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.”
Michael Reinboth, founder and owner of Compost, is a real workaholic, so it is no wonder he has earned himself a reputation in various fields. His professions and projects range from music journalism and authorship to DJing and artist management. Since the late 1970s, Michael has been digging deep into music, working as a DJ, journalist, artist, producer and composer and he had great influence on the club scene, local and global alike. With his labels Compost, Compose and Jazzanoa-Compost-Records (JCR) Michael Reinboth managed to create a well-respected platform for innovative music and grooves that have inspired musicians throughout the world!
“Perhaps it’s the organic touches in the music and the clear depth of understanding of funk that make so much of Compost’s music stand out.” (Metro Times, Detroit)
Back in 1979, when he had just finished school, Michael and two of his friends decided to set up for themselves, so they founded “Elaste”, a fashion-, political-, music- and style-magazine similar to “The Face”. This innovative publication set the start for Michael’s career as a journalist, for the magazine soon enjoyed a tremendous underground cult-status and became a somewhat sensational success, getting props form around the globe, receiving several awards (including the European Design Award for print magazines in 1984), and even being picked up by Andy Warhol’s Factory as part supplement for the artist’s “Interview”. After stopping the publication of Elaste in 1986 for various reasons, Michael kept on working as a freelance writer for a number of music and lifestyle magazines such as Spex, MusikExpress, Spiegel, and Network Press, WOM magazine, Jazz Thing, to name only a few. He was also co-author of “Chasin’ A Dream” (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1989), a book that deals with Soul, Funk, and Black Music issues.
Along with his journalism career, Michael in the early 1980s also began working on his DJ career. He made his first appearance as a DJ at age 20, spinning the wheels at “Basement”, a club in his German hometown Hannover. “I remember that The Basement was the first club in Hannover where the DJ had to buy and bring his own records”, says Michael. “That was something very unusual at that time. I used to play a wild mix of what I really liked.”
Michael compiled several compilations in the mid and late Eighties, the first ever German HipHop sampler called “Krauts With Attitude” (Virgin), then three vinyl and CD compilations “Best Of Sleeping Bag” (Intercord) with garage music by Arthur Russell, Todd Terry, Konk, Jamaican Girls a.o. as well as one label compilations for Cooltempo, one Modern Soul compilation, the V.A. “Into Somethin’” (both BMG /Ariola), and in 2004 “Soul Elektrisch” (Trust The DJ.com). But his main compilation series is of course are Future Sounds Of Jazz Vol. 1- 11.
The often talked about Michael Reinboth selection, ranging from Underground music to HipHop, alternative Electro sounds and rare Soul, was a peculiar mixture of tunes that were both educating and entertaining for the clubbers. When he moved to Munich in 1982 to study journalism, Michael brought these fresh sounds into the Bavarian metropolis. Being the first Munich DJ to play garage-house tunes from the likes of The Peech Boys “Don’t Make Me Wait” or Harlekin Force’s or Strafe’s “Set It Off”, it is no wonder Michael soon became a resident DJ in the city’s best clubs. Some of the tracks he played – such as for example Silicon Soul’s “Who Needs Sleep Tonight”, which was later remixed by DJ Hell (Gigolo Rec.) became a classic anthems in Munich and abroad. Finally you can hear this nice track on Compost’s “I Like It” compilation, choose / selected by DJ Hell, Peter Kruder , Michael Reinboth and Theo Thönnessen, who is Michael’s DJ-mate of his regular Into Somethin’ clubnights.
