Developments in Record Land episode 1: The Sampler

While CD sales have been decimated over the past years, vinyl is said to be doing better than ever these days according to journalists and industry reps. A few words of warning before you quit your job at the factory and set up a record label: it's mainly reissues of classic rock albums that have been selling well, the market for 12" electronica is actually tougher than ever. It's interesting to see how small independent labels respond to these challenging times. Over the past years, we've witnessed the rise of superlimited and stupidly overpriced one-sided releases. We've seen labels (both new and old) take the DIY route, with handstamped, numbered runs of vinyl. Other imprints try to stand out by investing in proper artwork on the sleeve. The most interesting development from a record buyer's perspective though, is the advent of the mini-compilation or sampler. Four tunes by four different artists. Bigger names and new talent sharing sides of a record. Usually no room for remixes, but 4 original tracks: serious value for money.

Let's sink our teeth in three ace samplers that are doing the rounds at the moment.

Sccucci Manucci's second release was Juno's best selling record for weeks on end, and deservedly so. The 12" (with killer sleeve-art) kicks off with a classy uptempo loose disco workout by Jacques Renault. He shares his side of the record with Zoo Look's Early Doors, a lush and moody 94 BPM ride that we've been playing loads since we got our hands on the vinyl. On the B side our mustache-loving friends introduce two new names. Casino Times flips Chaka Khan and De La Soul's 90s pop hit 'Aint All Good' into a chunky stomper that made its way into the bags of all the big jocks (which actually surprised me, as I don't care for it too much in all honesty, I guess I just don't like that sample). The last track, Picture House's Blaxploitation is a nice midtempo chugger with big drums, fun sirens and heavy claps and rounds things off rather nicely.

Our friends over at Wolf Music have been perfecting the art of the sampler for a few years now. Their latest one, Wolf Music 009, is nothing short of stunning. Fantastic Man with a beast of a tune (the buildup is just insane), the much-hyped Wolf Music stalwart Medlar drops another pearl of a track (90s bouncy US house antics with cheeky disco snips, can't go wrong there), a token heavy, haunting synth number by Greymatter and a vintage sounding Bicep remix of Medlar's Terrell (the standout cut from Wolf 008). I think I played three out of four at my latest gig, not a bad score I'd wager. BIG record.

I have a real soft spot for The House of Disco's upcoming sophomore effort. Their debut release, with tracks from Nicholas, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Toomy Disco and Psychemagic was really strong, and this second release pushes all the right buttons again. The Groovers have reworked Lionel's All Night Long, and as scary as that sounds, the result is lovely and works a real treat on a big system. Luminodisco's moody excursion 'Too Night' is a delightful slice of midtempo deephouse that sounds like what I'd imagine Charles Webster would make on Nepali. Rocco Raimundo's sweet and sexy Give Me Your Love is one of the best slo-mo edits I've heard in a while, and our friend Matt Kyle got his hands dirty on Toni Braxton to great effect. About to come out and about to blow up big, this nifty release.

I think we can safely say that samplers are awesome, maximum bang for your buck (cheaper than four wavs) and great way to give new kids on the block a break.

No links to Juno this time around, try and pick up these puppies at your local record dealer, they need all the support they can get.