PS Label of the Week: Good Company Records
The career trajectory and the impact of a collective like Perth’s Good Company is vital in both preserving and showcasing the immense talent coming out of the west coast of Australia to not only other Australians, but to the world too.
The west coast has always been a bit of an anomaly to me – I’ve never traveled further than Adelaide. So my understanding of the western most part of the country has come filtered through events I’ve seen on Facebook, words from friends and sounds from my various feeds. In discovering Good Company and the label that they run, a whole new aspect of Perth’s nightlife and electronic music community became apparent to me.
Run by mates Andrew Sinclair and Nik Patterson, the Good Company crew threw their first party back in 2011. Since then, they’ve been central in stabilising a growing underground house, techno and disco scene on the west coast and bolstering those communities that have emerged as a result.
They’ve been responsible for so many of the world’s best coming through to Perth, including the west coast debut of such seminal contemporary acts in electronic music like Floating Points, Anthony Naples and even global institution Boiler Room, bringing Perth’s sounds to the screens and headphones of electronic music fans across the globe.
Their basement club parties have become a staple in Australian dance music, booking one DJ to play all night long. However, the kick is that they won’t announce who the act is, you’ve got to rock up and trust that they’ve got someone killer to keep you dancing right through the night. And they’ve done this without fail for years.
2014 saw the crew set up a literal shop – a record store in Subiaco called Highgate Continental, which later moved to Perth’s CBD. The store today brings a curated assortment of both local and international sounds, art and editorial with around 500 records on the shelves at any one time, a couple of high quality listening stations and a range of zines and hardcovers ready to be pored over.
A year after the store opened, the crew decided to kick it up a notch and expand the GC model to include a record label too. In late 2015, the label celebrated their debut release.
GCR001 from Hugo Gerani kicked off the label side of GC, and keeping in step with their ethos, the three-tracker gave a face to the name of the west coast underground, and became an incredibly defining release for GCR.
Kicking off with a monster of a jam in ‘About Face’, the 808-rinsed house number takes you on an undulating journey of pulsing monotonous synths, epic percussion fills and an acid bassline that brings the funk hard to this release. The ‘Deep Sea Dub’ of ‘Baited Drum Lines’ throws you headfirst into the deep end, and suddenly you’re swimming with that 808 cowbell, coasting through ribbons of dissonant chords and pushed steadily afloat with echoed lasers. ‘Freeze Action (Desire)’ rounds out this release, streamlining those lush chords and using them to add depth to the most minimal soundscape on the record. The melody feels as though it’s being propagated to you through water, and this deeply dubby mix brings the aquatic tones to the record home.
Release number ‘zero-zero-two’ came in from Phil Stroud out of North Perth. The label describes him as the ‘riddim doctor’ and very aptly too. The release may only be two tracks, but with both clocking in at 8:09 and 10:15 respectively, the EP is both generous and expansive.
‘The Forest’ delivers next to no melody, and without hearing it, you’d probably think that was a bad thing. Stroud‘s worked this one into a percussion frenzy, continuously layering harmonic drum hits on top of one another to create this steady, meditative exploration of texture and percussive timbre. B-side ‘Yemaja’ enlists the hand of Yazist Vaapa‘s Jack Doepel to expel some dewy keys onto the meticulous percussive programming from Stroud. The ten-minute jam is both delicately jazzy and lightly atmospheric, making for an apt and diverse addition to the GCR back catalogue.
Long Body brings introspection to the label’s third EP, High Vibe. Kicking off with downtempo rhythms and ‘high vibes’ on the piano-led ‘On A Big Trip’, the delicate layering of this one adds unchartered territory to the label’s back catalogue: explicit melody. There’s inklings of the same percussive complexities present in the label’s first two releases, but that’s not the focus here.
‘Fuzzy Logic’ employs quiet key-tones underneath a theremin-esque wavering sound, and it’s when the deep chords hit that the mood of the track lifts. The deepest track on the record is ‘Stay Vacation’, which as the track progresses, eventuates into this softly spoken synth jam, accentuated by a slowly arpeggiated sequence, tiny vocal stabs, a quietly strummed electric guitar and breaths of carefully thought out bass. ‘Endless Going’ is spacious and dreamy, offering a glimmer of interstellar atmosphere to close out the release.
Senate brings something entirely new to the table altogether for GCR004, and for the first time, the label dips into something a little heavier.
