FOR A LIVING
"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)
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 dot.com 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)
In spring 2005, Compost Records launched a new sublabel platform for more club-oriented electronic music. The Compost Black Label stand for house, 12“ vinyls and unites a variety of newcomer and internationally renowned house producers and composers, such as:
Move D, Peter Kruder, Solomun, Manuel Tur, Alex Attias, Matt Flores, Phreek Plus One, TJ Kong & Nuno Dos Santos, Patrick Pulsinger, DJ Yellow, Jay Shepheard, Rainer Trüby, Roberto Rodriguez, K’Bonus & Negghead, DJ Le Roi, Christian Prommer, dan Mela, Dodi Palese, Turntablerocker, Show-B, Ogris Debris, Shahrokh Dini, Rey & Kjavik, Trickski, Musumeci, Olderic, Emilie Nana, Liquid Phonk, Karim Sahraoui, and many others.
Up to date nearly 150 Compost Black Label 12“ are released.
Compost´s sub-label output feeds the worldwide dancefloor, also celebrated at the “Compost Black Label Sessions” clubnights at Munich´s popular clubs Die Registratur, Harry Klein, Bob Beaman, Kong a.o..
Actually there were roughly 380 Compost Black Label Radio Sessions streamed weekly via various radio stations, for example Ibiza Sonica, Ego FM, Pioneer DJ Radio, Big City Beats, Soundcloud a.o. The Compost Black Label Radio Sessions are hosted by Flo Førg and Tommy Buerkle (aka Tom Burclay). It’s a 1h DJ mix with fresh house deep house music from around the globe. Each Compost Black Radio Sessions show is featuring a prominent guest DJ mix.
Six (6) Compost Black Label compilations are released on CD / digital, containing top quality house tracks of the Compost Black Label, selected and mixed by Jay Shepheard (Vol.3), Show-B (Vol.4), Thomas Herb (Vol.5), Olderic & Musumeci (Vol.6).
In 2010 Michael Reinboth launched a new subsidiary label of his majestic Compost Records called Compost Disco. It’s about more soul, more disco, doesn’t matter if it’s new, old, balearic, spacey, soul, crunchy, edited or without any references. Since old Compost acts like Syrup or Phreek Plus One or few disco-ish releases on Compost Black Label, the distinctive disco feel is here and there. Compost’s long term freelance graphic designer Benjamin Roeder, a genius multimedia artist, DJ has designed lot of album covers,12inches, flyers for Compost and Black Label. He came up with an definitely fantastic catchy collage artwork concept for a kinda disco label, which are designed exclusive for Compost Disco. Each Compost Disco release will coming with fully printed 12” covers, designed by Benjamin Roeder. His collages of disco related images and styles are predestined for and as a piece of art, some of them already be shown in galleries, at exhibitions or related club events. In addition to the fact that Benjamin Roeder is a respected graphic designer with an outstanding reputation in the peripherals of modern art, he has shown in several exhibitions or galleries, on top he is an amazing DJ, owner of the club called „Charlie“ in Munich, and last but not least he is also a recording artist. Check his project Spectacle on Permanent Vacation or his solo 12“ called „Sugar Steady“. These artists released on Compost Disco: Genf, Hard Ton, The Blaxploited Orchestra, John Gazoo, Michael Reinboth, Joash, Evol Ai, Ed Lee featuring Alison David.
Beat Art Department is specializing in contemporary hip hop funkyness, from abstract dope instrumentals to funky breakbeats, from soulful jazzy flavours, or trip hop to trap. From retro to next school. Beat Art Department founded by Michael Reinboth and DJ Rude Teen. Both entrepreneurs coming their own long way, both starting collecting vinyl, writing articles about hip hop and its culture, or organized parties and various labels since the 80s.
Michael Reinboth compiled the very first German hip hop compilation called „Krauts With Attitude“, and organized the first hip hop related sprayer, breakdance events in Munich in the mid, late Eighties, while he is most famous as the head honcho behind Compost Records and a few associated subsidiary labels for over 20 years. Michael toured the world as a DJ, lector at Red Bull Music Academy, journalist (writing for all music mags like Groove, Spex, Jazz-Thing, Musikexpress and dozens others), produced music and remixes under various project or pseudonyms.
DJ Rude Teen started djing as a 12 year old HipHop head back in 1989 in a local youth club in Munich and established himself as a sought after scratch DJ for local hip hop acts. In about 1995 he formed a production team alongside Wei-Chi and first songs have been released. During that period the song “Don’t Know” was recored, which became a small underground hit and was later picked up by Michael Reinboth for his Future Sounds Of Jazz Series. In 1996 he started his own first label “Pigeon Records” which focused on releasing Instrumental hip hop and downbeat. It released music by Main Concept, Rootsoul, Fauna Flash and Abstract Art, just to mention a few, and let him touring as a DJ nearly half of the world. For his studies, Rude Teen moved to Shanghai, China in 2000 and became a sought after hip hop DJ within the clubs all over China and the scratch-DJ for several local hip hop acts from Shanghai and Beijing, underneath the bands he made scratches for where Yin Tsang, which were the first and so far the only rap-music band ever to release an album in China. Since his comeback into the Munich scene in around 2010, Rude Teen was working at 58Beats, the renowned hip hop Label by the german rap legends Main Concept.
