Although it began as a club orientated label in 2010, the evolution of Night Slugs had taken it to more abstract territories of late. Last year, to ensure that at least one of the label’s feet was firmly on the dance floor, the founders Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990 inaugurated the Club Constructions series with a strong focus on club functionality. They encouraged this focus by providing the series with a manifesto of sorts that contains a loose set of aesthetic rules. As Bok Bok stated in his recent RBMA interview, some of these rules are “no unnecessary vocals”, “no unnecessary reverb and effects” and an encouragement to use tape saturation. However, even with this manifesto it wasn’t until this year’s three releases, Vol. 4-6, that the series could be said to have a “trademark sound”. This sound being beat-heavy, minimal, nostalgia-free, functional and, importantly, with a refreshing openness which isn’t afraid to draw inspiration from contemporary styles such as Jersey Club and Ballroom.
Similar to all of the labels’ releases, the visual aesthetic is a very important part of the Club Constructions series. Inspired by this video and taking a literal queue from the series’ name, the cover art consists of drum-machines and analogue equipment re-imagined as architecture which nicely embodies the minimal functionality of the tracks they represent. Like Jam City’s lauded Classical Curves, there is a strong unity between “architectural” sounds and the images which enclose them. Taking both together adds much to the works rather than being reductive as is often the case.
There has been much talk this year of nostalgia-laden “outsider house”, but for us these EPs are where the interesting things are really happening. These records continue the legacy of greats like Ron Hardy not by simple imitation and flattery but by carrying his ethos and approach to work on the sounds of today. In the same way that Hardy put the disco/new-wave/industrial sounds of the ’80s through a blender, the Night Slugs family is doing the same to bmore, techno, jersey club and grime. Perhaps it was always the case but club music fans in 2013 don’t want to have to chose between over or underground, i.e. many people are fans of both lesser-known AND mainstream forms of dance music, and it is very refreshing to have a sound available that reflects that. All three releases are streamable below and they can be purchased in physical and digital from Boomkat.
Stream: Helix – Club Constructions Vol.4 (Night Slugs)
Helix’s Club Constructions installment is a beautiful amalgamation of Ron Hardy drum tracks, Baltimore club and grime. Check out his recent RA interview to learn more about the man behind it.
Stream: Hysterics – Club Constructions Vol. 5 (Night Slugs)
Better known under his main Girl Unit alias, Hysterics has provided what is probably one of the most versatile track of the year in the form of “Code Switch”. For example, click here to see how perfectly it fits with some Ballroom ha’s and vocals.
Stream: Jam City – Club Constructions Vol. 6 (Night Slugs)
Jam City’s entrance into the club construction realm provided a set of skeletal Jersey bombs sparkling with that magic JC touch. Picking up where the athletic ‘The Courts’ and ‘How We Relate’ left off, Volume 6 manages to be both elegantly and powerfully mechanical.
Additional words by Tobias Shine.