V/A - Music From Memory - Compiled by Chee Shimizu (CD)
01 Suso Saiz - Ya Son Dos Los Cielos
02 Joan Bibiloni - Sa Fosca
03 Workdub - Caravan (Revisited)
04 Joan Bibiloni - Sobrevivir
05 Suso Saiz - Linda Cubana
06 Michal Turtle - Maid of The Mist
07 Roberto Musci - Tatamatave
08 Michal Turtle - Village Voice
09 Vito Ricci - The Centre of The Bridge
10 Suso Saiz - Se Que Estas Ahi
11 Roberto Musci - Nexus On The Beach
12. Gigi Masin - Snake Theory
13 Suso Saiz - The Guardian
14 Gaussian Curve - Red Light
15 Gigi Masin - Moor
Chee Shimizu - MFM Live Mix @ Forest Limit Tokyo, 11th July, 2016
Music From Memory; such an aptly-named label. It refers to an album by Vito Ricci, an American composer whose productions have been compiled and reissued on the label. No other name would do more justice to the label’s ethos.
The label was launched to prevent overlooked music from drifting into obscurity. That was in 2012, nearly two years after its founders opened Redlight Records, a record store in Amsterdam. After passing the hustle and bustle of Chinatown from Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and along the road into a small pathway, you slip into the Oudekerksplein, a square above which the canal city's oldest church has towered since it was built in the 14th century. In contrast to the heft and dignity of its architecture, window displays all around emanate sensual, blazing, crimson illumination. Sitting in a corner is Redlight Records. Despite having barely enough space for more than 10 people, the small shop has always offered chance encounters and chats about music over cigarettes and beer. Now it has grown into a hot spot many devoted music heads firmly deem to be among Europe's finest. Since the establishment of Music From Memory, both the shop's extensive selection and the label's catalogue have increasingly gained customers’ trust with each passing day, so much so that their reputation has already reached as far as here in Japan.
It was 11 years back now when I first met Tako Reyenga, one of the founders of the label who also owns the shop, which coincided with my London visit as part of a European tour of Discosession; a DJ trio I formed with Dr. Nishimura and Jonny Nash. Similarly booked as a guest DJ for another warehouse party the week before, he had been staying in the British capital for a while and came along to our night. His affable nature helped us hit it off immediately and we made a promise of reunion in the near future. The following year, he flew to Japan and we had a great time on an eccentric yet terrific DJ tour across the country. Despite us staying in touch every now and again, however, a number of years went by before we had the opportunity to meet up once more. On this occasion, I had just opened a second-hand record store and had set off on a record-purchasing journey that included a stopover in Amsterdam, where a get-together with Tako finally took place. I still vividly remember this visit to his house, where he played me many of his favourites from a splendid array of records on the floor, leaving me with an impression that completely defied my preconceptions about his music taste. Just as I had begun leaning away from dance music, his selection also demonstrated his avid appetite beyond the confines of a single style; krautrock, electronic, experimental, ambient, world music amongst others. This encouraged our relationship to develop closer; Tako guiding me through record shops in Holland and Germany every time I travelled Europe. His house frequently hosted visits from his music peers. That was where I met co-owners-to-be of Redlight Records and Music From Memory, his friend from childhood Abel Nagengast and ex-pat Londoner Jamie Tiller, with whom we would go on to savour many all-night listening sessions.
The trio's cultivated sense and unquenchable thirst to explore music were real eye-openers even back then, making themselves a one-of-a-kind digger collective that effortlessly went well beyond the boundaries of times and genres to delve into varieties of music while maintaining a consistent aesthetic. Hearing that they were going to launch a label, I could think of no vocation that would be more suitable. Kicking things off with Leon Lowman, Music From Memory has released newly edited compilations of unearthed gems by obscure underground musicians from across the world―Gigi Masin, Joan Bibiloni, Vito Ricci, Suso Sáiz, Napoleon Cherry, Michal Turtle, Roberto Musci and more―as well as the Gaussian Curve album where two spearheads of the next generation Jonny Nash and Young Marco recorded sessions with Gigi Masin. Their exceptional aesthetic, combined with the energy to realise it, has helped them receive critical acclaim in many fields in under three years. On top of that, a sub-label, Second Circle, was established in 2014 to put out tracks by superb current creators on 12-inch singles, also providing an outlet for more a dance-oriented appeal. The labels have now grown by leaps and bounds into important symbols of a certain movement in the underground music scene.
In order to illuminate the historic trajectory of such a distinctive imprint, a plan to create a Music From Memory compilation was put forward. Based on our old friendship, the job offer of curator and selector fell to me. Having never thought I would find myself working with them on a project like this, but I now find myself facing a laptop, wringing this little text out of myself.
The compilation consists of two CDs. Disk 1 is home listening that includes eight generationally, geographically and musically divergent projects from the label list. Yet I feel I’ve managed to make a selection capturing a particular thread and creating a certain flow out of a group of tunes that don’t sit comfortably in easy tags, like ambient or Balearic. Disk 2, on the other hand, features a live non-stop mix recorded at Forestlimit, a multifaceted, experimental space in Hatagaya, Tokyo, hoping to help listeners understand that, in Music From Memory's catalogue, there are many experimental tracks that nonetheless function as dance music.
The label will certainly continue, through their exquisite filter, introducing pieces by truly astonishing and spine-tingling artists that let our hearts beat with delight. Indeed, there are no fillers in their work. I'm pleased and proud from the bottom of my heart that they have developed into such a highly credible label. Super Nice!