The sound is, in a word, “retrofuturistic” — but just one word isn’t enough when it comes to Cyphon Recordings. The new record label is “taking cues from electro, abstract electronica, IDM and Detroit-inspired futurism,” according to a release, rooted in that spacey and galaxy-brained aesthetic that has fueled imaginations and powered some of the best electronic music of the last forty years.
“Jamie and I are both massive fans of classic Detroit electro and techno,” Tom Roberts says, “as well as early ’90s abstract electronica and so-called IDM.
“We’d been discussing the idea to develop an imprint to showcase music from emerging artists who are inspired by the music of that period as well as fulfill our desire to work with some of the legends of the genre.”
Roberts is co-founder of Cyphon along with Jamie Odell, aka Jimpster. Together they’ve created two classic and utterly irreplaceable outlets in Freerange Records and Delusions of Grandeur. With Cyphon, they’ve partnered up to try to build one more.
Cyphon was created to be a workshop for music viewed through the lens of what Roberts calls “that golden era of DIY home recordings & bedroom productions which helped pave the way for electronic music today.” As with Free-range & Delusions of Grandeur, Roberts and Jimpster will be paying special attention to A&R, creating a “space for artists without boundaries or borders” to sharpen their skill and develop their talent.
It was through the personal relationship they’ve developed with one of Freerange and Delusions of Grandeur’s mainstays that Roberts & Jimpster discovered the first artist on the roster.
“Yuu Udagawa’s music was brought to our attention by Manuel Tur,” Roberts says. Her sound, they thought, was a perfect match for their vision of the future label. The debut release, the Forever EP, is a “collection of analog slo-mo electronica and leftfield minimal house that strike a perfect balance between warmth and depth, home listening and the club,” Roberts says. The title track is an “emotive electro cut,” while the EP moves from “the jazz-tinged deep house sounds of ‘Mojito’ & ‘Hug Close’ to the dark, enveloping atmosphere of ‘Illuminated Night’ with its harmonic R&B-flavoured vocals.” Following the introduction, Roberts & Jimpster got in touch with Yuu, a Tokyo-based DJ, producer and sound artist and snapped up the EP. “We couldn’t be happier that it has become the inaugural release on Cyphon Recordings.”
Freerange and Delusions of Grandeur are also stand-outs in the deep house scene for their unique and outstanding art direction. That attention to the visual will carry over to Cyphon as well.
“It’s important to us that the design and art direction for each label represents, and hopefully augments the music behind the artwork,” Roberts says. “With the musical policy set for Cyphon it was an obvious step for the design to follow and take influence from that ’80s & ’90s electronic music technology aesthetic. We worked with a very talented London-based designer called Toby Snowdon to create the logo and branding.” It was Snowdon who developed the label logo, the figure stepping through a grid — “from the analogue into to the digital,” Roberts says. “We felt it perfectly encapsulated the sound we want to showcase. As well as a strong, memorable design, the quality of the physical product is the heart of the ethos of the label so we will be pressing on heavyweight 180 gram vinyl and each release will be packaged in a thick PVC wallet to keep it looking crisp.”
Future Cyphon release include “a four track EP of old school machine funk and futuristic cosmic sounds” from Italian maestro and 5 Mag friend DJ Rocca, followed by a “Detroit electro-inspired EP” from Cyborg Nerve AKA Mano de Fuego who recently released on Underground Resistance.
Forever by Yuu Udagawa is out now; check out more from the label at cyphonrecordings.com.