In 2013, running an independent record label–whether based in brick and mortar or digital only–isn’t exactly an explosively promising proposition.
If you’ve got some interesting musician friends, a little capital, some cool cover art, and a lot determination, however, you can still present a cohesive sound and vision that carries you from release to release, building your niche one listeners, one stream, one download at a time. It can seem painstaking, but if your vision is clear and connects, it can be well worth it–far more so, in the long run, than the quick cash out.
Brooklyn-based label Modern Shark certainly isn’t shooting for the top of the pop sonically, but their sunny, dusty take on hip-hop is smooth and smartly manicured, a coherent retro-leaning palette that never feels stuck in the past–cemented in bygone sounds, perhaps, but never to its detriment.
On its latest sampler (the fourth of its kind), the label shares cuts featuring Kool AD, Steel Tipped Dove, Cool Calm Pete, and Junk Science (a duo consisting of Snafu and Modern Shark founder Baje One) to craft a fluid, low-key listen. It sounds like a project crafted with a firm awareness of purpose and style in mind; it may not connect with every listener, but those seeking this aesthetic should be pleased when they hit play. Check it out below.