix