Upfront 015 / February 23, 2015


You've got an hour of unreleased joy this week as one of 2014's best breakout labels proves 2015 belongs to them too: Vancouver's indefatigable 1080p.

About this mix

This is a mix of 100% upcoming 1080p material; either tracks direct from upcoming releases or some that are tangential to new releases. Contributions come (in order of appearance) from Montreal, New York, London, Okayama, Melbourne, Berlin, Ottawa, Vancouver, Ireland, Wellington and Edmonton.

It feels amazing after 18 months of running 1080p to still be surrounded by amazing producers in both my immediate physical sphere and in a wider global/Internet realm, especially hearing material from newer producers who were released on the label a year ago progressing their sound and experimentation further.

I have to say I felt super moved and inspired while assembling this mix, realizing that all these people I know actually make this music with such sincere approaches.

I'm excited about a few vinyl releases planned for the second half of 2015 as well as the same bi-weekly tape release schedule and a handful of parties, the next of which is in New York on April 9. It's easy to run a label when this constant stream of inspiration is around.

Richard MacFarlane

Boiler Room says...

Consider some of the more notable upstart labels to bubble up in the last year or so. A tight-knit coterie of likeminded and localised artists, bound by a quirky aesthetic, embarking upon a solid run of fresh material – there have been a few that fit the mould, like Public PossessionMood Hut and 1080p. When it comes to releases, the former pair have chalked up roughly a bakers dozen; the latter are somewhere between their 39th and 41st. Given the ne'er-ending rumble of premieres, promo and announcements, it's hard to get an accurate read on what's 'out' and what's actually 'out out'.

Even amongst the recent glut of idiosyncratic imprints, 1080p have set out their stall with unerring efficiency. Started initially as a boutique cassette outlet by Richard Macfarlane – Kiwi by birth, but now firmly entrenched within the placid climes of adopted hometown Vancouver – they've upscaled rapidly. The distinctive artwork definitely helps, variously recalls Max Ernst paintings, Angelfire pages and late 90s OS-X games. But the real hook with 1080p is how quickly the catalogue has swollen.

Everyone's got their favourites. Given the sheer volume, it's unsurprising some gems have slipped through the net. To my mind, Riohv's ambling house, Babe Rainbow's moonlit miniatures and the Oneohtrix-y undulations of OOBE all deserve more shine. Arguably the most symptomatic of the label's sound, and fittingly the biggest all-round splash made to date, was LNRDCROY's Much Less Normal; after a slow burn throughout last year, it's seeing a fully-retooled reissue on Firecracker.

The way 1080p operates brings a few questions to mind. Will the imminent shift into the vinyl market cause a slowdown as the ballaché of pressing plant delays becomes a brutal reality? Alongside the obvious positives, what are the drawbacks of a hands-on 'character' at the helm, embodying their own product? Is the furiously paced release schedule a conscious gameplan to strike while the iron is hot, or merely a giddy sort of pride?

Sometimes it's best not to overthink things, eh. Macfarlane didn't at the outset and he probably still isn't. On the basis of this Upfront, there'll be a few new paths forged in 2015. The mix features choppy techno, more vocal spots, and even one track that accelerates into batshit drum'n'bass territory – plus all the colourful gloop and easygoing club fare we've come to expect. 1080p's consistency would be borderline worrying if it weren't so very, very enjoyable.

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel is one of the show programmer/hosts, and BR's Editor-in-Chief – somehow.