We Truants love our records. What we love even more are records that are a bit special. Okay, all records are special, but some are more special than others. With Record Store Day just hours away, we felt it right to take a look at one of the more intriguing concepts to grace your friendly neighbourhood music emporium.
Don’t Be Afraid, the young label that’s home to Semtek and Mr Beatnick, has brought us Spargel Trax, a new label that is as inspired by asparagus as it is by classic house. As Record Store Day, which falls on the third Saturday of each April, coincides with the beginning of asparagus season, this label features some of Don’t Be Afraid’s favourite artists operating under asparagus-related pseudonyms, like Spargel Tarzan and Herbaceous. Each release will come with one of two seasonal Spargel recipes, printed on recycled paper from a sustainable Risograph print shop. On top of that, the two records come in the form of transparent coloured discs, Volume 1 being a rich green, and Volume 2 a milky white. Nice as all this sounds, it would all be moot if the music wasn’t any good. Rest assured, there are no worries on that front.
Volume 1 kicks off with Herbaceous and the appropriately titled “Love Tips” – asparagus being an aphrodisiac – with buzzing house and flurries of acid. Spargel Tarzan’s “Sauce Hollandaise” meanwhile feels like the best party you’ve never been to, smoky house vibes, gurgling crowd noises and KDJ vocals: delightful. “Basel Piss Test”, from Slazenger’s People, explodes with its pneumatic bassline and rattling drum machine sounds. Lily’s “Dollen Haze” creaks and jams and winds things down to a juddering halt. Pick of the bunch must be Volume 2’s opener “Bed Stuy Beat” from James Duncan, which passes through so many movements over its six minutes that it almost plays out like a minimix, a soundtrack to a walk through that Brooklyn neighbourhood. Then Untitled-W’s “Green & White” feels like a retrofit, a 90s-era house track that even carries waves of house stalwarts Kings of Tomorrow. “Points D’Amour” from Freeman feels like it could be the work of Mr Beatnick under an assumed name, blended with the disco chuggings of Jacques Renault. And then we come to the end with “Spargel Jack”, a frenetic acid workout from Melvin Elephant 303.
Meanwhile, if you’re in London you should pop along to Sounds of The Universe tomorrow, where Mr Beatnick will be mixing up tracks from these two delightful releases for your pleasure. According to label boss Semtek, there might just be some promo copies floating about. Go, buy some records and listen to some great music. What it’s all about, really!