Who’s a dirty bird?

2010 marks the 5th anniversary of Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird record label. One of the most consistently excellent labels in dance music, they have released some of the best tech house music that the world has ever seen, all while carving a very distinctive niche for themselves.

Looking back, its a little surprising to see that VonStroke (real name Barclay Crenshaw) wasn’t the name on the first release; instead, that honour went to Justin Martin with “The Southern Draw”. My personal favourite from that 1st EP is the Southern Fried Remix of the title track. As well as being an excellent song, it also set the template well for the coming releases, managing to mix top-drawer dance music with a quirky sense of fun that too few in the tech end of dance music seem to embrace.

The Southern Draw (Southern Fried Remix)

Vonstroke had to wait until the 3rd release, when he brought out the excellent Deep Throat.

This showcased brilliantly his inventive approach to music making – as with The Whistler, the lead instrument is simply someone making noise into a microphone, and then manipulated in his sampler.

This approach to music-making arguably reached its zenith with the almost perfect song “Vocal Chords”, by VonStroke. Recording a singer intoning all the various vowel sounds at various pitches, he managed to construct a breathtakingly beautiful piece of music in the confines of a modern dance track. I would highly recommend any producers get the issue of Future Music where he explains the process behind how he made this song, and even plays an earlier aborted version which bears precious little resemblance to the one which made the cut for his brilliant album, “Bird Brain”.

Vocal Chords

Probably the most well known song from their catalogue is “Who’s Afraid Of Detroit?”, which is certainly worthy of the title “modern classic”. Lauded by pretty much everyone in dance music, used in adverts, and still sounds fresh today.

Really, trying to pick a couple of highlights from the wealth available on Dirtybird is an impossible task. I’m not sure I’ve heard any songs I dislike, and there are numerous absolute classics on there. I’d urge any fans of tech house, house or techno to give their 5 year anniversary releases a spin, and to revisit their back catalogue. I recently found out to my delight that a good few are available on Play.com for pennies!

Here are a couple of personal favourite from the last couple of years for your consideration. I know that this is a hackneyed line, but this is a group of people worth supporting, if you like what you hear please go out and buy their releases as this is exactly the kind of stuff that inspires the music scenes we all love.

One Response to “Who’s a dirty bird?”

  1. Music Articles Says:

    Cool sounds.

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