The step from Old School HipHop and danceable New Wave to a somewhat funky and jazzy Black Music seemed a “natural development” to Michael. As soon as the first sample tracks like Double D & Steinsky’s “Lesson 1, 2 and 3” hit the local record shops, Michael got them and featured them. Soul and Jazz came back with the New School, and by checking out all original Rare Grooves and funky things that were sampled at the early stage of New School HipHop, Michael was always up-front and became known by almost everybody in Germany who had a thing going for nightlife, club music, Black Music, Records and DJing. He was a popular and frequent guest-DJ at Cologne’s “Soulful Shack” night, a true Modern and Northern Soul party, where Michael was out to make Rare Groove, Boogie, Soul and Garage more popular in the south of Germany. During the Acid House wave, he was the driving force behind more soulful and groovy stuff, and instead of inviting Baby Ford or Adamski for his regular club nights @ the Babalu, Michael decided to invite UK-DJs like Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, Sylvester, Patrick Forge, Coldcut or James Lavelle instead. One of his club nights became the legendary “Into Somethin’”, which was voted “one of the best club nights in Europe” by The Face in 1998 and it is one of the rare clubnights, which are still alive and kickin’ over a period of 12 years!
In the process of the development of House, Disco, Downbeat, TripHop, Drum & Bass, Breakbeat and Electro in the 90s, Michael Reinboth launched the clubs “Mandarin Lounge” and “Electric Lounge” with their escapades into spherical structures and broken beats. As Michael puts it:“I have never been the kind of DJ to play strictly one style. I’ve always tried to present a wide range of interesting music, making the past to the present and other-way-round! I’m a full spectrum DJ. My favourite DJs are still those who play deep shit, just the best tunes, old and new, entertaining the crowd as well as giving respect to the originators. It’s not the mix that counts, it’s the mixture!”
In 1993 @ “Into Somethin’”, Michael met Rainer Trüby. Rainer, a music addict just like himself (Michael currently owns more than 80,000 vinyls and 15.000 CDs…), gave Michael a demo-tape with two tracks recorded by Bernd Kunz and himself, later known as A Forest Mighty Black. Michael, fed up with being a scout, spontaneously decided to produce these AFMB tracks in Munich as an initial start for Compost Records. The first release appeared in 1993! Right after recording sessions for AFMB, Michael and studio-owner Jan Krause, a trained sound-engineer and the bass-player of the famous Rare Groove band “The Poets Of Rhythm”, founded their own project called Beanfield. Nowadays Michael is a part time member of Compost’s Beanfield act, because he has to much to do with his whole label imprint.
Beanfield, whose first singles “Charles” and “Keep On Believing” became downbeat club classics, reflects Michael’s personal history and development of musical styles and skills. It is something of an amalgamation of Electro, Sci-Fi Black Music, with some Jazz influences and HipHop structures, soundwise a mixture of digital and analogue, music-wise an organic melange of musicianship and club-sounds.
In the meantime, Compost Records has grown up with a number of exquisite and exclusive acts such as Marsmobil, Marbert Rocel, Robert Owens, Alif Tree, Trüby Trio, Beanfield, Fauna Flash, Ben Mono, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Minus 8, Joseph Malik, Koop, Moonstarr, Eddy Meets Yannah, Sepalot, Felix Laband, General Electrics and a lot more.
The compilation series “Future Sounds Of Jazz” Vol. 1 to 11 are all compiled by Michael Reinboth.
Other compilations like
“Glücklich” (Vol. 1 to 5), “I Like It” Vol. 1 and 2 ” //
“Partykeller” Vol.1 and 2,
“Soulsearching” – The Compost Radio Show Vol. 1
“Elaste” Vol. 1 – 2
“I Like It “ Vol. 1 – 2
Compost Records simply has become “a welcome light of funky warmth to a worldwide scene” (XLR8R, USA) and the “most prolific label coming out of Germany” (I-D, UK)
Generally speaking „Compost shows that German electronic music has a lot more to offer than just the harsh four-to-the-floor it was so long (in)famous for.“ (Jockey Slut, UK) “Ineffably cool.” (Metro, UK)
Michael Reinboth’s activities opened up a wide range of new prospects and interactions. In 1998 the link to the Berlin based Jazzanova crew followed as a logical and natural step, releasing acts like Victor Davies, Koop, The Underwolves, Classen Collective and Jazzanova. Michael says: „All the Compost artists know each other. It‘s like a family! We know each other mostly from talking about music a lot, changing rare records, visiting second hand shops, and of course from DJing throughout the years.”
