"(24-track compilation)"

76 rare tracks spread across 9 releases, showcasing various directions in techno, house, downtempo, electronic jazz & experimental drum’n’bass explored by SSR (Crammed’s electronic division) in the second half of the ’90s. Recorded by over twenty artists from across Europe, the US and the UK, most of these tracks have been unavailable for two decades, and have never been released digitally.

Featuring Juryman, Snooze, Nu Era, Gemini, Tek 9, Common Factor, Jordan Fields, Phume, DJ Morpheus, and remixes by Carl Craig, Mr Scruff, Matthew Herbert, Luke Vibert, DJ Spinna, Stacey Pullen, Glenn Underground, Eight Miles High & more.

This new batch comprises no less than nine releases, which will be rolled out between late March and early July. Though these digital reissues mostly include tracks from specific, by now deleted 12” EPs, this series does reflect the scope, breadth and depth of what we were doing at SSR (Crammed’s main electronic music division) between 1994 and 2001: we were crossing many stylistic borders in electronic music, and released over 200 records of distinctive techno, house, drum’n’bass, abstract hip hop/downtempo, future jazz, by little-known as well as established artists from across Europe, the UK and the US.

These nine releases are centered around the eponymously-titled Rare SSR Electronica 1994-01 compilation, which covers all the territories described above:

techno & house gems by Chicago’s Common Factor, Gemini, Glenn Underground and Jordan Fields, London’s Nu Era (aka 4hero in their techno guise), and remixes by Detroit’s Carl Craig & Stacey Pullen;

downtempo, ambient & electro jazz tracks by Snooze (FR), Matthew Herbert & Juryman aka Ian Simmonds (UK), and Q-Moog (US);

a touch of adventurous drum’n’bass courtesy of Eight Miles High (DE) and Phume (UK),

some unclassifiable or experimental tracks by Funki Porcini (UK), DJ Morpheus vs The Bassbin Twins (BE/US), and Finland’s Aural Expansion;

a couple of classic vocal tracks: Inspiring Light, the trip-hoppy symphony by Anglo-Italian quartet Phosphorus, and DJ Spinna’s remix of Tek 9’s hip hop singalong song Seven Days;

Finally, there are three tracks from our celebrated Freezone compilations, which were curated with flair and vision by (SSR’s co-A&R) DJ Morpheus between 1994 and 2001. Included here are tracks by The Arc (aka SSR’s other A&R, person, Marc Hollander, aided by Solar Quest), Avalon x Karl Biscuit, and YBU aka Hans Grottheim. More details about the compilation at the bottom of this document.

Alongside the compilation, we’re releasing two formidable full albums:

Snooze - Remixes 1 & 2
A great collection of 15 remixes of tracks by cinematic downtempo maestro Snooze (aka Dominique Dalcan), whose songs     were reworked at the time by Isolée, Señor Coconut, Mr Scruff, Fila Brazilia, Pulsinger & Tunakan, Ananda Project, DJ Cam &
more (out March 29 - see separate presentation text)

Juryman - Playground (Reworks)
An exceptional collection of reworks, all produced by visionary electro-jazz dervish Juryman aka Ian Simmonds, comprising radical takes on tracks for the three albums he recorded for SSR, as well as reworks he produced for Crammed artists Aksak Maboul, Suba, Taraf de Haïdouks and Tuxedomoon. (out June 7)

As well as the following five EPs:

Nu Era - Stars EP
Avant-drum’n’bass wizards 4hero Marc Mac and Dego McFarlane were devoted fans of classic Detroit techno, and expressed their love via the Nu Era side project. Released on SSR in 1995, the lovely Stars EP was acclaimed by the UK media: Drifts intro previously uncharted orbits of deep dreamy astro-funk, said i-D, while Mixmag revealed that Drum ’n’ bass experimentalists 4hero put on their Detroit secret identities and voyage out to save techno…the boys continue to push back all musical boundaries. Muzik magazine wrote: Purist to the max and all the better for it… leans towards the deeper, more esoteric side of electronica… enlightening… sublime .

Gemini - Pieces of Euphoria EP
Spencer Kincy is one of house music’s most mysterious and revered characters, having released more than 200 tracks under his pseudonym Gemini during the 1990s. He played a central part in the rise of the Chicago House music scene, alongside Derrick Carter, Sneak and others, and put out records on labels such as Relief, Planet E, Cajual, Peacefrog and Guidance. Spencer came to Brussels at the instigation of Samy Birnbach and recorded this by now much sought-after EP, partly in collaboration with Nick Calingaert, aka Common Factor.

