Ireland has become a hotbed for new and exciting electronic artists, and with that comes a plethora of new label’s looking to carve out a name for themselves. We take a look at some new and refreshing Irish labels that you need to familiarise yourself with this year.
The Isle of Ireland has been home to some iconic label’s, from seminal imprints such as D1 Recordings, Red Records, goDeep Recordings, Mother Records, to modern day Irish strongholds such as Earwiggle, First Second Label, Winthorpe Electronics and more, these labels have helped define the sound of our rocky shores.
The Irish sound is deep rooted in the sound of DIY raves that date back to the late 80’s, a culture that was totally makeshift and profusely gritty presented a sound that was all about the party. The sound of hardhouse, trance and hardcore dominated warehouses, beaches and castles across the country, forming a sonic stamp that was steaming with attitude.
Fast forward to 2023 and Ireland’s sound is difficult to categorise, after years showcasing our dancefloors to ravers and DJs across the globe, our sound is a loosely defined but none the less high-powered. Boasting a flurry of world class DJs and producers, Ireland has formed an electronic music conveyor belt that is churning out new talent at an alarming rate, and with this comes new ideas, new faces and new sounds. Ireland has never tried to be compete with Germany, France or Netherlands, while we’ve taken nuggets of inspiration from across the globe, were still sculpting our very own sound since the late 80’s.
Here’s 10 label’s that are showcasing what the new-wave of Irish electronic music sounds like.
One of the standout newcomer label’s of 2021 was undoubtedly Spray from Sligo native & ex Brame & Hamo member Tiarnan, better known under his new moniker, Spray. The label showcases a vintage style take on prog soaked rave & house, sorting through reissues and warehouse nuances that are hot off the presses from D. Tiffany, Mor Elian and more. VT Trade is bouncy prog goodness from label boss Spray that you absolutely need to check out.
Dublin based imprint Woozy has been at the forefront of modern soundsytem culture in Ireland since its inception in 2020. Growling dubstep, murky half-steppers and 140 bass-bin weapons are just some of the things to expect from EMA‘s thundering imprint that has gained notable attention from all corner’s of the globe. Sha Ru‘s recent 4 track EP Match My Sway is a forward thinking take on classic dubstep sounds that is essential listening for any fans of low-end futurism.
From Donabate to the world, Undivided Label has undoubtedly become one of the leading imprint’s pushing innovative modern Irish techno power. Run by Pageone & Ian Mccarthy, the pair have been meticulously crafting fine tuned techno packages that lean on minimalistic traditions and funk driven power. Showcasing a variety of up & coming producers from Irealnd and abroad, they’ve made their mark as a refreshingly non-conformist techno label. Their last offering from Offtrack is bare-boned techno at it’s finest.
Sputnik One‘s newly launched N-Face label came to life in September of last year which focuses on a futuristic & somewhat unstructured approach to releasing music, as they showcase unexpected collaborations with controlled chaos at the forefront of the label. The label is engrossed in the idea of forward thinking bass music as they display music from avante-garde producers from Ireland and a far. N-Face’s forthcoming VA features music from Glimmerman, Outl1er, Young Muscle and more, as the compilation dives into dynamic cracked rhythms.
Billy Spike Iland & Jack Nolan‘s Syncopated Records was born out of a love for groove infused techno, as the pair showcase their clear cut vision of rhythmic minimalism with an onus on Detroit traditions & stiff-necked delivery. As the name suggests the imprint symbolises rhythm in all forms as well a vehicle to experience a passage or dance. Their most recent release with Dublin techno mainstay Snakebite_616 intertwines raw techno power with dystopian style atmospheres that tell’s a powerful story far past the dancefloor.
All City affiliated label Arís focuses on re-issuing Irish dance music from the 90’s and early 00’s, alongside modern reworks from some of Ireland’s most influential contemporary producers. With reissues from Bumble, Fish Go Deep & Rob Rowland the label has injected a sense of historical value into classic but somewhat forgotten records, without leaning too heavily on obnoxious nostalgia that sometimes seeps into throwback cuts. Rob Rowlands D1 recordings reissue featuring a remix from Dylan Forbes is where past meet’s the present to devastating affect.
Limerick based party starters Cabal have been spearheading progressive and modular style events in their hometown since the club nights inception in 2017. The Munster based crew took the leap into forming as a label at the tail end of last year with a four track EP from local analogue guru, Brawni. The inaugural EP features four club-ready tracks that weave between electro, techno, and melodic 4×4 trips. While the label is still in its infantry stages, an impressive debut on wax commands attention for future releases.
Loopmaster Records does exactly what it says on the tin. With label bosses SPEED X FREQUENCY at the helm you know to expect raw & pulsating techno grooves that lean on 90’s functionality with modern day delivery. From Wicklow to Berlin in every basement they get in, Loopmasters is pumping with unadulterated funk, and there’s no room for bullshit here. The debut release comes from Frequency as he leaves not much to the imagination as he chisels out slinky tools that are made for DJs, this is simplistic techno that’s cooked to perfection.
Sub-label of All City Records, P.U.P. pays homage to the legendary COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, as the imprint invites an assortment of Irish producers to supply tracks anonymously. The label’s sound isn’t hindered by the confines of genre but rather showcases a liberating package of vivacious club rollers. The camouflaged approach to music creation feeds into the frisky vibe on these dancefloor orientated grooves. The second volume embodies a cheeky UK techy flavour that is just as delirious as it is bouncy.
Circuit Structure Records
Labworks bossman Offtrack announced his new project Circuit Structure Records in December of last year. The Mullingar natives vision of techno is clear and concise and these ethos feed into directly into his new project. A formidable 12 track VA withs some of Ireland’s most accomplished producers both old and new served as a statement of intent that demonstrates a stripped back and machine driven approach to modernised techno. Kaleidoscopic synth lines meet haunting drone soundscapes on the debut release for a proper showcase of no frills Irish techno.