Label Watch: Sdban Records

The story of the Belgian label Sdban Records began almost ten years ago with an impressive record collection. Today, there is not only Sdban, the one label for exceptional records from days gone by – with Sdban Ultra, a sister label for the current Belgian jazz and funk scene has been established too.

His own record collection as a business plan: Stefaan Vandenberghe has known the music business for a long time. As a DJ, he travelled the world, visited artists and labels, and there are various articles to his name on the internet. (Among other things, about his extensive record collection, which formed the basis for the founding of his label Sdban. Allegedly, no one wants to help him move anymore). On his travels, Vandenberghe also always visited the small local record shops to stock up on local releases.

»More than once I found cool Belgian releases but located at complete different music sections, and mostly underrated in the scene«, says Vandenberghe. It was on one of these occasions that he had the idea of founding the label. A label that specialises in these gems and makes them accessible to a new audience.

»Most of these tracks were hidden as b-sides, library music or released in small quantities without proper promotion or distribution«. The business plan? A gut feeling, “based on my passion for music and with the experience I’ve developed over the many years collecting music”. Even then, it was clear that since many of the releases had appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, it would be an adventure to get the rights for them. Or to find the rights holders at all.

Gut feeling as a business plan

The name of the label is derived from the name of the label boss: from Stefaan you make a more exotic variant and get the Spanish Esteban. From there it goes phonetically on to Sdban. And the record collection: Vandenberghe estimates that he owns over 55,000 records. »A very diverse collection containing a lot of electronic music as well as jazz, Brazil music, afro, disco,funk, dub.« 

Funky Chicken, the label’s first compilation, was released in 2014 – a series of Belgian funk tracks from the 1970s. “Rather than releasing singles or re-releasing the original albums, I thought it made more sense to compile a nice selection and include liner notes so that the listener would understand the idea of the label.” A specific sound or scene did not exist in Belgium at that time, says Vandenberghe. Everyone was doing their own thing somehow. “When compiling the Funky Chicken I’ve found out that many artists never heard of each other until now”. Belgium is not a big country, and yet every region has its own clubs, its own nightlife.

“More than once I came across cool Belgian releases, but they were located in completely different musical genres and were often underestimated in the scene”. – Stefaan Vandenberghe

From then on, it continued with various releases and compilations. Among them: Koen De Bruyne’s album Here Comes The Crazy Man! A record pumped up with fusion, originally released in 1974. Three years later, De Bruyne died. Today, the album has cult status in the Belgian scene. An underrated record, says Vandenberghe.

Sdban belongs to the Belgian label and distributor N.E.W.S., which has been in place since 1994. The business offices are located in the northern part of Ghent. (Good conditions: nice city, not too big, but a lively scene, many creative people). 21 music lovers work here in all areas of the music industry and sooner or later also for the publications of Sdban, where Ilja Bracke also works alongside Vandenberghe.

A place to go for talents

Shortly after founding Sdban, Vandenberghe realised that there were also a number of talented Belgian artists in the current jazz scene. So what to do? Found a sister label. With Sdban Ultra, there is now a place to go for up-and-coming musicians like the soul singer Adja. “As I was afraid they could experience the same problems as the releases in the 70ies – lack of promo, bad distribution, undiscovered for many years“. That’s where the reputation of the original helps: Vandenberghe gets a lot of music sent to him or slipped to him by other musicians on the label. Today, bands like Black Flower, STUFF., ECHT, De Beren Gieren and others are part of the programme.

“I feel lucky as Belgium has such a fertile scene and while the older generation still keeps evolving, a new generation is waiting to be discovered”. With Sdban, there is a place that captures all this. Thanks to a label boss with the right gut feeling.

Text Björn Bischoff

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Bleeps, Breaks + Bass forthcoming on Musique Pour La Danse with Trevor Jackson artwork

At the turn of the ‘90s, British dance music gave birth to two interconnected styles that put heavy sub-bass front and centre: bleep techno and breakbeat hardcore. Such was their popularity that the styles inspired countless imitations and mutations, both within the UK and far beyond.

This is the story told in a major new retrospective from Musique Pour La Danse, Bleeps, Breaks + Bass, a carefully curated and well-informed collection of rare and sought-after tracks from the early ‘90s selected by label founders Olivier Ducret and Bunkerheadz. Available on two limited-edition double LPs (each presented in heavy cardboard gatefold sleeves on 180g, half speed-mastered vinyl), compact disc and digital download, Bleeps, Breaks + Bass features artwork by legendary graphic designer Trevor Jackson and extensive liner notes from dance music historian Matt Anniss, author of the acclaimed book Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music.

A quick glance at the track listing will confirm the depth and variety of Bunkerheadz and Ducret’s selections, which largely sidestep celebrated anthems in favour of overlooked gems, deeper cuts and genuine rarities – all of which have been re-mastered by legendary bleep producer and engineer Rob Gordon (Forgemasters, Xon, co-founder of Warp Records) and half-speed mastered/cut by Sidney Meier at Emil Berliner.