Beart Art Department signed fresh young artists like Hans Hu$tle, Grandezza Five, L One, next to familiar but established producers like Urbs from Vienna. Fresh remixes on Beart Art Department were supplied by Retrogott, Cookin’ Soul, Brenk (aka Brenk Sinatra), J*Star, Marc Mac (4 Hero) aka Visoneers, Peter Kruder, Patrick Pulsinger & Irl, Flip, Trishes.
Always on the run to find the latest beat and the freshest sound the four Drumpoet founders share the same vision and taste when it comes to music. And in a city like Zurich it was just a matter of time before they decided to start the drumpoet.community. Ron Shiller, Tobi Foster, Alex Gustafson and Alex Dallas met each other a couple of years ago on the vibrant scene which was surrounding Dallas & Gustafson’s Straight Ahead record label, realising that they had such a similar way to make, listen & support music the four decided to create a new platform for their music and joining forces to keep Zurichs open-minded music scene alive. Sharing the same love for soul, disco, funk, hip hop, house, some minimal, detroit and electro they are now aiming for new musical levels, a combination which incorporates all the beloved styles to a mix which they like to call b-boy house & technosoul… The philosophy of the Drumpoet Community is not only being a record label but more being a collective of people with a very distinguished musical taste that use this platform to establish unknown artists and music which moves your soul as well as your booty! The Community is growing and is very happy to have artists, DJs and projects such as Kawabata (Lexx), Quarion, Soultourist (Ron Shiller), The Lost Men (Alex Dallas), Crowdpleaser & Ly Sander, Wah Chu Ku, Langenberg, Cavalier, Manuel Tur & Dplay, Sascha Dive, Foster, Willie Graff, Ray Okpara and their Designer Marlene Meier on the boat. Together with Michael Reinboth and Compost Records label, taking care of production, distribution, manufacturing, handling, accounting, whole promotion, they are now able to release their music on a professional basis. In fact Compost in Munich performing the whole backing label and distribution work, while the four guys in Zurich are the A&Rs, deciding what shall be released. For further informations visit: www.drumpoet.com / www.myspace.com/drumpoet
Kalabrese is an independent music producer, DJ, club owner and village romantic residing in the charming city of Zurich. In January 2013, he has founded his own record label called „Rumpelmusig“. The label’s first output is happening in April 2013 focusing on the new album by Kalabrese, followed-up with further collaborations with befriended artists and solo projects. Stylistically there are no boundaries. Kalabrese’s aim is to bring musicians from all corners of the globe together in order to create something unique. Rumpelmusig is a musical playground and a research station for those magical characters willing to cut their own paths. Being a sublabel of Compost Records, Rumpelmusig uses its given framework and support. For further informations visit: www.rumpelmusig.com
Let there be no musical barriers, the time was ripe to extend Composts musical visions. Despite all open-mindedness it would be irritating and slightly pervert to just release such music on Compost. But the idea of Angora Steel appealed to label head Michael Reinboth who has his roots in the Punk/New Wave corner. Having lived with a Nu Wave Punk formation in the early 80s and the foundation of Zeitgeist magazine `Elaste` has had an substantial impact on him. Trash, crap, imitations and plain plagiarism? No. Moreover a new home for experimental Punk, Rock, Wave, Electronic Body Music elements. Made by people who show off with their background, experience and know-how rather than neon-coloured leggings. The special kind of people Martin Peter belongs to. The Munich-based DJ, film-maker and jury member of the annual Red Bull DJ Academy is the first to release his album on Angora Steel this spring, 17 crunchy Punk-Rock-Electro-burner or `Computer Punk` as Martin likes to put it. Featuring among others Alec Empire (Atari Teenage Riot) and the legendary Mark Stewart (Mark & The Maffia / The Pop Group).
Their experiences with several labels and their musical diversity led them to an intendedly congruent and colourful label policy these days: The album will be released on the newly found label: Derwin Recordings. A&R are Alex Barck and Christian Prommer. (The label’s administration will be handled by their long-term partners and friends: Compost). The first single appeared in October 2010 on Permanent Vacation, followed by a second single on Best Works, another one on Hells label Gigolo. Further singles, as well as several remixes will follow on Derwin Recordings. Watch out for remixes.
Some friends that have heard the music are already big fans: Kruder & Dorfmeister, DJ Hell, Gilles Peterson, Toshio Matsura, Mousse T, DJ Harvey, Carl Craig, Jerome Sydenham, Ben Watt, Joey Negro, Osunlade, Kyoto Jazz Massive.