Compost Records

Compost Records
Compost Records


"With great pleasure I pronounce Compost the most consistent and forward thinking record label of continental Europe. Quietly releasing the right and proper pieces from a slowly building alternative club culture that has now not only made worldwide news but is also changing the rules Stateside! Compost is the honest and independent vision of Michael Reinboth who I first met when he invited me to play at his tiny residency in Munich 13 years ago! I was at that "lets see what's up in Deutschland phase" and Michael was the first to show me there was a future in playing cool records for a living!

In the years that have passed his label has somehow not only represented the correct edge but most importantly has given this scene a true base enabling DJs and artists a feeling of being part of something truly meaningful! It hasn't been easy as there's always someone ready to put you down but after enough time you achieve collective strength to knock the cynics off! Today all of clublife is looking at Germany a little like the French touch a few years back and where Daft Punk led the disco revival I feel truly excited at the impact Truby, Jazzanova, Kruder , the Fauna Flash crew and the whole Compost family will have on world clubbing related music ! These guys are bringing the Soul back! Ask Oakenfold, Carl Cox or Tenaglia and you'll see that even the biggest djs in the world are tuned and inspired by those Bavarian beats."

Gilles Peterson (“Worldwide”, BBC, Brownswood Rec, Talking Loud, Worldwide FM)


The Label

Compost Records evolved in its 25 years of existence from a small one-man bedroom label to a very productive, highly acclaimed label trademark, located in Munich. The label was founded by Michael Reinboth, who is still CEO and A&R. Today Compost Records including Compost Black Label has roundabout 550 releases, within almost 90% of all catalogue numbers on vinyl (!) only a very very few digital only releases. But that’s not all: plus circa 250 catalogue releases on these subsidiary labels: Drumpoet Community, Beat Art Department, Rumpelmusig, Hobby Musik and Compost Disco, which are active, vital and bubbling. The sublabels Compose, Jazzanova Compost Records (JCR), Compute, Angors Steel are inactive, but Compost exploiting most of the back catalogue of the inoperative labels.

Most popular artists with various albums are:  Beanfield, Trüby Trio, Fauna Flash, Koop, Jazzanova, Kyoto Jazz Masive , Minus 8, Felix Laband, Marbert Rocel, Robert Owens, Rainer Trüby, Sepalot, Marsmobil, Web Web.

The highly acclaimed, “true classics” (De:Bug magazine) compilation series  Various Artists "Future Sounds Of Jazz" (Vol. 1 – 14) compiled by Michael Reinboth, the Various Artists “Glücklich” series (complied by Rainer Trüby) are both credited and praised as: Best Of Top 25 Compilations Of All Times  in magazines like “Mix Mag, “Groove”, “The Face” or “Jockey Slut”. Other Compost compilation series like „Elaste“, „Party Keller“, „I Like it“, „Maiden Voyage“ or „Slouse“ were also very successful.

For more info, backround about the label and artists, and full story of Michael Reinboth’s life-course, see the linernotes attached to the 25 years anniversary 10 x LP box-set.


The Music / The Genres

Since the very beginning 2003 the sound is hard to define and describe, as there are no particular one-style. Strict no boundaries, diverse musical influences and mixing all sorts of musical styles together, preferably Disco, Jazz, Brazil, Hip Hop, Electro, Techno, Detroit, House, Soul, Broken Beat.

As Rainer Trueby said: “Jazz stands in as the godfather, electronic music as the mother and we are the children.”
The German music magazine Groove simply combines everything under the name of "phusion". But that’s maybe not even half of the ingredients or story. Compost Records is definitely the pioneer label which invented  the genre „Future Jazz“, as an later on – from Discogs to Wikipedia - accepted and acclaimed musical genre.

