Compost Records evolved in its 15 years of existence from a small one-man bedroom label to a very productive and creative business located in a Loft-style office in East-Munich. Today Compost Records has about 30 exclusive artists and 60 non-exclusive projects, 350 releases (fragmented in ca. 100 CDs cat no and 250 vinyl cat no), plus several releases (circa 100 cat no) on five subsidiary labels: Drumpoet Community, Angora Steel, Compost Black Label which are active, vital and bubbling, while the previously before 2000 founded sublabels Compose, Jazzanova Compost Records (JCR) and Compute are inactive unlively, but Compost exploiting most of the back catalogue of the inoperative labels. All label trademarks are part of Compost Medien GmbH & Co KG.
Compost were also bit known for their special merchandising items like the DJ bags, DJ trolly and other nice gimmicks.
The highly as “true classics” (De:Bug magazine) acclaimed compilation series V.A. “Future Sounds Of Jazz” (Vol. 1-11) compiled by label boss Michael Reinboth were the blueprint of Compost’s successful compilation series. These compilations are always state-of-the-art musical extracts. The V.A. “Future Sounds Of Jazz” and V.A. “Gluecklich” series are both credited and praised in the “Best of top 25 compilation series of all times” in magazines like “Mix Mag, “Groove”, “The Face” or “Jockey Slut”.
FOR A LIVING
“With great pleasure I pronounce Compost the most consistent and forward thinking record label of continental Europe. Quietly releasing the right and proper pieces from a slowly building alternative club culture that has now not only made worldwide news but is also changing the rules Stateside! Compost is the honest and independent vision of Michael Reinboth who I first met when he invited me to play at his tiny residency in Munich 13 years ago! I was at that “lets see what’s up in Deutschland phase” and Michael was the first to show me there was a future in playing cool records for a living!
In the years that have passed his label has somehow not only represented the correct edge but most importantly has given this scene a true base enabling DJs and artists a feeling of being part of something truly meaningful! It hasn’t been easy as there’s always someone ready to put you down but after enough time you achieve collective strength to knock the cynics off! Today all of clublife is looking at Germany a little like the French touch a few years back and where Daft Punk led the disco revival I feel truly excited at the impact Truby, Jazzanova, Kruder, the Fauna Flash crew and the whole Compost family will have on world clubbing related music ! These guys are bringing the Soul back! Ask Oakenfold, Carl Cox or Tenaglia and you’ll see that even the biggest djs in the world are tuned and inspired by those Bavarian beats.”
Gilles Peterson (“Worldwide” , BBC, Brownswood Rec)
In the past 15 years the diversity and distinction of Compost’s label output and philosophy has been receiving growing popularity. Especially globally, Compost and several of its acts and DJs succeeded in ascending the premier league and being amongst one of the “big names”. Younger labels partially emulated the philosophy and a growing number of club nights started promoting this sort of sound (e.g. the DJ Rainer Trueby, one of the biggest supporters of this sound, is one of the most frequent booked DJs from Germany playing at many different clubs worldwide). Due to the increase in high quality releases of talented musicians and producers in this field and DJs supporting their music, they all, as well as Compost Records and assorted labels helped developing and developed themselves into an own sub-cultural scene. One symptom of this scene since the very beginning was that the sound is hard to define and describe, as there are no particular one-style, strict no boundaries: The main trademark which describes the sound and scene best, is the fact that the supporters and producers all praise the true eclecticism, which means: Diverse musical influences and mixing all sorts of musical styles together, preferably Disco, Jazz, Brazil, Hip Hop, Electro, Techno, Detroit, House, Soul, Broken Beat.
As Rainer Trueby said: “Jazz stands in as the godfather, electronic music as the mother and we are the children.”
The German music magazine Groove simply combines everything under the name of “Phusion”. But that’s maybe only half of the ingredients or story. You can be sure we will do our best to supply the scene – as we did in the past – with new innovative flavours and the variety style in the future.
One of the unspoken secrets behind Compost’s longevity, vital refreshment and underground success throughout the years of a virulent difficult business and is the rare fact that – and if you take a look into the huge catalogue which improve such – Compost always signed and developed a huge bunch of newcomers, unknown talents, or fresh blood, and a lot of those mates are still on the label. As a little contradiction to other labels with such a longevity and numeric artist roster, those labels often signing bigger names and exploiting artists with a sales history of previous albums on other labels. Well Compost never followed this A&R philosophy (which is in fact not a philosophy, more a commercial consideration) anyway Compost never really signed such big names from the offered plates, although A&R Michael Reinboth often had the chance and facility to sign famous names. Big names may sell, but that’s never a guarantee nor a challenge. As well as lot of big names of the Nineties or lately six years were fallen apart, getting boring or never had the open minded view.
