Established in 2002, Running Back has been a vehicle for quality releases for well over a decade, responsible for an eclectic mix of genres but all of the same impeccable standard. Despite its name, the label has consistently been forward-thinking, releasing sounds that push boundaries and explore new territory within well-trodden genres.
Based in Frankfurt, the label is run by none other than Gerd Janson, frequently heralded as a “DJ’s DJ” – a phrase that pays tribute to his technical ability and his array of musical knowledge. He couldn’t be doing more for the Frankfurt scene, as alongside the label he’s held a residency at the famous Robert Johnson club, which attracts many world-renowned artists every week. Having also been on the regular roster at other musical meccas such as Berlin’s Berghain/Panorama Bar and Amsterdam’s (late) Trouw, it would seem crowds in their masses, not just DJs, appreciate his musical taste.
One way to experience it, without the pilgrimage, is to take a look back at the label’s output. We’ve listed here a few of our highlights, the records that keep us Running Back.
Catch Gerd Janson with all hands on deck(s) at our Dimensions Festival boat party next week – last few tickets still available here.
BOOF – The Hydrangeas Whisper LP
Just about covering every genre Running Back has put out, The Hydrangeas Whisper can sometimes feel like a Running Back compilation album. However, it’s the unmistakable production of Maurice Fulton that holds it together, despite the drastic turns on some tracks. There’s something for everyone though and while some tracks can feel miles apart, the quality is something to behold. From the Florian Kupfer-esque ambience of the title track, to the trippy afterparty techno of ‘Backlash’, the record is a triumph from start to finish.
KiNK – Cloud Generator EP
You haven’t lived if you’ve not seen KiNK live. The Bulgarian brimming with electronic ideas commands enough equipment to power a small village but channels its mechanical heartbeat into some of the most eccentric, euphoric music in the scene. The good thing is, his productions capture this live energy and elation, so you can recreate it within your own walls. We suggest you do so with this recent classic, with its aptly boastful title. At high decibels, we’re surprised it doesn’t influence the weather!
Soul Supply – Up In The Basement EP
Soul Supply does exactly that with this EP, a calm collection of Balearic tracks that work in the sun or in the dark, lulling you into a lucid consciousness, swaying you from side to side. But be warned, some of these go deeper than the basement!
Roy Comanchero – Lucid Memory EP
Boisterous, bouncy electro. Shunning the modern production tools, Roy Comanchero delivers four tracks which ooze retro sounds from the very circuitry of the vintage machines they were made on. The highlight being the familiar ‘Pugs Life’, an electro strut given heavy play by Jackmaster and of course label boss Gerd Janson himself.
Shan – Chord Memories EP
Dubbed out house and techno for those half-closed eyelids. Let the chords wash over you in warm waves, lapping at the shores of your brain. On the flip are three shorter tracks, less polished experiments, giving birth to three prototype bangers.
DJ Nori – We Don’t Know EP
This had a place on this list before we even dreamt up this feature. An impressive four-tracker from Japan’s DJ Nori, co-produced by Maurice Fulton, packed with space-age funk and wonky rhythm that’ll throw you into a frenzy. Accompanying the huge Fulton mix of ‘Happy Sunday’ with its iconic, rumbling bassline, another highlight is the equally devastating ‘80s Drugs‘, enough to twist anyone’s melon.
Mutsumi (Mu / Maurice Fulton) – Look Down At Your Feet Below
Another team effort from Running Back and Maurice Fulton’s BubbleTease Communications, Look Down At Your Feet Below marries the unmistakable production of Fulton with the insistent lyrical delivery of his wife Mutsumi. The title track is a barrage of clattering drums which compete with Mutsumi’s screeches, incessant, abrasive but bizarrely catchy. The flip is calmer, but still adorably bizarre.
Genius Of Time – Juno Jam EP
A cheery, percussion-heavy three-track from a Swedish duo. The title track is stand out here, first heard in John Talabot’s DJ Kicks, with a catchy, quirky whistle melody which meanders through a percussive maze. The other tracks are a little more heads-down, with murky chords to fill the spaces between the beats.
Telephones – The Ocean Called EP
The Norwegian residing in Berlin does well to transport the listener to a fantasy island too beautiful for the human brain to comprehend on The Ocean Called. From the very off, it’s obvious ‘Blaff’ will take you to paradise. It’s a surge of delight, then, when the hazy, washed-out chords ripple in after the buoyant percussion. A swelling, summer groove kept in check with upbeat hand-claps for good measure. Oh and the other tracks are pretty good too.
Suzanne Kraft – Green Flash EP
Who doesn’t love a disco edit? This EP is fresh funk that teases some classics that keeps you on your toes on the dance floor in more ways than one. From the laid-back title track lending itself to a beautiful nu-disco opener, our highlight has to be ‘Turning’, which chops up Kashif’s classic ‘I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)’ in a way that makes it sound like it could be off Sebastian’s Total album.
Catch boss man Gerd Janson play our Dimensions Festival Boat Party which sets sail on the 30th August! Tickets available here.