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Label Spotlight

Label Spotlight: Smallville Records

by Philip Sherburne

Label Spotlight: Smallville Records


Various Artists

Hamburg's Smallville label is about as low-key as dance music gets. That goes for its profile -- with a roster limited largely to artists (like Christopher Rau, Jacques Bon, Moomin and Smallpeople) drawn from the crew's own tight orbit -- as well as its self-presentation, with quirky, cartoonish cover art drawn by the idiosyncratic illustrator Stefan Marx. And it goes above all for the label's sound, which spins classic Chicago deep house into some of the dreamiest club music going. Where many dance-music labels have begun to emphasize artist development over the maintenance of an in-house sound, Smallville definitely has its own indelible signature, instantly recognizable in the crisp drum machines, ethereal keys and rubbery, chest-thumping basslines featured by all of the label's artists. This actually makes Smallville releases all the more appealing when heard together; diving into its catalog feels like eavesdropping on a conversation that draws you closer.

As an introduction to the label, we've put together a massive playlist (nearly six hours long!) that represents at least one track from each of Smallville's releases (in reverse chronological order, beginning with all four cuts from its most recent release, the Thirtyfive Ways compilation).