Michael Reinboth: “If you’re in for the money, you better leave this business.”
Compost is also described by cult-author Greil Marcus in Lipstick Traces: „After Dada, all art sat in a compost pile, its mystifications sucked into the methane. There could be no real communication; all words had come loose from their meanings and floated free of their owners. Still, a compost pile was good for something: fertilizer. Along with the preordained stages of amplification and decomposition there was another possibility: that of „ciselant“ (chiseling away). This was active, conscious decomposition, and it was the only means to active creation“
None of the average descriptions of styles or genres are really fitting to Compost’s music. Compost’s music is unpredictable, full spectrum, variety.
Why Label Name “Compost”
Since the Middle Ages “Compost” is said to be something very mystical. Originally in the middle ages the spoken word “Compost” meant a “magic thang” or something “suspect”. You may can imagine how this roots of “Compost” coming from: a leaves or greenery or corn heap could really explode with a big bam boom because of chemical interactions (gas evolution of rotten fermented natural materials) and the folks that time couldn’t understand why such corn or greenery heaps were simply exploding when the weather was animating the fermentation and gas development in such heaps. Simply the people attribute and suspect those magical mystery moments to the witches and their witchcraft.
Funny, nowadays the most real existing and influential witches are still using the word “Compost” for their biennial convention taking place in the USA, where 10 to 15 of the world´s most respected and most influential “positive” witches are holding their meeting. This meetings nowadays still called “Compost Convention”. Seriously!
Looking at the word “Compost” itself you can recognize the two syllables “com” and “post”.
Both syllables are used in very modern terms, for example:
“com” which is originally latin and means “together”, “leading to”, “with”. Even the word Compost sounding old school the syllables are post post modern: “computer”, “communication”, “compositions”, “complexity”, ”compatibility”.
“post” also has its origin in the latin language and means basically “after”. There is a large number of words containing the syllable “post” such as “postmodern”, “postmortem”, “postmeridiem”, “postpone”, “postulate” et cetera.
The word “Compost” is international! It has the same meaning and almost the same spelling in several languages such as British and American-English, French and German.
“Compost” in our generation means as well a biodynamic process – a chemical decomposition. Perhaps an chemical attack! A catalyst for constitution and reactions also used as a word for fertilizing or recycling. In music terms a toxic combination of great little parts (which can be a cycle, bar, a jazz solo or a full length melody or a beat of what we really like in music history of Jazz, Brazil, Techno, House or Soul. With sampling, sequencing integration making something new out of those musical parts we like.
By the way, there used to be an American band in the seventies called “Compost”. Their cast was international, and they recorded two LPs, which aimed at a combination of Jazz, Rock, Pop, Black music and Avantgarde.
Compost Records was founded in October 1994 by Michael Reinboth, DJ since 1980, composer, music journalist, club- and party organizer and promoter, producer, scout, publisher of an magazine called “Elaste” in the early 80ties, a football fan and a dedicated record collector (more than 70.000 vinyl).
The first release “Fresh In My Mind” by A Forest Mighty Black went straight to an small underground-hit, sold nowadays more than 6.000 12inches and founding its channels to the playlists of DJs like James Lavelle (who later founded MoWax), Gilles Peterson or Kyoto Jazz Massive. The follow up releases by Beanfield, Fauna Flash or Trueby Trio substantiate the fresh vibe and success. In the beginning the international acclaim was bit excelsior and deeper than in Germany. But after a while the bashfully Germans – who rarely hyping their own artists, actors and cultural scenes, were convinced by the massive good output and the international popularity of Compost Records.
Label Design /Corporate Identity
Andrew Arnold has been Head Of Design at JCR, Compost Records ever since the first release till 2003. After 2003 he did the corporate identity for the Red Bull Music Academy. While his education for architecture he began designing the first record covers for Compost and Compose. Andrew was responsible for the major part of the label’s visual appearance, having designed most of the early record covers, advertising, flyers, merchandising and Compost’s website. After 2003 Compost was working with a lot of freelance graphic designers (for example C100 / Christian Hundertmark, Viola Zimmermann) and one major part in recent corporate design and record sleeves artworks was made by multitalent, DJ and designer Benjamin Roeder (Compost Black Label series, Alif Tree, Robert Owens)
Compost Black Label
In spring 2003, Michael Reinboth founded another platform for more club-oriented electronic music. The Compost Black Label unites a variety of both newcomer and internationally renowned house and electro composers, such as Peter Kruder, Christian Prommer, Manuel Tur, Alex Attias, Roland Appel, Matt Flores, Phreek Plus One, TJ Kong & Nuno Dos Santos, Patrick Pulsinger, Zwicker, Johnwaynes, Jay Shepheard, dan Mela, Dodi Palese, Sarras, DJ Enne, Turntablerocker, SHOW-B, Ogris Debris or Shahrokh. The Compost´s sub-label output feeds the worldwide dancefloors and is also celebrated at the “Compost Black Label Sessions” at Munich´s popular clubs Die Registratur and Harry Klein.