Across the collection you’ll find lesser-celebrated gems from significant figures in the scene (Unique 3’s long-overlooked Digicality, rare tracks from 4 Hero side projects R-Solution and Tek9); surprise bass-heavy excursions from popular outfits of the period (A Man Called Adam, A Certain Ratio and The KLF’s What Time Is Love as remixed by The Moody Boys); significant but frequently forgotten underground anthems (outings from Boneshakerz, Hypersonic, Ubik and KCC); secret weapons (Three Sons, Heychild, Techno Excursion); and even a sub-heavy classic from Norwegian ambient legend Biosphere. It all adds up to a significant celebration of one of the most fertile periods in the development of dance music with bleeps, breaks and bass.


A1. The Scientist – Spiral Symphony (Sample Me Mix) 03:00
A2. KCC – Def Cõn Bass 04:36
A3. R. Solution – Blowing My Mind 04:04
B1. Biosphere – Baby Satellite 05:06
B2. A Certain Ratio – Spirit Dance 05:39

C1. A Man Called Adam – Midievil (The Inquisition) 06:46
C2. Unique 3 – Digicality 04:48
D1. Hypersonic – Dance Tones (Tekno Mix) 05:28*
D2. Heychild – Heychild’s Theme 06:08


A1. Terra Incognita – Alien Element (UK Mix) 04:26
A2. Tek 9 – Space 91 03:12
A3. Boneshakers – Don’t Go Away (Original Dub Mix) 03:38
B1. Ubik – Bass Generation 06:08
B2. Break The Limits – Drums Of Freedom 05:06*

C1. Techno Excursion – Come With Me 06:01
C2. Trak 1 – For This II 04:32
D1. Three Sons – First Step 04:03
D2. KLF – What Time Is Love? (Moody Boys vs KLF Mix) 07:38

*Vinyl exclusive


01. The Scientist – Spiral Symphony (Sample Me Mix) 03:00
02. KCC – Def Cõn Bass 04:36
03. R. Solution – Blowing My Mind 04:04
04. Biosphere – Baby Satellite 05:06
05. A Certain Ratio – Spirit Dance 05:39
06. A Man Called Adam – Midievil (The Inquisition) 06:46
07. Unique 3 – Digicality 04:48
08. Heychild – Heychild’s Theme 06:08
09. Terra Incognita – Alien Element (UK Mix) 04:26
10. Tek 9 – Space 91 03:12
11. Boneshakers – Don’t Go Away (Original Dub Mix) 03:38
12. Ubik – Bass Generation 06:08
13. Techno Excursion – Come With Me 06:01
14. Trak 1 – For This II 04:32
15. Three Sons – First Step 04:03
16. KLF – What Time Is Love? (Moody Boys vs KLF Mix) 07:38

Musique Pour La Danse will release Break, Bleeps + Bass on April 7th, 2023

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New compilation of ’90s Brussels label SSR Records features Move D, Gemini, Glenn Underground

Hi Scores is beyond excited to present SSR Records: In Retrospect. This 2LP compilation album presented in a beautiful gatefold sleeve and through all digital platforms, wishes to highlight the immense and hard to grasp legacy of the Brussels based label.

SSR Records was founded in 1988 by Marc Hollander as a sub label of his Crammed Discs and spanned the nascent years of house, acid, rave, trance, new beat, hip-hop, future jazz and broken beat, collaborating internationally and racking up close to 200 releases until it was put to sleep in 2002. Far ahead of their time, SSR Records released music of both European and North American artists that hadn’t broken through yet, such as those collected on this compilation: Move D, Nu Era, Gemini, Bjørn Torske, Glenn Underground or Matthew Herbert.

SSR Records was run by Crammed Discs chief Marc Hollander and Minimal Compact singer Samy Birnbach aka DJ Morpheus. SSR Records: In Retrospect comes with extended liner notes, exploring the pivotal milestones in the history of the adventurous label and zooming in on the origins of all records featured on the compilation.

All nine tracks on SSR Records: In Retrospect were selected by Hi Scores’s head honcho Kong DJ and have been remastered. Created between 1990 and 1996 and in the at the time pioneering spheres of house, breakbeat, electro and trance music, these treasures from the vast SSR catalog today stand as a stunning testimony to a truly remarkable and timeless musical legacy. Kong DJ: ‘While collaborating with Crammed Discs on the releases of Aksak Maboul in 2016 and Zazou / Bikaye in 2018 on Ensemble, I began to grasp the impressive catalog of the label and its sub labels, including SSR. Surprised by the tiny footprint SSR had left on the world wide web – often the case for labels ceased before the internet revolution – I wrote an article for British website The Vinyl Factory. This would later prove to be the first step towards this compilation album, collecting favorites from the label as a kid in a giant candy store.


A1 Avalon – Linked (Move D Remix)
A2 Alegria – Danger (It’s For Real) (Alien Remake)
A3 Gemini – 7:15 PM
B1 Solar Quest – Acid Nation
C1 Modulate – Dreams
C2 Nu Era – Pisces
C3 Hans G – Anything You Like (B2)
D1 Q-Burn’s Abstract Message – Mess Of Afros (Glenn Underground Remix)
D2 Hector Zazou & Harold Budd – The Light Gave Us Away (House Mix By Herbert)

Hi Score will release SSR Records: In Retrospect on May 26th, 2023.

