It’s hard to believe that the Brighton and London-based label is actually 20-years-old: doesn’t time fly. To celebrate this milestone anniversary they have released a compilation of some of the best tracks to have passed through their doors over the years. Catskills Records: 20 Years of Victory is available in beautifully designed triple-gatefold coloured vinyl, a double CD digipack that resembles a book and a digital download that includes added bonus tracks. The 23 Catskills greats they’ve selected for the compilation take you on a bit of a journey through the label’s history, from the ambient track that kicked it all off, ‘Indian Motorcycles’ by Sonorous Star (featuring label founders Khalid and Amr Mallassi), to dance-floor fillers like ‘Drop’ by Bushy and plenty in-between from artists like Featurecast, Black Grass, Pepe Deluxe, Husky Rescue and more. This rhythmical collection shows off the diversity of Catskill’s interests – sticking more often to sample-based sounds, rather than pure electronic, it traverses many-a-genre on its guided tour through the last couple of decades: everything from hip-hop, funk and break-beat to reggae, punk and even prog rock gets a look in.
The compilation also includes two new exclusive cuts: the frankly bonkers ‘Go, Girls, Go!’ by Pepe Deluxe, which sounds almost like a cross between Deerhoof and The Go! Team, and compilation closer ‘My Shelter’ with a modern ambient electronic sound that borders on anthemic. The album sleeve features artwork by Ante Kemppainen, who is known for designing a lot of the Angry Birds game. It features cartoony cat characters but done in the painterly style that’s reminiscent of a Star Wars poster.
Catskills were one of the victims of the famous warehouse fire in 2011 which took out an awful lot of vinyl, making this the only place some of the tracks on this compilation can be bought now. The vinyl contains a surprise bonus track from Pepe Deluxe’s ‘That Track!’, that’s not been available since its first pressing in 1999 sold out.
To coincide with the release Catskills will be holding a weekend of parties in Brighton and London to launch the album, with guest DJs and free entry on both nights you’d be a fool to miss them. If you’re in Brighton head to the Dead Wax Social even on Friday 25 November where DJs will include Pepe Deluxe, Husky Rescue, Black Grass, Hardkandy, Sonorous Star, Jonny Reggae and Professor. In London on Saturday the Catskills crew will be taking over Mick’s Garage with the core of Pepe Deluxe, Husky Rescue, Black Grass, Sonorous Star and Jonny Reggae joined by Carl Faure.
So here’s to Catskills Records; raise your glasses and celebrate another one of the great musical institutions to have Brighton origins. With their penchant for mixing things up and keeping us guessing who knows what the next 20 years will have in store. One thing you can guarantee: it’s bound to get your heads nodding!