Common Factor - The SSR EPs
American-Italian artist Nick Calingaert hails from Chicago, and was living in Brussels around the mid-90s, where he was a leading drum’n’bass DJ under the name Saint Nick. The first-ever release he worked on was the track 7:15 PM in the above-mentioned Gemini EP. This led him to move out of the jungle and into the house, and record two great, edgy EPs for SSR: The 1000 EP and Motion/Transition. He went on to record an album and four EPs on Carl Craig’s Planet E, and EPs for labels such as Soma Quality Recordings, Tactile Music, Playhouse, Paper Recordings and Moodmusic. The SSR EPs contains all eight Common Factor tracks released in 1996 and 1998 by SSR

Jordan Fields - Belgium Memories
Chicago house producer Jordan Fields recorded tracks for an array of small house labels throughout the late '90s, establishing himself as one of the Windy City's more promising talents. Considered as a mad scientist of deep house music, he explored various moods & textures, ranging from jazz-tinged grooves to weird dubby downtempo. This collection includes tracks from his SSR releases, the Rendezvous and the Love You EPs, as well as Night of the Living Blenders, a track recorded for the Freezone 4 compilation. 

Phume - Phume
One of the most forward-thinking teams in the field of avant-drum’n’bass, London duo Phume consisted of Tom Withers (aka Klute, who now runs his Commercial Suicide label) and Dave Campbell (who released under various guises with R&S, Rising High and more). This EP collects the various tracks they recorded for SSR and sister labels Language and Selector: the Freefall/Burnt Offering 12”, spellbinding tracks released on our Freezone, Miscellaneous and Junglized compilations, and a remix of a Harold Budd/Hector Zazou track.

Also coming out at the end of May is SSR Records: In Retrospect, a double vinyl compilation produced in association with Brussels label Hi Scores, containing 9 tracks selected by Hi Scores head honcho Kong DJ, as well as extensive liner notes and documents related to the history of SSR.

The SSR story

From the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s, Crammed released over sixty albums and dozens of EPs of cutting-edge electronic music on its SSR sub-label (and sister imprints Language and Selector). As eclectic as its parent Crammed Discs, SSR put out music in a variety of styles, ranging from house and techno to downtempo, ambient, broken beats, drum’n’bass and hip-hop.

This is how it started: as soon as the first wave of Detroit techno hit Europe, and playful, sample-based electronic dance music started emerging in the UK, we were excited by these new combinations of sounds, and started our SSR division in 1988. These early days of SSR saw the advent of a Belgian-Norwegian axis, when a handful of young Norwegian musicians & producers came to Brussels, and rubbed shoulders with central Crammed Discs figures such as Minimal Compact singer Samy Birnbach (later known as DJ Morpheus), label boss Marc Hollander, and Vincent Kenis (Marc’s former associate in Aksak Maboul). A series of hybrid electronic EPs were spawned, blending early techno stylings with flavours from around the world.

By 1994, our electronic music output started shifting and branching out, first with the inauguration of the Freezone ambient electronic music series, then with the launch of two sister labels: London-based Language (with Tony Thorpe aka Moody Boyz at the helm), and Paris based drum’n’bass imprint Selector (headed by Catherine Piault), while DJ Morpheus took co-A&R duties over at SSR, alongside Marc Hollander.

Aside from curating his influential Freezone series (which, year after year, presented exclusive tracks by the cream of various downtempo scenes around the world), DJ Morpheus brought several artists to release records on SSR, from little-known originals such as Finland’s Aural Expansion and Austria’s anarchist disco master Auto Repeat to house & techno artists from Chicago and Detroit: Gemini, Jordan Fields, Common Factor, Q-Moog and, last but not least, Carl Craig. SSR also worked on long-term basis with key artists in the fields of downtempo/abstract hip hop (as it was then called), such as Snooze, Juryman, Tek 9 and Phosphorus.

Many remixes were commissioned by SSR, most of which only ever came out on vinyl. Noted remixers who did work for SSR (and Ziriguiboom) included Matthew Herbert, Stacey Pullen, DJ Spinna, Wagon Christ, Glenn Underground, Juan Atkins,  King Britt & many more.

Incidentally, throughout the SSR period, we at Crammed Discs managed to keep doing many other things: it’s our very same small team, headed by Hollander and co-director Hanna Gorjaczkowska (& supported by in-house producer Vincent Kenis) which not only worked on the production and release of all these electronic music records, but also on albums by Zap Mama, Taraf de Haïdouks, Dominique Dalcan, a score of albums on Made To Measure etc. A fact that may have been hard to comprehend, in a period where music styles and tribes were way more separated than they are today.

Around the beginning of the next decade, the flow of releases on SSR trailed off, as our interests shifted towards new electronic music from Brazil (with our Ziriguiboom imprint), self-electrified traditional music from Congo (with Konono N.1, Kasai Allstars and the Congotronics series), and several post-genre artists who blended experimental pop/rock and electronics.


CRAMMED ARCHIVES 3 - RARE SSR ELECTRONICA 1994-01 - (24-track compilation)
(24-track compilation)
Nu Era - Stars EP
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 3 - RARE SSR ELECTRONICA 1994-01 - Snooze - Remixes 1 & 2
Snooze - Remixes 1 & 2