Hotline Recordings – An introduction.

Hotline Recordings, call 07980-988-905.... Is it a record label? An experiment? Retro-fetishism? Or anonymity gimmickry? As of last night the shroud of mystery surrounding Hotline Recordings’ first release was removed, quickly erasing the last point from the list... The audio, which was until yesterday only available by calling a voicemail number, made its online debut last night on the Hotline website (previously displaying only the phone number and some pretty cheap-looking neon) , a cut and paste video comprised of clips from bootlegged dancehall DVDs from the 80s, overlaid with the same enticing voice that greeted curious callers of the hotline number. The A side, ‘Backchat’ is a high pressure dancehall track from Kahn & Neek, built around the gunfinger-raising ‘Badman nah tek backchat’ vocal, taut snares and a stepping kick drum pattern. It’s no secret that the pair are massive Grime and Dancehall heads, the latter heavily informing their ‘Gorgon Sound’ project, which debuted on Peng Sound records earlier this year. Backchat swaggers into the gap between that and their debut collaborative release ‘Percy’; the rudeness of Grime and instantly energizing step of Dancehall drums are expertly woven together to form Backchat, a tried and tested dance destroyer that rarely makes more than a few seconds past the drop before the inevitable wheel-up. Just ask anyone who went to Outlook this year. The flip, ‘Dubchat’ is a syrup sippin’ refix of the title track, wading through a dense fog of stretched vocals and Goldeneye gunshots – think DJ Screw spillin that pint of lean on the mixing desk while Wiley plays N64 in the background and you’re halfway there. Now that anonymity gimmickry and retro-fetishism have, thankfully, been struck off the list, what are we left with? Is Hotline an experiment or a record label? The catch line on posters and stickers that have popped up on various surfaces reads ‘Hot Trax, Bangers On Wax’ so it’s clearly a label, and while it’s less clear whether or not it’s a vinyl-only one, it’s not much of a game changer these days. Those who want it will get it and those who don’t will complain while searching for a rip. Whatever their aims and intentions, it calls into question the current system of promotion, the relentless spamming from every blog covering ‘Bass music’, soundclouding and social media hot air production and just how much it matters. There is a certain appeal in being presented with a mystery phone number and the dilemma, ‘should I call it? can I be arsed? will anyone answer?’; that initial hesitation quickly replaced by the smugness of being ‘in the know’ after you hang up. Now that the audio is online, there may be no need to call the number, but it still conjures up all sorts of romanticised mental images of pirate radio stations and fliers with phone numbers on offering the caller the location of the party. It may also remind the potential caller of a time when you had to put a little effort in to keep up to date with the latest happenings in underground music...and judging by the current state of affairs, that might not be a bad thing. Want the number again? You might need it for future releases... 07980-988-905 Adam link.