All but one of the previous releases by ON Records have been reviewed at ED and the latest addition “Tured In Been” is definitely not warranting to become the exception. On Records is a fairly small Dutch label that has a small yet impressive catalogue. One of the reasons is naturally the fact that the label has managed to incorporate and release the outstanding and brightly shining duo Funckarma! “Tured In Been” is a nicely packaged compilation comprised of bits and pieces of ON’s previous output as well as never before released tracks. Secede, Ardbit, Herrmutt Lobby, EEDL, L’Usine, Nynack, Funckarma, EOG, Kettel, Rawakari, Aver Boodi, Slemper, Loden, Adam Johnson and Kadah/Vresky all contribute with music. It goes without saying that this is an in all aspects excellent record filled with electronic and delightful sounds. I strongly suggest you get it now, if you haven’t got it already.
On Records returns after the seminal 12-inch Funckarma remix extravaganza “ThemSongsByWe” 2003 release and what a return this is! Autophonic’s “Slack” is a best of and debut album at the same time, the first full-length single artist release on On Records and it is as good as it gets. There are 12 tracks of sonic delight on the release and all produced by the very talented Autophonic. The album includes eight of his previously released tracks: “Mekanix” taken from the untitled, early and wonderful DUB04. “Vicious Circles” and “Craft Crash” taken from the classic and superb DUB015 “Bathrobin EP” and “Seclusion” taken from the “Nummer Drie” compilation DUBCD03. “Mind The Dot” was included on the “MAS Confusion” Studio!K7 compilation, “Klont” was included on “MP3voor12″ a compilation on the (to me unknown) Vpro label and “Flets” that apparently was included on a DVD entitled “Rawpikzl Video Oost” released on another label/festival unknown to me, called Rawpikzl. And last but not least “Kendu” that first appeared on the lovely On Records’ compilation ON002. (It also featured Funckarma using their Quench monkier.)All these tracks are excellent with complex beats, very high production standard and summarizes the Autophonic sound in a good way. The early DUB releases are sought after these days and it goes without saying quite hard to come by as well. The remaining four previously unreleased tracks show a new side to Autophonic’s musical productions: a jazzier sound with ultra-thick bass, warmth and a live instrumentation feeling. The first track of the album is entitled “Gasp” and it has industry-strength beats fused with live sounding bass and electric piano set in jazz mode all sprinkled with synthesized sounds. “Suspicion” flexes straight-forward hip hop influenced beats and bass doing damage. “Slack” has exquisite live sounding beat patterns and features massive basslines fused with horns and electric piano in short it’s an excellent track! “Flets” which has been previously released (see above) share a number of the previous track’s characteristics, but features less tempo and progressing at a sloth’s slow pace. “Bled” ends the album in a fitting way with a melancholic touch. Get this release immediately and that goes for the previous On records releases as well!
ON is on it again, the second and last release Anno Domino 2003 features the giants of the deep: Funckarma. They’re not newcomers to the ON label and have actually made contributions to three out of four releases so far. The fourth instalment on ON Records will be a four-track remix twelve-inch entitled “DemSongzByWe” and the remixees are: Ontayso, Céline, Kero and Slemper. Apart from Funckarma and ON, Ontayso is the know factor here, because I know for a fact that they’ve previously released on the excellent U-cover label. But, the other parameters are unknown at least to me, (well it seems like Slemper actually released a track on JIP, but since I havn’t heard it yet it doesn’t count) and that makes this EP even more intriguing, if possible. First up is the “Ontayso – Score of an Imaginary Island Iceland Remix”, based on jazz reference and a variety of layered brass instruments. All fused with that unmistakable Funckarma scientific beat programming, dark atmosphere and production skills. In one word: intense. A daring choice for the A1 track some might say, I say excellent choice! But be warned it is not for the fainthearted. Second in line is the “Céline – Here and Now Remix” overall sonic intensity turned down, just a notch, but the bass pressure strikes back instead, in full force and it’s accompanied by some heavily treated vocals. A steady beat drives the track forward to its undeniable logical end. In one word: heavy. Third up is the “Kero – Bent Remix” familiar territory, the intro building up complexity, laying on a steady and ultra-deep bass to hold on to and then those beats… break it down, breath man/woman, breath… there are those melodies and sounds you would kill for. In one word: majestic. Make any sense to you? No? Then get the record! “Slemper – Soccermummy Remix” displays harsher excellent broken beats, a quite hostile sonic environment and glass-like soundscapes. In one word: abusive. I imagine that the outcome of this review must have been keeping anyone who has entered the Electronic Desert before in unbearable suspense, what would the conclusion ultimately be? It’s no secret, that to my mind Funckarma stand in a league of their own and ON104 will most definitely not change that, this is as good as it gets! Musical versatility, beat complexity, bass pressure, emotion and production skills are displayed to the fullest and in a way that no one else musters. I’m getting the vinyl record the very second it is released.
After releasing two outstanding compilations ON Records’ have just released (May 2003) “Error Patterns” a six-track EP by an artist called Nynack. This release does not have much in common musically with the earlier compilations and one reason for this is naturally that it is not a compilation it is an EP by a single artist. It becomes more than apparent while listening the opening track “6minus23″, it’s a fierce, very high-paced number containing disjointed melody, in layers and it sets the tone for the rest of the EP. It is followed by the even faster “00 returns”, mashed-up beats, distorted basslines and a beautiful melody serving as contrast, it works, but the pace is breathtaking. Things settle down in the interlude “Baalogus 2″ with soothing harmonies made out of retrofitted sounds. You get a breather, but you better be quick because then “K the Drummer”, whit a multitude of beats and heavy cutting assaults you alongside sinister solitude chords. It ends as abruptly as it starts. Don’t be fooled by “Leaf Pitching” and its sweet sounding child-like intro melody, because it won’t last, the melody literary breaks and is accompanied by cut-up furious beats, some beautiful strings and you even get some white noise. The final track Lqirup_Domr is a short and concise ending to this six-tracker. “Error Patterns” is intense, with a focus on cut-up beats in all its glory and form. This release is somewhat confusing in it’s harshness, but it’s always refreshing to see a label that follows its own path rather than someone else’s and have the courage to change. I suspect that some voices will be raised about heavy drawn musical influences, especially in the two first tracks, but never mind that, this release only emphasizes the need to keep an eye on the future activities of ON Records.
The second release from yet another Dutch label and this time around it’s ON records’ responsibility. A four-track compilation with three familiar artists and one less known, but I’m sure he soon will be: Adam Johnson. The rest of the artists are household names: Quench, Autophonic and Mr Projectile. “Bungy” by Adam Johnson starts of the compilation in style setting beautiful, warm and forward moving surroundings. Mr. Projectile offers the bubbly remix of Oublique called “Dextroamphetamine”, some really nice stuff, the track that is. Autophonic gives you the retro sounding “Kendu” with drum-patterns, synth washes and played bassline to go and thus handles the other side’s first track. Last but not least Quench’s “Clan” and once again the amazing Funcken brothers pulls it off and delivers a piece of premium grade music, down tempo, crunchy and atmosphere filled in their characteristic style, pure bliss! It’s fair to say that ON’s second compilation is on par with the first one and that the future adventures of this label are highly interesting indeed.