For six years Brawther has been floating at the edge of most people’s consciousness, seemingly always working at the margins. It’s hard to imagine a person less concerned with the trappings of fame, which frankly make up about 95% of what call “DJ culture” in 2015 – even the guy making a Facebook page seemed like a major compromise and I think he was dragged into it.
His output over those six years has been sparse, austere, but brilliant: a series of EPs, many without names (he learned from the master in this regard) but all of them have smashed the way only a few records can be said to “smash” anymore. Because while people have been trying to convince you that things like “Essential Mixes” and “Mixmag premieres” are barometers of what’s important, what’s happening, what’s now… Brawther just made records. It’s not hype, not heat, not buzz – just good fucking records that sound like they’d been guided by the hand of God. People still want those, and they’re never in great supply.
There was a thirst out there for it, and from the time of Paris Underground Trax Vol 1 on My Love Is Underground, Brawther along with Jeremy and the rest of the gang around these labels slaked it. DJs snapped these records up to fill a void in their sets or to build new ones around these impossibly sensual records. Speculators realized that setting a few aside for a few months was more realiable (and more lucrative) than a prepper investing in gold. It’s all kind of nuts, and the man at the center of it probably understands it less than most.
So comes Endless, which serves the purpose of collecting some of Brawther’s best material from Balance and the Balance sublabels on one edition while also getting some of those precious records back into circulation. And with Endless in hand, you can step back like it’s a painting and take it all in: both the triumph of an individual artist and a label which invested in a man the way labels used to but rarely do anymore. Endless puts Brawther in the top tier of Deep House producers, and there’s not too much question about it. He didn’t just arrive, but this made his arrival known.
Appropriately enough, this all began with a track called “Endless,” with the name “Brawther” careening off the spiraling arm of that mysterious Balance logo – an enso drawn by one so in the moment that he forgot to close it. Given the nature of this record, including both mixes would have been gauche; one was chosen (Deep vs. the Ultra Deep Mix), probably because of its more unique tone and characteristics.
Brawther told me in our interview that though this is more of a “compilation” than an album, it felt as if it had been programmatically designed to sound like one. I think he’s right. An album is something you can lose yourself in, to float along on a groove from beginning to end. You may have your favorite parts but the last thing you should be worrying about is “How would it sound to mix into this?” And that’s the last thing I was thinking about. I thought about the longevity of labels and the meaning of the Balance logo (yeah…) but nothing about what to play with these. It’s a complete suit, an end-to-end listening experience rather than the collection of tracks written over the course of the last six years that it ostensibly represents.
Though the process of making most music but especially electronic music is very much a singular one these days, this record feels less like an individual triumph than a collective one. It represents in a lot of ways a lot of work by a lot of people pushing together against an industry that wanted nothing to do with them (and would still prefer to coronate a cute British boyband in their place), a label and its commitment to promoting young talent over living off inherited cred, and the scattered tribe of likeminded souls without much personal connection to any of this other than a love of this groove.