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The Mauritanian family band who pioneered Saharan blues

As artists like Mdou Moctar, Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré popularise Saharan Desert Rock across the world, this release by Belgium’s Radio Martiko explores the foundational emergence of the genre. Recorded in 1972 at the Boussiphone Studios in Casablanca, Ahl Nana contains the first recordings of modern music from the Saharan region. An essential nugget of history, this album charts the reinvention of traditional Saharan music with the introduction of the electric guitar.

Listen to the whole album just below


A1 Adji Kar Teri Miri
A2 Yer Sabou Yerkoy
A3 Emolli Tidwall Eheme
B1 Bayna Daouali
B2 Zeinab Moussa
C1 Ahlane Ouassahlane
C2 Timidawane Hewana
D1 Ya Llali Ya Ouichi
D2 Hob Mene
D3 Nahnou Sigharou El Ouatane

Radio Martiko will release L’orchestre National Mauritanien on February 10th, 2023.

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Jeff Mills releases second score for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

‘Metropolis Metropolis’ is influenced by the 1927 film’s overall storyline and plot.

Out now via his own Axis Records label, Metropolis Metropolis combines elements of classical and electronic music and marks the second time Mills has produced a soundtrack of the film – his previous Metropolis score came out in 2000. Where his original score was produced to fit specific scenes and moments in Lang’s original, this latest version is more influenced by the overall storyline of the film.

“Creating music for Fritz Lang’s masterpiece film Metropolis has been and continues to be a great experience,” Mills said in a statement. “The film is a story about ‘man vs man’ with the help of a machine. Its dramatic theme is as relevant now as it was when the film debuted in 1927. A film to be enjoyed, but also noted and examined.”

Fritz Lang’s film, set in a futuristic vision of the year 2000, depicts a dystopia in which rich people rule over the working classes, who live and work beneath the city. It was based on Thea von Harbou’s 1925 novel of the same name.


A. Jeff Mills – The Masters Of Work And Play
B. Jeff Mills – Metropolis Metropolis
C. Jeff Mills – Maria And The Impossible Dream
D. Jeff Mills – Transformation The Aftershock And Evil
E. Jeff Mills – Yoshiwara And The Players Of Chance
F. Jeff Mills – Liaisons And Complicated Affairs

Axis Records will release Metropolis Metropolis on March 3, 2023.

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The artist formerly known as Tikiman returns with first solo album in over a decade

The nine-track Tikiman Vol​.​1 is out through Berlin’s Kynant Records in March.

Legendary reggae and dub techno vocalist Paul St. Hilaire, AKA Tikiman, is releasing his first solo album since 2006.

Over his 30-plus year career, St. Hilaire has become one of dance music’s quietly legendary figures. Born and raised in Dominica, he moved to Berlin in 1994 and has lent both his voice and his musicianship to some of the most iconic electronic music from the German capital – and beyond. Renowned for his collaborations with Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus (AKA Rhythm & Sound), he has also appeared on records with Deadbeat, Rhauder, Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers and Stereotyp (G-Stone Recordings), amongst others.

However, few know the extent of St. Hilaire’s compositional and technical mastery. From his home studio in Kreuzberg, which includes an extensive collection of vintage hardware, self-built instruments and notebooks scribbled with endless lyrics, he has created a vast archive of material spanning ambient dub, avant-jazz, lush techno and lovers rock.

You can listen to snippets from the whole album just below.

Tikiman Vol. 1 is a heady, downtempo tour de force of patois metaphors on education, displacement and personal vs. global histories, as is evident on slippy album opener Bedroom in My Bag: Mister, mister / Where are you going? / I’m heading for a faraway land / What are you having in the bag in your hand? / Help us to understand / He said, I’ve got my bedroom in my bag.

Overall, the album’s lyrics reflect on life between Berlin and Dominica, specifically St. Hilaire’s hometown of Grand Bay, where he has worked with various musicians famous for the island’s different genres of carnival music. St. Hilaire himself always favoured the island’s more “discrete” music, developing a sonic synergy between two different geographical strains of groove and minimalism, and combining them with foundational Caribbean mixing techniques, which provide the basis for his songwriting and distinct

Tikiman Vol.1 offers a rare insight into St. Hilaire’s complex artistry, from the eyes-down grooves of Little Way and the guitar-heavy digi dancehall experiment Keep Safe, to the subtle hypnosis of Ten to One and the softly crashing synth waves of closer Three And A Half, evoking not only beaches but also coasts and borders. It’s a fitting expression of both the breadth of St. Hilaire’s work, as well as his history as one of the few black, Berlin-based artists who, despite remaining largely overlooked, has influenced the city’s electronic music culture since its beginnings.


A1 Bedroom In My Bag
A2 Little Way
A3 Keep Safe
B1 Bright One
B2 The Weather Man
C1 In Fortis
C2 Ten To One
D1 In Door
D2 Three And A Half

Kynant will release Tikiman Vol. 1 on March 31st, 2023.

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