Encouraged by the growing success of all artists and acts including the chart breaking Jazzanova act, Compost Records and JCR raised up in the years 1998 till today and developed to an in-demand and internationally respected German label family.
“Swap the Themse for the Isar and Michael Reinboth is your James Lavelle or Gilles Peterson. Drum n’ Bass, Trip Hop and Jazz are finally taking hold in Germany, due in no small measure to the tireless efforts of Compost.” (Straight No Chaser, UK)
Michael Reinboth himself has played DJ gigs pretty much everywhere on the planet: 3 times tours in Japan or USA and UK, all over Europe in small or medium size clubs, bigger or smaller festivals like Sonar Festival (E), Pop-Komm, Big Chill (UK), Amsterdam Dance Events, Phoenix Festival UK, Montreaux (CH), Jazz Festival, Rotterdam Jazz Festival, Oslo Jazz Festival, and last but not least Miami Winter Music Conference.
Last but not least M. Reinboth produced some remixes, too, a few with Jan Krause under the Beanfield banner (see Beanfield bio on homepage section) and recently the first one under his own name for the Verve Remix Project Vol. 2: Cal Tjader “Los Banditos” Michael Reinboth Remix (Verve).
- music-adviser for film, radio, television and advertisement-agencies (for example soundtrack selection “Anatomie 1” with Franka Potente)
- film-music score for several cinema- and TV-films and documentations
- Moon Machine on Compose
- Lectures about “How To Run An Independent Record Company” (@ Red Bull DJ Academy South Africa and many other lectures .
- “Cover Art” exhibition 1995
- diverse compilations on/for other labels
Older Interviews with Michael Reinboth:
For Compost release # 100 Michael Reinboth has had a chat with Kinda Muzik Magazine.
Check it out on http://www.kindamuzik.net/labels/beats/article.shtml?id=517
Also don’t miss this one: http://www.junkmedia.org/01/29/ozuna29.html
Original Michael Reinboth quotes:
Michael Reinboth on Germany:
“Surely we are based in Germany but I assume it’s more a very open-minded, global and eclectic ideology which makes us what we are, and that’s got nothing to do with German culture. As you can easily see the Compost sound is not a typical German thing, there are many artists and labels from other countries who work in the same direction.”
Michael Reinboth on running his label:
“We don’t mind being successful or staying underground. We’re just doing it and if it will be successful that’s fine with us. What we try is: being professional labelwise and musicwise without losing our patience and fun. If it’s only business or struggle and hustle then it’s dead.”
Future of Compost and side projects:
Full spectrum! Extremely wide open but still quality music.
In 2009: 15 Years Compost DVD with 10 videos, lots of new and best of music, interviews , live and DJ gigs footage and a book are in the making.
A subsidiary label ANGORA STEEL, for new wave, New York discopunk, punk and rougher music is active. Angst acts: Martin Peter, Crack Whore Society, Rob Turnover, Supercheap, Tigerbeat a.o
New sublabels: Compost Black Label, (Jay Shepheard, TJ Kong & Nuno Dos Santos, Solomun, Shahrokh, Turntablerocker, Manuel Tur and many more) Drumpoet Community (Crowdpleaser & Ly Sander, Quarion, Langenberg, Willie Graff & Tuccillo and many more).
Press Quotes On Michael Reinboth:
“Jazz has too many forms and is created in too many regions around the world to think about it in terms of black and white, and that’s the way Michael Reinboth, producer, DJ and the visionary founder of Compost Records, sees things.”
Tony Ozuna, junkmedia.org
“As the head honcho of Compost Records, Michael must be able to shed some light on where we can expect the scene to take its music and the music to take its scene.”
“Despite the success Michael Reinboth remains contentedly unsatisfied.”
“Michael Reinboth has rocked the world.”
Jockey Slut 8/01, UK