Fink and Will Saul’s Aus Music imprint has been an important presence in British house and techno for ten years, offering early opportunities for some huge producers to release tracks that would launch their careers. Lashings of dub over tech-house tracks of varying styles give the label’s releases a euphoric, thoughtful and often playful edge.
In celebration of the label’s tenth year, we pick out our favourite Aus Music release for each year of the label’s tenure.
2006. My My - Butterflies & Zebras
Aus 02 is a coastal easy roller, easing you into the Aus catalogue with a gentle dip into warm waters. A rounded, slightly squelchy lead synth line leads the trip, with a laid back house beat and experimental electronics filling out the background.
2007. Will Saul & Lee Jones - Hug The Scary (Partial Arts Remake)
Label boss Will Saul teamed up with frequent Aus contributor Lee Jones to record “Hug The Scary”, releasing it alongside an edit which places laser-toned water droplets against overdriven guitars, a rumbly bass and bubbling synths. A steady groover with plenty of space to breathe.
2008. Sian - Red Cloud (Minilogue Remix)
It sometimes takes a while to ‘get’ minimalist techno, but it’s a rewarding genre to explore. This remix of Sian’s “Red Cloud” really doesn’t have much to it - a firm bass drum, scattered percussion and faint hints at melodies, it slowly transforms without ever signposting the gentle curves in the road.
2009. Martyn - Electric Purring
Deeply remorseful and melancholic despite its upbeat percussion, the nostalgic feel of Electric Purring by Martyn is a suitable choice for a look backwards at Aus’ history, showing off the considerable talents of one of the continent’s most underrated producers.
2010. Ramadanman & Midland - Your Words Matter
Before the name change, Pearson Sound was banging out tracks under the alias Ramadanman, back in the early days of Hessle Audio. Though he and Midland have both had a fairly constant stream of high-profile tracks come out since, arguably neither have surpassed the quality of their 2010 joint effort, the delectable “Your Words Matter”. Stuttered, broken piano chords and a skipping vocal collage, the track is one of the standout releases on Aus, and remains every bit as powerful today as it was when first dropped.
2011. SCB - Losso
Around the time that he was helping contribute to a wider passing of the torch from dubstep to techno, Scuba released Loss/FutureUnknown under his infrequent alias SCB, indulging in the trademark Aus euphoria with a soaring synth siren and gameboy arpeggios, laced with the indistinguishable but undeniably soulful musings of a distorted vocal sample.
2012. Bicep & Ejeca - You
House of a trance-like quality, the slowly rising synths of “You” provide a captivating backdrop to the gradual arrival of a rave-soaked vocal, with dampened snare hits, dullened bass kicks and crisp hats providing a rhythm section that pushes the track along without detracting from the euphoric melodies.
2013. Leon Vynehall - Brother
Another track making use of a short, crisp and distinctive vocal, Leon Vynehall’s Aus release featured two funk-laden dance cuts, with “Brother” just edging “Sister” to make the list as our pick of 2013. Taking a similar approach to Ramadanman & Midland’s earlier mention, Vynehall’s ear for exciting samples picks out a single piano hit and places it alongside a simple drum beat and a vocal snapshot. Add in the occasional call and response of snippets of human speech and somehow a dancefloor killer is formed.
2014. Midland - Duster
Another release from one of the busiest prodcuers making records stamped with the Aus signature. This release became an essential DJ tool for many over the course of 2015 thanks to its steady built and warm sythlines that emerge when the track reaches it's peak and proceed to bounce off every object in their path. A perfect selection for a tightly packed cavernous space.
2015. Tom Demac - Guilty Measures
A little bit weird, Tom Demac’s often discordant tech-house introduces digitised brass samples as it sends a revolving bassline careering calmly into uncertain territory. It’s a bit like a calm drive along a winding mountain road, but with a sense that rocks are starting to break away above and below.
2016. Huxley - Widow
The first release of 2016 for Aus comes by way of Huxley, offering shooting sound beams and smashed glass hi-hats before a chiming synth offers a little melodic interest. Rinse out a few layers, throw the percussion back in and repeat the process; it’s a bit of a DJ tool but it’ll definitely get a fair few plays.
Aus Music will be showcasing their diverse sounds in celebration of their 10th Birthday at both The Rainbow Venues April 1st and XOYO London Friday 15th April
Words by Andrew Kemp & Elliot Ryder
Photos courtesy of Aus Music