Josh Doherty, half of Posthuman, has been running the Balkan Vinyl label for a decade now along with its many sub labels including I Love Acid, connected to the parties of the same name. Before the pandemic, Josh had been advocating for better allocation of royalties to small labels and producers from UK festivals and clubs. Since the UK’s first period of lockdown has been working on ways to channel income from sales directly to artists and producers. As a result some of the hitherto vinyl-only classics from I Love Acid became available in April as digital downloads with all income going straight to the artists – you can finally now pickup Jerome Hill’s Consumed, Luke Vibert’s Manaval, amongst others.
Balkan Vinyl has had a backlog of releases held up by COVID that are now all coming out in a big Northern summer rush. Mixing up between limited vinyl only and widely accessible digital downloads, there’s some really fantastic new tracks across those releases. Even though there is no foreseeable future of clubs for them to be played in, right now, there are some real gems here.
Lets start with the two very limited, 303 copies of each, I Love Acid releases. Posthuman’s three tracker ILA021 has three lovely midtempo pieces pairing bone dry drums with suitably expansive pads and twisty acid lines with Ice-9 Acid being an perfect sunrise track for a rave in a field circa 1992. ILA022 from Manchester’s Eastern Bloc resident Kerrie. Her four tracker, ILA022, opens with Blackshadow Interloper which reminds me of Cologne acid circa 1993, a pitched down dJungle Fever release at 33 maybe especially when the swarming wasp sounds come into the mix midway through. But its pHO and its Posthuman remix that are killers with bubbling acid lines weaving in and out like rave hands.
Not only have there been those releases, but Balkan Vinyl has also begun a new weekly Wednesday drop with digital EPs which come paired, if you wish, with a unique (and garish!) luminous t-shirt. So far there’s Global Goon’s Give It To Ya EP has two tracks slowed down hip hop speed 8-bit acid funk and two more uptempo rave tracks. Bobba Fett is probably the pick of the four with its mid 90s West Coast acid breakbeat vibes. Similarly on Milanese producer Elise Bee’s Orbit EP, with three peak time tracks, its again the breakbeats of the self-explanatory Rave 90 that are the stand out. Granary 12’s High 1987 EP is four tracks of ‘straight outta 88’ with Tobacco Dock‘s sample of HHFD’s Total Confusion. Hrdvsion’s 666 XXX EP has three tracks of snappy ravey electro.
And Posthuman has a pay-what-you-want track for 707 Day, 707 Heaven, made entirely on 1985’s Roland 707 drum machine that is straight up machine funk.
Lots of things to tickle your eardrums with in the absence of places to dance.