Fade To Mind Favorites: A Five Year Anniversary Tribute
XLR8R celebrates Fade To Mind's five-year anniversary with our five favorite tracks from the maverick imprint.
Over the 1825 days following the release of that EP, Fade To Mind has grown into a highly-regarded label with a knack for nurturing adventurous sounds. The maverick imprint was established by Prince William (a.k.a Will Boston) and Los Angeles DJ-producer Kingdom (a.k.a. Ezra Rubin), who originally made a name for himself in NYC thanks to his DJ prowess and a series of innovative mix-tapes and singles for labels like Fool’s Gold and London’s Night Slugs. His relationship with the latter crew has been particularly fruitful as Kingdom’s inventive brew of R&B, hip hop, grime, rave, and twisted bass sounds have found a real kinship with the music being generated by the Night Slugs camp. The exchange of ideas continued even after Kingdom relocated to Los Angeles and started his own Fade to Mind label and collective, which he and Boston run alongside similarly experimental artists Nguzunguzu and Total Freedom.
Following a slew of successful EPs, singles, and albums, Fade To Mind made a significant impact on the music industry after producing Kelela’s debut LP Cut 4 Me in 2013. Kelela’s meteoric rise to fame helped further solidify the imprint’s stellar reputation while simultaneously giving the entire collective a major air of confidence when it comes to exploring their more mainstream, pop sensibilities.
In celebration of Fade To Mind’s five-year anniversary, the XLR8R team gathered together to pick out our five favorite tracks from the seminal LA-based music label. In addition to the list, you can download five exclusive edits from Fade to Mind’s Kingdom, Kelela, Rizzla, and more by going here.
05. MikeQ – The Ha Dub Rewerk’d
Jersey club heavyweight MikeQ helped give the imprint a distinct ballroom identity with a dub of Masters at Work‘s iconic 1991 track. Updated takes on classics have been a mainstay for Fade since its foundation (see here and here), and will almost always appear in one form or another during members’ DJ sets.
04. Rizzla – Twitch Queen
Rizzla manages to summarize a good portion of Fade’s endeavors with “Twitch Queen,” released as a single off his 2015 Iron Cages EP. With recognizable structures of Jersey club, Latin American cumbia and more, the Brooklyn-based DJ-producer marries disparate corners of the label’s broad-based sound palate while keeping the final product club-ready.
03. Nguzunguzu – Foam Feathers
With their second EP on Fade in 2013’s Skycell, Daniel Pineda & Asma Maroof cranked up the dystopia through seven tracks of eclectic bass music. “Foam Feathers,” the opening track, reflects a label-wide interest in unorthodox grime tropes.
02. Dat Oven – Icy Lake (Rashad & NA Remix)
In conjunction with a short documentary on a 1998 vogue arena track by Dat Oven, Fade to Mind paired with sister label Night Slugs to reissue the original with reworks from an enticing cast of producers. Here, Nguzunguzu’s Daniel Pineda teams up with Chicago footwork luminary DJ Rashad to send the track into chaotic juke territory.
01. Kelela – Bank Head [Prod. Kingdom]
After his 2012 label debut with VIP EDITION, Kingdom released Vertical XL, a highly compelling declaration of intent that spelled out his gravitation towards genre-transcending compositions and a penchant for negative space. Bank Head, which features wistful vocals from Kelela Mizanekristos just months before her breakthrough Cut 4 Me mixtape, was its opening statement.