Radio Show – Summer of Netlabels vol 2.5
Welcome back to the Summer of Netlabels. This week’s show is a continuation of last week’s, where we heard tracks from the first few years of Maltine Records. Those tracks gave hints to Maltine’s developing sound and the label moving past breakcore and rave sounds to poppier tunes, but still delivering tracks “based on DANCE.” That’s not to say that Maltine sold out its hardcore rave roots. That’s not really something you can do when you’re giving all your music away for free, anyway. Maltine never seemed to be about anything more than the founders looking for music they liked, and their tastes surely changed. With a label, website, and a fanbase already established, Maltine’s tastes began in the latter part of the decade to influence other artists. The Maltine Sound started being heard.
Which presents a problem: the Maltine sound isn’t, really. It’s not a unified genre attack. Nothing on the label sounds alike; even subsequent releases by the same artist can sound wildly different. Sure, it’s often dance music, electronic, and sometimes uses anime samples, but otaku dance music isn’t new. Maltine, despite cartoon album covers, doesn’t fit neatly into the anime dance genre. If anything, the label has one foot in the Akihabara culture, but many other feet in many other styles. What unifies these releases is that they’re on the same webpage, and that Maltine is cool, in the true sense of not giving a fuck about trends and releasing what you like. It’s obvious Maltine also has excellent taste and passion for music. So, that’s the Maltine Sound.
In this playlist, we hear it broadening even further. Pop music consumes as much as it is consumed. This is hungry pop music, sucking in sounds from anywhere it can to make something new and excellent. The past five years of Maltine should be the envy of any label. I played many of these tracks on prior shows, and I remember Maltine being the reason I checked netlabel websites every week, hungry myself for a new release. Maltine often delivered. From 2010 through 2015, it seemed like there was always something fresh from the unstoppable Maltine, and I was far from the only one paying attention to the label. Musicians worldwide were pushing Maltine artists, and other labels, even the Japanese record industry, started paying attention. As you can tell from the links, this story is, by now, well told, but, as with so much of modern music, it’s still ultimately niche. When I talk to people I know about Maltine, even those into electronic music, there’s a turn in their nose I often see, as though it can’t be serious or good music. It is, though, but it’s not the music you were expecting, and occasionally more cutesy or more esoteric or maximal or minimal. It’s bold music, emboldened by the pastiche the internet inspires, and, correspondingly, it’s impossible to separate Maltine from the network of influences the internet allows. It’s a world of music to explore and contribute to, and the world of music is immense, crowded, and fleeting. The songs on this playlist are outstanding, however, and I hope you enjoy them.