Label Talk: New York Trax

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In music, cities are often tied to a certain sound. This is also true in case of techno, which has a couple of big cities maintaining a specific “movement” within the genre. Most likely Detroit and Berlin will be the first places that come up in one’s mind. But with the States being such a big country, it’s not unreasonable to ask if there’s any other metropolis that is important to mention. They call it the Big Apple and the city of dreams. It’s also the home of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. It’s impossible to sound more obvious, by now you should know that we are talking about the biggest city in the US: New York.

History has shown us a lot of musical geniuses that were born in New York, such as Rick Rubin, Nile Rodgers and many more. Digging into electronic music, we encounter stuff like Afrika Bambaata, Fischerspooner, Moby and that’s just only the tip of the iceberg. But what about techno? Skeptics would say “New York isn’t very present in techno, so how on earth would it have its own sound?” What if we tell you that New York was actually the first city in the US next to Detroit that got into techno? Detroit has Jeff Mills, but New York has Joey Beltram, Frankie Bones and Adam X. We could go on and on, but now we are going to take a look at the representation of the NY sound through labels.

With a long history spanning more than 2 decades, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are labels in New York that deliver our beloved electronic style. Labels like The Bunker, L.I.E.S., Fifth Wall will ring a bell. Those labels have a large plethora of artists, who are based around the world. Can they represent the sound of New York? Maybe. What if we ask you: Name a label, that’s fully made in New York, from A to Z.

The answer brings us to the real subject of our article: New York Trax. This label is new, and it’s the result of the idea of a woman that wanted to create a home exclusively for New York techno artists. Plain and simple, isn’t it? And to add up to that goal, every single feature of each release is made in New York as well. All these little elements make something really genuine. That’s what we understood after Nicole Gier, the founder and owner of the label, explained to us what New York Trax is all about.

“New York Trax is an outlet for New York music, by New York artists, in New York City. The records are pressed at a local plant, Brooklyn Vinyl Works, and mastered and distributed by the legendary Dietrich Schoenemann of Complete USA. All graphic design is New York-themed and based on photos taken in New York. New York Trax is 100% local in its nature and its aim is to promote and elevate the New York scene worldwide.“

The first supply of New York Trax 01 was sold out within weeks, which gives us a clear indication about the quality of the music. New York Trax made a statement: this DIY label is here to stay, and the fans are willing to support the New York scene.

About the first release

The first release was made by Richard Hinge. Google that name and there might not be a lot of information, which makes him enigmatic. But if you dig deep into New York’s late 90’s scene, you’ll realize that Richard Hinge is nothing short of a legend, releasing various EPs and appearing on a few spilt EPs. Richard Hinges has that signature New York electro style in most of his releases, but he can also cook up some major warehouse bangers.

After nearly a 10 year hiatus, Hinge has brought the 90’s back with 3 fine cuts of pure classic techno. Changes, which is an absolute banger, is accompanied by an enthralled bassline and some bell like melodies that take you back to the classics. Voices In my Head hits you close to home with an acid vibe, and also has a ghostly special effects to compliment the title. Movement is exactly what the title express, an old school style foot stomping track from start to finish with high pitched special effects. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on this record — keep it, as it will be a classic for years to come.

The first release of New York Trax

The Birth of New York Trax Imports

After the success of NYT01, New York Trax was ready to unleash its second EP, coming out of the plant and almost ready to be shipped to stores. Then a label’s worst nightmare became a reality; the artist known as Hayden Hush did the utterly most disrespectful act an artist can do. She stole the 3 tracks from various artist. Nicole was contacted by Another Alias claiming that one of the tracks on the upcoming EP was his. After a few days of horror, Hayden Hush finally told Nicole who made the other two tracks. Nicole initially had no idea what to do, but she quickly got back on her feet and decided that the vinyl is not going to waste, nor would this experience have a negative effect on the label. In turn, Nicole thought of a brilliant plan: to create a sub-label called New York Trax Imports, where artists from around the world that shared the same vision as NYT does, could release their music with no boundaries of creativity. Although New York Trax hit a slump, it returned within weeks with its first New York Trax Imports record (vinyl only) which was released on July 21 2016, with great response from the community.

About New York Trax Imports 01

The first Imports record is a split between Swedish based producer Dawid Dahl and Ireland’s Another Alias. Dawid Dahl has releases on Porslin records and Ragnarok and does thunderous live acts, for which he is currently gaining worldwide fame. We can guarantee that he will soon be a recognizable name in the techno community. Another Alias has a few releases under his belt, including an EP on Green Fetish Records and Connected. He also did a remix for Casper Hasting entitled Crater, which is on B55 records.

The enter EP is a next-level Techno masterpiece; including perfectly distorted kicks, innovative percussion sounds, otherworldly textural synths and effects. Every one of these tracks is made for underground parties and people.

The first track by Dawid Dahl is entitled Krig. This track is not your typical Techno cut, this one is on the hard spectrum with uproarious kicks, but it’s also progressive in its own way. This track changes leads mid-way through the song, which is rarely heard of in today’s scene, but Dawid finds a way to incorporate it in a seamless and technical fashion.

Second track is by Another Alias, entitled Craic Fiend. This track contains a hard distorted kick throughout, and detuned chord to add a dark appeal to the track. This cut is especially innovative by having a massive offbeat breakdown.

Gehenna by Dawid Dalh, is the last track on the EP. What a great way to end the EP! The track starts out with an astringent bassline that has phenomenal texture — coarse and dynamic. Then the track completes itself with an eerie pad to give an apocalyptic mood.

This record is limited to only 200 copies, and is on sale on Bandcamp and in Record stores around New York City, worldwide distribution to follow. Overall, this EP is something special and fits well in the New York Trax catalog and style.

New York Trax’s Future

New York Trax’s future seems limitless; Nicole expanded the brand to created a booking agency with names such as the NYC legend Reade Truth, the L.I.E.S artists Pure Matrix and Jake Reif aka Device Control to name a few. The label has another release on its way entitled New York Trax 02. As of yet, there isn’t a lot of information about the new release, but we asked Nicole if she could share something about it, and this is what she said: “The next record on New York Trax will be something special — 3 hard, fast and nasty tracks carefully selected as my opposition to the repetitive and mediocre material constantly flooding our scene.” It seems like NY Trax will continue to grow into a reputable label, and we look forward to seeing what it has in store.

Next: The Cast Project

About Techno Scene Label Talk

In the big chain of entities and pieces that are all part of the world of music, there’s always been one thing that is pretty conventional and necessary for artists, their music and the publishing: labels. Each style has got a number of labels with its own characteristics and spirit, and with various possibilities to start a label, it might be unclear for people to see what labels are really worth it to dig in. In this article series we want to keep a selection new and young techno labels below the looking glass and talk about the people that are behind it, their artists and releases and more.