Always on the run to find the latest beat and the freshest sound the four Drumpoet founders share the same vision and taste when it comes to music. And in a city like Zurich it was just a matter of time before they decided to start the drumpoet.community.
Ron Shiller, Tobi Foster, Alex Gustafson and Alex Dallas met each other a couple of years ago on the vibrant scene which was surrounding Dallas & Gustafson’s Straight Ahead record label, realising that they had such a similar way to make, listen & support music the four decided to create a new platform for their music and joining forces to keep Zurichs open-minded music scene alive. Sharing the same love for soul, disco, funk, hip hop, house, some minimal, detroit and electro they are now aiming for new musical levels, a combination which incorporates all the beloved styles to a mix which they like to call b-boy house & technosoul…
The philosophy of the Drumpoet Community is not only being a record label but more being a collective of people with a very distinguished musical taste that use this platform to establish unknown artists and music which moves your soul as well as your booty! The Community is growing and is very happy to have artists, DJs and projects such as Kawabata (Lexx), Quarion, Soultourist (Ron Shiller), The Lost Men (Alex Dallas), Crowdpleaser & Ly Sander, Wah Chu Ku, Langenberg, Cavalier, Manuel Tur & Dplay, Sascha Dive, Foster, Willie Graff, Ray Okpara and their Designer Marlene Meier on the boat. Together with Michael Reinboth and Compost Records label, taking care of production, distribution, manufacturing, handling, accounting, whole promotion, they are now able to release their music on a professional basis. In fact Compost in Munich performing the whole backing label and distribution work, while the four guys in Zurich are the A&Rs, deciding what shall be released.
For further informations visit: www.drumpoet.com / www.myspace.com/drumpoet
Head honcho Michael Reinboth launched a new subsidiary label of Compost Records called Compost Disco. It’s about disco disco and nothing but disco, doesn’t matter if it’s new, old, balearic, spacey, soul, crunchy, edited or without any references. Musicwise it may or maybe not differing from several other disco-ish tunes on Compost Black Label, Drumpoet Community, Compost Records or other subsidiaries related label imprints. Since old Compost acts like Syrup or lot of recent disco-ish releases on Compost or Compost Black Label, the distinctive disco feel is here and there. Well, Michael prefers to play all kind of disco in clubs, in his radio show, his experiences, record collection, everything seems still open minded, but sometimes it just needs a new logo. If you like to know why, you are invited to discuss this any further with A&R Michael.
One other reason for launching Compost Disco is: Compost’s long term freelance graphic designer Benjamin Roeder, who designed lot of covers, CDs, 12inches, flyers for Compost and Black Label, came up with an definitely fantastic artwork concept for a disco label. Each Compost Disco release will coming with fully printed 12” covers, designed by Benjamin Roeder. His collages of disco related images and styles are predestined for and as a piece of art, some of them already be shown in galleries, at exhibitions or clubs. In addition to the fact that Benjamin Roeder is a respected graphic designer with an outstanding reputation in the peripherals of modern art, he is a top disco DJ and recording artist, too (check his Spectacle project on Permanent Vacation). So you can expect all the variety of disco music on Compost Disco.
Let there be no musical barriers, the time was ripe to extend Composts musical visions. Despite all open-mindedness it would be irritating and slightly pervert to just release such music on Compost. But the idea of Angora Steel appealed to label head Michael Reinboth who has his roots in the Punk/New Wave corner. Having lived with a Nu Wave Punk formation in the early 80s and the foundation of Zeitgeist magazine `Elaste` has had an substantial impact on him.
Trash, crap, imitations and plain plagiarism? No. Moreover a new home for experimental Punk, Rock, Wave, Electronic Body Music elements. Made by people who show off with their background, experience and know-how rather than neon-coloured leggings. The special kind of people Martin Peter belongs to. The Munich-based DJ, film-maker and jury member of the annual Red Bull DJ Academy is the first to release his album on Angora Steel this spring, 17 crunchy Punk-Rock-Electro-burner or `Computer Punk` as Martin likes to put it. Featuring among others Alec Empire (Atari Teenage Riot) and the legendary Mark Stewart (Mark & The Maffia / The Pop Group).