It's funny how things turn out sometimes. You set out do one thing and what comes out the other end is something altogether different. Cue Freerange Records…
What started life as a simple platform for one man to unleash his love of house on the unsuspecting public, has somehow transformed into one of the most revered independent dance music labels in the world. Not that he, or we, are complaining.
Kick-started in 1996, London based Freerange records is the brainchild of two close pals - Tom Roberts and Jamie Odell. To begin with, this shiny new sonic springboard was used solely by Jamie to indulge his two production monikers – Audiomontage and Jimpster. However, once he’d found his groove, the pair started searching for talent that shared their musical vision. Soon enough, they were joined by a selection of new artists who also had a vehement love of groove-based, soul-tinged house music that united the organic and electronic. Enter Shur-I-Kan, Andreas Saag (AKA Stateless & Swell Session), Switch, Only Freak, Palm Skin Productions and Trevor Loveys. In these guys, Jamie and Tom had not just found a tight-knit crew, but a succinct musical troupe – Freerange now had a truly identifiable sound.
By the millenium their releases were popping up in the boxes of top jocks world over – Garnier, Bug, Richards, Middleton - the list goes on. Tracks like Get Ya Dub On, The Bounce, and Get on Downz suddenly became synonymous with the house music of the time and even more impressively, big records for DJs who were known for quite contrasting musical styles. Unbeknown to them they had helped kick start something of a mini revolution and suddenly found themselves at the forefront of a new house movement.
Since then, the imprint just hasn't stopped turning heads. As well as welcoming yet more exciting talent into the family fold - something that the boys hold very dear - the label has excelled in drafting in poignant and on-song remixers to add spice to each and every package. Their colour series compilations – which periodically sum up their latest wares - are some of the most successful and sought after collections in modern day dance music which is definitely something to be proud of in such challenging times.
Alongside mainstays Jimpster, Shur-I-Kan and Milton Jackson the label now has the supremely skilled, Pezzner, Tony Lionni, Lovebirds and Manuel Tur under its wing; all of which are artists in the truest sense of the word. Reflecting this depth of talent, the label is focussing on albums in a big way. 2009 saw Milton and Manuel drop big LPs to even bigger critical acclaim and in 2010 the trend is set to continue with Pezzner and Lionni putting the finishing touches to dynamite debuts. The label have stepped it up yet another gear.