Various Artists | Speedy Wunderground – Vol 5

Various Artists | Speedy Wunderground – Vol 5

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It’s safe to say a lot has happened since the release of the last Speedy Wunderground compilation in 2019. The revered label headed up by producer Dan Carey alongside Alexis Smith and Pierre Hall has had numerous professional accolades, personal triumphs and evolved vastly in the last few years at a staggering pace. To note a few of these – Awards: (‘Best Small Label’ at the AIM awards and ‘UK Producer of The Year’ at the Music Producer Guild Awards for Carey). Critical acclaim for Carey across a range of successful releases (Wet Leg, Kae Tempest, Fontaines D.C. to start with) and huge acclaim for the label itself, with The Quietus effusing: ‘The label has become genuinely prestigious. It is not ridiculous to wonder whether one day it will be looked back upon with the same reverence as labels like Factory, Sarah, Zoo or Creation receive today.’ High praise indeed.

As well as the world changing, so has Speedy – it’s constant evolvement a reaction to whatever opportunities arise for it – including their in-lockdown ‘Quarantine Series’ a collection of what began as online experiments as a result of Carey’s studio being closed due to the pandemic and led to over twenty collaborations with artists such as Georgia, RoRo, youngblackmale, Kae Tempest – all commandeered under Carey’s ‘Savage Gary’ alias forming almost a parallel strand of the label, more electronic and hip-hop focussed due to the lack of studio access, with the results no less thrilling.

Then there’s the fact that aside from its legendary single-series – Speedy is now a proper fully-fledged label – having released EP’s and albums from Squid, Tiña, The Lounge Society, Honeyglaze and Stephen Fretwell (Fretwell being their first Top 40) with lots more on the horizon.

For a label that started out with a strict set of rules – it is now, in some strands of its structure, moving outside of its original parameters to continue to put out some of the freshest and most exciting new music in the country. ‘It’s all happening very organically’ says Carey, ‘it feels natural. As always, it is leading us. Not the other way around.’
‘It’s weird’ expands Hall – ‘even though we’ve been going for 10 years’ (they started in 2013), ‘people still constantly refer to us a new label. Which hopefully is testament to the quality and feel of the music we put out’.

Which bring us back to why we are here. The fifth seminal collection of those now very collectable 7” series tracks. First of all – the name. The previous four going under the Year 1/2/3/4 guise – this is ‘Vol. 5’. ‘Well, we had to really’ says Hall – ‘due to boring stuff like vinyl manufacturing and COVID – we fell way behind. It felt strange putting something out and calling it Year 5 – when it’s our 10th anniversary as a label next year. If felt like we were doing ourselves a discredit.’ The two sides of the compilation itself also reflect that passage of time brought along by external factors. With Side A being all the tracks recorded before lockdown, and Side B – all those recorded quite quickly after. ‘Yeah, it’s weird how it happened like that’ says Hall, ‘but it definitely wasn’t intentional. It’s funny how things work out sometimes though. It definitely gives it extra relevance.’

1. Lazarus Kane – Narcissus
2. Pynch – Disco Lights
3. PVA – Divine Intervention
4. The Lounge Society – Generation Game
5. Brodka & Scottibrains – Wrong Party
6. moa moa – Coltan Candy
7. Joyeria – Here Comes Trouble
8. deep tan – tamu’s yiffing refuge