The underground kings of Fade to Mind

If Night Slugs was the finest label of 2010, a case could be made that sister label Fade to Mind wore the crown last year. While not matching the output of the prolific London imprint in quantity, Fade to Mind has made a mark by documenting the most exciting developments in American club music.

The brainchild of LA’s Kingdom and Texas producer Prince William, Fade to Mind is more than a label: it’s a collective of like-minded artists who produce club music that maintains the rough edges of its underground origins. Fade to Mind doesn’t seem interested in “mainsteaming” these cultures as much as uniting underground scenes from LA to New York and all points in between.

After releasing a limited-edition, bootleg mix CD, Fade to Mind’s first official release was the superb Timesup EP by standard bearers Nguzunguzu. The EP is an exploration of mutated bass music that oscillates between sensual and creepy. The video for standout “Water Bass Power” features the off-kilter, aquatic weirdness that defines seapunk.

New Jersey’s MikeQ has become synonymous with the the recent re-emergence and popularity of ballroom music. Fittingly, his first major release, Let It All Out, was Fade to Mind’s second. The EP is an introduction to vogue staples like the Ha beat and speakers like Kevin JZ Prodigy; it even includes a remix by genre originator Vjuan Allure. Continuing to delve into ballroom, the label just dropped a free EP from Massachusetts producer Rizzla, who, along with spinning the Ha (“Badmind Ha”), takes on tropical rave (“Psychoton”). In true ballroom style, “Dick” is a sexed up club track based on a Lil’ Kim sample that you can figure out from the title.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/03 DICK.mp3″ text=”Rizzla – Dick” dl=1]

Fade to Mind hasn’t stopped there, also releasing an EP by the label’s lone European (for now): Gremino. The Finnish producer’s Let’s Jack is a percussive, aggressive take on techno and grime. The breakbeats on “Lush” shake foundations and the midrange pulses on the title track are haunting. Rounding out the collective’s lineup are artists Total Freedom, Cedaa, Clicks & Whistles, and Fatima Al Qadiri, collaborators who will hopefully be releasing music through the label soon.

Want to hear what Fade to Mind is all about without going to their LA-based monthlies? These twin mixes from the label heads do the trick. Just rest assured you’ll be hearing more from Fade to Mind sooner than later.

[wpaudio url=”http://fadetomind.net/audio/ftm_mix_001.mp3″ text=”Prince William – Fade to Mind Mix 001″ dl=1]

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