Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Have you got the Urge?

Urge Mode is a new Scottish net-label, assembled as part of the "single unifying outlet" Black Lantern Music; artists from all walks of life and different scenes have the opportunity to release their music - think of a mall for goods, divided into different stores. Indeed browsing round the Black Lantern site is like rifling the rails of dance, and the remit is so broad that head of sub-label Urge Mode, Morphamish is not sure if there is one at all - "there's room for any interesting music."

The website is a three channel collaboration, and he explains that each channel can be considered as different points on the same map; Neverzone, Weaponizer and Urge Mode "fulfill overlapping functions within Black Lantern Music." Neverzone looks after the experimental hip-hop and electronic side of things; Weaponizer holds the trip-hop and art-rock slant, and Urge Mode keeps a keen eye on the dancefloor. "Again it does overlap a fair bit - we don't want to be majorly strict with ourselves. Weaponizer puts out some dubstep and Neverzone some electronica, but it's always in keeping with its identity. It's just nice to have faith in each other's choices, and not entirely needing to confer about decisions regarding what to release, while still collaborating with each other taking the label as a whole forward," says Morphamish.

Three channels are up and running (Urge Mode the most recent of these), outputting 18 releases to date and enabling the team to "get a diverse output that still hangs together as a label." Urge Mode itself was "born out of a love of all bass music, and not feeling the need to stick to a style; to draw from anywhere and everywhere, as long as it's compelling."

To date the label has had three releases, described by Morphamish as "hard-edged and dark", a style Urge Mode dearly loves, but insists that another side will be shown over the next few EPs, sporting melodic, deep and warm tracks based around the experimental dubstep, breakbeat and techno scenes. Pencil in these forthcoming beats in your diaries now, and note the names of Drokkr, Shatterfreak, Tactus, Boondock and Supasub, the latter of which is Morphamish's own collaboration with Club Volume! resident Paranoise. "Overall there will be mellowness, grooviness and outright mentalism in equal measure - many diverse, weird and wonderful releases, plus some special super deluxe guerilla events", he tells Lo-Quality.

How do Urge Mode select these artists? "Natural selection - if they can survive seven death-defying tasks to bring me an exquisitely flavoured delicacy from the very edge of the world - providing it sounds good we'll put it out!"

One thing you will immediately notice about the site is a lack of pound signs or 'add to cart' labels: indeed the music is free download, and it's difficult to see where the money-making element comes into it. "The ethos is just to put out great music without compromise, to as many people as possible," he explains, "It's all free download. These days unless you are pretty big you are only going to make money from from live shows anyway, so why not give people the music, we want it to be heard." And with that, Lo-Quality is astonished at how easy and uncomplicated it almost seems; in the battle for distribution rights and peer-to-peer clashes here is a division of labels who will let you access music for free, on the reasoning that it if you dig it you'll probably make the effort to see the artist live. As a portion of illegal downloaders will agree, downloading is similar to Fopp Record Shop's 'Suck it and See' policy - why spend money on a track you'll detest, when you can make a decision prior to purchase and spend your money in the right places; like on a gig you actually want to see, than a CD you may end up using as an indoor frisbee.

So what urges will we feel when we hear the new Urge Mode releases? "Whatever feels natural at the time, you'll know when you feel it. Most often it's to frolic naked, grinning, skipping and shouting for joy into the great beyond for a bright and beautiful tomorrow/tonight."

Grab live Urge Mode action when Morphamish and Texture perform at the Wickerman festival's poetry stage this month.

Urge Mode Artists and Releases
  • The Crooked One A.K.A. Blackmass Plastics (Rag and Bone, Combat) - 'The Spinal Conflict EP'
  • Drokkr (Stupid Fly, Crossroads)
  • Paranoise (Volume, Nerve, Apparition)
  • Stick 430 (Irridium, Cube) - 'Don't Forget The Mixer'
  • Tactus (Jungledub, Abaga records)
  • Leith Weapon A.K.A. Operator (Scandinavia, Mighty Robot)
  • Morphamish+Texture (previously Double Helix) (Audiodacity, Labrat) - 'The Urge Mode EP'
  • Boondock A.K.A. The Coldharbour Crackhead (Confusion)
  • Shatterfreak (Subversus/Stomp) - 'A Stitch In Sine'
  • More TBA

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