I’d originally intended to write an article about Svek for Ibiza Voice. It’s first incarnation was planned to be a joint piece with another long gone, but influential imprint, Austrian label Grow! However, I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to do both justice in the space I’d have, so I decided to just write about Svek instead. Things started to slide though and I forgot about it, but then interest was revived when someone on the Svek Facebook page gave me contact details for Stephan Grieder, Svek’s head. I quickly got in touch, but had a portentous feeling as soon as I did. It would have been nice had Stephan agreed to an interview, but he didn’t want to participate, saying:
“Big thanks, but the Svek period is over for me.
Living in Sweden country of Avicii, Swedish House Mafia ect...
I left because of an impossible marketing storm in the music industry for very little quality..
Thank you for support !!”
A pity, but that’s up to him. In any case, instead of an interview, I thought I’d write a little about the label and post up my favourite five from it.
I was doing the vast majority of my record shopping in the mid-nineties in Rough Trade, Paris which, thanks to Ivan Smagghe, Jerome Mestre and later, Arnaud Rebotini, was almost exclusively a house and techno mecca. God knows how much I spent there but let’s say I could have almost had the deposit for a small house over the three years had I not bought anything. Svek was one of many labels I took it upon myself to collect, but it’s resonated more than most over the years. I can’t say why exactly, but probably because it had such a way with a groove that made it hard to forget. Also, in anticipating minimalism a good few years before it dropped, it actually sounded much better than anything which subsequently came out of that genre. The funny thing is that I don’t have the first few releases, ’10 Inch Madness’ by Alexi Delano was the first, so I missed out on the Calico, Ari Jukka and Gene Hunt ones, and still don’t have them. Conversely, I never thought that the deeper house cuts on the label, a lot of which characterized the later output, held a candle to the earlier, dubbier ones. With these, Svek really epitomized what dancefloor-focussed dub techno is really capable of.
If I’m honest it’s probably because the time I associate with buying these records was one of the happiest periods in my life and those releases which came out after I left Paris don’t evoke anything like the same feeling of nostalgia. They’re still strong though, but one cursory plod through Discogs seems to suggest that it’s the earlier, techier, dubbier stuff which is the most sought-after, and has the highest asking prices.
In no particular order then:
The Persuader Untitled B2 - Jesper Dahlback
The best known track off this EP and, the one I'm posting, although the rest of the release is very strong. This is simply the most unique piece on the release.
Bon Voyage - Air Frog
The most recent release here, again a unique piece of work. It's all about the bass.
Kaos - Stephan G & The Persuader
A release which for me typifies the dubby, minimal sound of a lot of early Svek better than anything else. The B Side is great too, replacing the vocal with steel drums, and getting deeper.
Pattern One - The Concealed Project
One of four tracks on this release which come from the mind of Adam Beyer and is a world away from what he is usually associated with. Melancholic, dark and chilling.
Snorkelmannen O Hans Vanner - mr Barth & The Persuader
Kari Lekebusch and Jesper Dahlback team up for some Basic Channel - style grooving rinsed with swathes of poignant ambience.