Shir Khan’s Exploited Recordings has always stood out as a label with serious ambitions. From the consistent quality of its prolific output to its early championing of many a dance music star to its diverse array of sounds, it has felt like a highly accomplished offering even since its earliest days. Now one of house music’s biggest labels, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Berlin. ‘Dancing & Romancing’ gives a snapshot of the imprint’s last five years, charting its story from contender to heavyweight in stunning fashion. Label boss Shir Khan’s excellent A&R skills proceed him by this point, but taking stock of just a fraction of what he’s signed along the way in these 30 tracks really drives his reputation home. From breaking Claptone as an unknown artist to helping him become one of the biggest-selling names in dance music to introducing the world to other major players like Adana Twins, Doctor Dru and Joyce Muniz, he has unearthed a staggering amount of talent in such a short space of time.
Browse through the label’s 150+ releases and you’ll also see an impressive plethora of acclaimed names from across the house, techno and disco sphere: Metronomy, Modeselektor, Siriusmo, Munk, Julio Bashmore, Michael Mayer, Fort Romeau, HNNY, Untold, John Tejada, Phil Weeks, Riva Starr, Cosmin TRG, Freeform Five, DJ Sneak, Locked Groove, Deetron, Detroit Swindle, Acid Pauli, Ralph Lawson, Fred Falke… the list goes on and on. Dancing & Romancing showcases some of the label’s high points from the last half decade, attempting to provide a summary of what Exploited is all about. From resolute club bangers to tracks that sound as good on your home stereo as they do on the dancefloor, it’s a compilation that reminds us that dance music is no longer simply the preserve of the clubs but something bigger and further-reaching than it’s ever been.
Big vocal anthems like Claptone feat. Jaw’s No Eyes and Murphy Jax feat. Mike Dunn’s Let’s Get To It sit alongside charismatic instrumentals such as dreamy Cocolores’ Vox and Urulu’s rolling 1991. Sample-heavy classics like Adana Twins’ Strange and Doctor Dru’s Voice Of Dru contrast with the cutting-edge freshness of Light Year’s Never Know and Sirens Of Lesbos’ 7 Years In Tibet. We’re reminded of the the number of excellent new vocalists who have graced the label, from Anabel Englund’s seductive tones alongside Human Life on El Diablo to Daudi Matsiko’s haunting delivery with Kyodai on Houston In The Blind.
Released as a double CD and triple vinyl as well as in a deluxe box set edition, ‘Dancing & Romancing’ is out on September 23rd via Exploited Records