One of the unspoken secrets behind Compost’s longevity, vital refreshment and underground success throughout the years of a virulent difficult business and is the fact that – and if you take a look into the huge catalogue which improve such - Compost always signed and developed a huge bunch of talents, newcomers, fresh blood, and a lot of those producers /artists are still releasing frequently on the label. As a little contradiction to other labels with such a longevity and numeric artist roster, those labels often signing bigger names and exploiting artists with a sales history of previous albums on other labels. Compost never really signed existing big names from the offered plates.

The meaning „compost“ is described by cult-author Greil Marcus in Lipstick Traces: „After Dada, all art sat in a compost pile, its mystifications sucked into the methane. There could be no real communication; all words had come loose from their meanings and floated free of their owners. Still, a compost pile was good for something: fertilizer. Along with the preordained stages of amplification and decomposition there was another possibility: that of „ciselant“ (chiseling away). This was active, conscious decomposition, and it was the only means to active creation“

None of the average descriptions of styles or genres are really fitting to Compost’s music. Compost’s music is unpredictable, full spectrum, variety, oozes soul or history (even sometimes via sampling).

Why Label Name “Compost”

The root oft he word „compost“ is going back to the Middle Ages. “Compost” is said to be something very mystical. Originally in the middle ages the spoken word “compost” meant a “magic thang” or something “suspect”.

Early 1993 Michael Reinboth met a girlfriend, telling her about his idea of starting a label, probably name it Compost. She was perplexed responding: Do you know that the biennial convention (taking place every two years in the USA) of the positive witches called Compost Convention. Seriously. Mystical. She explained any further: because simply the people couldn’t neither know nor explain why compost (with leaves or greenery or corn) heaps could really explode with a big bang boom. Later detected and rationalised, such a compost heap can burst because of chemical interactions (gas evolution of rotten fermented natural materials). The folks couldn’t understand why such corn or greenery heaps were simply exploding when the humid weather was animating the fermentation and gas development in such muggy heaps. Simply the people have attributed and suspected those magical mystery moments to the witches and their witchcraft.

Wow, that was a magic moment for Michael, too. Compost can fulminant blow up, so the labelname was inevitable.


Looking at the word “com-post” the two syllables “com” and “post” are very modern. When Compost started  1993 /94 the era was called the times. And  “Compost” is international! It has the same meaning and almost the same spelling in several languages such as British and American-English, French and German.

“Compost” means as well a biodynamic process – a chemical decomposition. Perhaps an chemical attack! A catalyst for constitution and reactions also used as a word for fertilizing or recycling. In music terms a toxic combination of great little parts via sampling, sequencing integration making something new out of old musical parts we like.

Compost Records was founded in 1993 by Michael Reinboth, DJ since 1980, composer, music journalist, club- and party organizer and promoter, producer, scout, publisher of an magazine called “Elaste” in the early 80ties, a football fan and a dedicated record collector (more than 70.000 vinyl). You will find more facts about Michael Reinboth in his biography and the linernotes of the 25 Years Compost Records anniversary box-set)

The first release “Fresh In My Mind” by A Forest Mighty Black went straight to an small underground-hit, sold nowadays more than 9.000 12inches and founding its channels to the playlists of DJs like James Lavelle (who later founded MoWax), Gilles Peterson or Kyoto Jazz Massive. The follow up releases by Beanfield, Fauna Flash or Trueby Trio substantiate the fresh vibe and success. In the beginning the international acclaim was bit excelsior and deeper than in Germany. But after a while the bashfully Germans – who rarely hyping their own artists, actors and cultural scenes, were convinced by the massive good output and the international popularity of Compost Records.


