- Harthouse (record label)
Harthouse is a German
record labelspecializing in techno music; during the early 1990s it was one of the biggest labels in the "techno-trance" scene that was the precursor to modern trance music.
The label has been responsible for many success stories in the electronic world including
Oliver Lieb, Eternal Basement, Hardfloor, Sven Väthand Koxbox.
The company was founded by
Sven Väthin the early 1990s. Harthouse took on thetechno trend and explored the darker, more pulsating flavors of this music, soonbecoming one of the front-figures of European techno. Like Väth, the Harthouseartists soon chose a more intellectual approach to music compared to some of the more rave-and party-oriented electronic musicat that time. Tracks were long and abstract, with unpredictable rhythms and strange "alien" sounds.
Harthouse CDs, like the vinyl records, came in a subtle glossed cardboard casing printedwith color variations of the same dark, monochromatic science fiction themes, much in style withthe music itself. Each publication sported a cryptic name.
Experimentation seems to have been encouraged within the company, and Harthouse artistslike
jiri.ceivertook this angle to a funky extreme, approaching the level of abstract art. On the other hand, artists like Koxbox took the experiments in the dancefloor direction, andHarthouse, among others via Koxbox finally moved more and more towards the psychedelic trancegenre, and many will probably consider Harthouse part of building up this genre. The developmentresulted in the later Harthouse CDs having a more "maximalist", energetic sound with emphasison the distorted TB-303lead.
In the beginning of 1997 the future of the label was uncertain, sales were drooping in the wake of rising commercial trance labels, and Sven Vaeth had left the label in January, causing further confusion. The firm moved from its vast office in Offenbach to Berlin. Two months later the firm was insolvent, and filed for bankruptcy. The artists could not be paid or were put off with ridiculous sums. The managing directors proved unwilling to comment on the reasons for the bankruptcy.
At the beginning of 1998 the Under Cover Music Group (UCMG) took over the rights to use the brand name of the label as well as the trade mark "Harthouse". For UCMG the essential point of this deal was the assurance of giving back the artists/authors the right of use on their titles - UCMG put together a "Retrospective Box", a collection of the most successful releases of Harthouse.
In the few years from 1998 up to 2003, where Harthouse existed under UCMG, there only appeared 9 singles, a few albums and, what was new at Harthouse at all, a few DJ Mix-CDs mixed by various DJs like
Oliver Bondzio, Frank Lorberand Plank. There also appeared one foreign release by Hardfloor under Harthouse UK, by the English UCMG department.
In early 2003, UCMG started to get into financial problems. In the middle of 2003 Harthouse planned to re-release a set of old classic singles, but after some first test vinyls were made, UCMG was closed.
In 2004 Daredo Music took over the rights of the Harthouse brand. They promise a return to the old Harthouse sound and mythos, including a return to pre-USMG style cover art, and introduction of new artists from the techno, acid techno and tech-trance scenes.
List of record labels
List of electronic music record labels
* [http://www.harthouse.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.discogs.com/label/Harthouse Harthouse] at
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