The Compost catalogue holds remixes from great well-known underground producers such as:
Carl Craig, Moodymann, Laurent Garnier, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Dixon, Ame, Peshay, DJ Krust, Recloose, Ian Pooley, Patrick Pulsinger, Pole, Cinematic Orchestra, SWAG, Attica Blues, Seiji, Quantic, Masters At Work, John Daly, Solomun, John Tejada, Tiefschwarz, Todd Terje, Junior Boys, Henrik Schwarz, Whignomy Bros, Chloé, Pilooski, Jazzanova, Morgan Geist, Maurice Fulton, Michel Cleis, Recondite, Gerd Janson, Delano Smith, Louie Vega, Glenn Underground, Acid Pauli, Joris Voorn, Konstantin Sibold, Peter Kruder, Dinki, Tuff City Kids and many many others.

Label Design /CI

Andrew Arnold has been Head Of Design at JCR, Compost Records ever since the first release till 2003. After 2003 he did the corporate identity for the Red Bull Music Academy. While his education for architecture he began designing the first record covers for Compost and Compose. Andrew was responsible for the major part of the label's visual appearance, having designed most of the early record covers up to circa Compost 200, plus advertising, flyers, merchandising and Compost’s first website. After 2003 Compost was working with a lot of freelance graphic designers (for example C100 / Christian Hundertmark, Benjamin Röder, Paul Putzar and Thomas Elsner (who founded 1980 the „Elaste“ magazine with Michael Reinboth). Benjamin Röder is the graphic designer for the whole Compost Black Label and Compost Disco series.

Press quotes (selection):

„Munich’s Compost label is a total roll...... Hunt this down.“ (I-D, UK)

„Swap the Thames for the Isar and Michael Reinboth is your James Lavelle or Gilles Peterson. Drum’n’Bass and TripHop are finally taking hold in Germany, due in no small measure to the tireless efforts of
Compost.“ (Straight No Chaser, UK)

„The Mo Wax of Germany“ (P.O.P Magazine, Sweden)

„Germany’s first address for triphop and jazzy grooves“ (Acid Jazz Magazine, Italy)

„Michael Reinboth, head of Compost is a cosmonaut searching for the good vibes in other galaxies!“ (Deep-Magazine, Germany)

„...the Munich based Compost see ‘jazz’ as a byword for pushing boundaries. A future to welcome and embrace“ (Muzik, UK)

„Organic and envinylmentally friendly, the dynamic and innovative Compost Records is enriching the growing international jazz scene.“ (On The One-Magazine, USA)

„Fine smelling experimental downtempo label“ (Jockey Slut, UK)

„The history of the label shows that German electronic music has a lot more to offer“ (Jockey Slut, UK)

„Germany’s answer to Talking Loud! Watch out for 1997 - most rated label out of Germany! (Muzik, UK)

„Munich’s Compost label has become somewhat of a treasure trove over the last couple of years“ (Jockey Slut, UK)

„Compost is magic“ (Touch Magazine, UK)

„Compost shows that German electronic music has a lot more to offer than just the harsh four-to-the-floor it was so long (in)famous for.“ (Jockey Slut, UK)

„Compost records are such a breath of fresh air in the field of modern dance music.“ (Update, UK)

„Somehow, thoughts of Germans and squiggly electronic jazz with loads of oomphin’ funk don’t go in hand, but Compost has changed that in recent years.“ (Muzik, UK)

“The emergence of Compost Records over the last couple of years plus a surplus of class acts ... have provided a welcoming light of funky warmth to a worldwide scene” (XLR8R, USA)

“Germany’s finest ... “ (Discoid, Italy)

“Nobody in London could do as Compost Records” (Groove, Japan)

“Germany’s premier post-jazz label” (Muzik; UK)

“Now that the French have gone overground, it’s the turn of the Germans to lead the underground resistance” (Attitude).

“Munich’s Compost Records continues to set the standard for groundbreaking electronic music with an organ feel.” (Alternative Press)

“Compost is virtually untouchable these days, both in quality and output.” (Vice Vol.6)

"Compost has created an eclectic and spiritual milieu.” (Billboard)

“One of the most impressive aspects of the musical scene that centers around Munich’s Compost label is the resource sharing and community building” (URB magazine)

„Stern des Südens“ (Spex)

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