‘Pugilist Dub’ lives up to its name, the effortless breaks dodging in and out of the distorted melodic punch. It isn’t until the second minute of the track that the heaviness settles – the hard-hitting, techno bassline is guaranteed to knock you out with its first blow. ‘Forza Rays’ doesn’t let you settle into the bass, this time it throws you in headfirst and drives you through undulating bouts of slow, siren-like melodies and distorted throws.
The release maintains that kind of minimalist way of approaching production that GCR have represented in their first few releases, but more than anything that doesn’t come down to fewer instruments being used in these tracks, it comes down to the artists being masters of selection and having an ear for creating fuller textures out of less. Four releases in, you can see the pattern of thinking they’re employing of the releases they’re housing.
Tourist Kid gets on board for the fifth release on the label, with a two tracker – his single ‘Under Armour Suite’ and a stellar remix from Long Body‘s Basic Mind on the B-side.
This four-part heater takes you on a trip through glittering ambience and rolls of a glistening virtual piano, employing contrast as its main point of attack. Basic Mind‘s remix turns this series into a bonafide house jam, employing Tourist Kid‘s ambient tactics underneath a digital dusk of deep percussion and rolling waves of bassy synths.
One year on from his GCR debut, Phil Stroud returns for GCR006, and this seven-tracker is an exercise in both prolific percussive brilliance and exceptional clarity. Sit down with this one for an hour of meditative programming, and lose yourself in the release’s intense arc.
The opener ‘Ritual’ and one from later in the release, ‘Tribe’, both employ long bouts of hypnotic rhythms that weave in and out of house dips, but never become bogged down by them. ‘The Birds’ pairs suspenseful flutes with bassy percussion, whilst ‘Scintillating’ travels up the scale for a melodic exploration with light vocal motifs dotting this track. ‘Outside’ uses similar tactics to ‘Scintillating’, but it’s syncopation that defines this one. ‘Flow’ is 15 minutes of ‘neo-exotica’, with melody and soft shakes defining this beautifully crisp number. ‘Middle East’ has the hard task of closing out the EP, but it rounds it all out perfectly. Guttural chimes and quiet field recordings dot this ambient number, closing out one of the label’s strongest and most poignant releases.
GCR‘s seventh release comes in from Roza Terenzi, arguably one of the most exciting names in electronic music right now. The label put out her first EP The O.G., and it comes ‘doof approved’.
The EP’s opener, ‘The Right Zone’ promises a long, winding bout of electro, tying in an exploration of jumpy acid, low-flung vocal stings and non-invasive percussion. ‘Yeh Yeh Yeh’ sits nicely in the middle, continuing on the same train of electro, but putting the focus onto the crisp hi-hats, slight rim hits, that sweet, high-octave synth and the pulsing vocal edit underneath it all. ‘Higher Place’ really does take you to another place, employing a sliding laser-like sound with punchy snares, ambient chords and in-your-face subs that work hard to drive this one home. The EP rounds out with the perfect Sunday morning comedown from Vancouver’s Jayda G, one that sees her meld all three of the tracks on the EP together for a piano-led house number.
In 2018, GCR put out their eighth release – some gritty gear that came in from Ginoli. The Untitled EP was put out with Motor Works as a custom soundtrack for a luxury offering designed and built by local James Ireland.
The five-track styling drives through the uptempo funk of opener ‘Wild Hall’ and makes a pit stop at ‘Cannoli’ for some lightly ascending bass, quiet vocal yells and dream-like chords. The next scheduled stop is at the sonic beatdown of ‘Carma’, then you’ll find yourself winding through an undulating exploration of bass on ‘Tek G’ and finally, drive straight into the unknown on ‘Untitled’. This one aptly closes the record, with beautifully cinematic strings, a squelchy bassline and sultry pianos dancing in the backdrop.
Reflecting on the entirety of the label’s back catalogue, their passion for the underground is evident. They’ve enlisted artists who have delivered house, techno, disco, electro, ambience and everything in between, but what has remained apparent is the quality of each release. Strong percussion and quirky textures feel like the common ground, and that same sense of minimalism is apparent on each release, but they’ve picked their hand with immense thought – each release representing a diverse intersection of the sounds enjoyed and represented by GCR both URL and IRL.
With eight releases under their belt, years of partying, a physical store to showcase their taste for culture and a community of forward-thinking musicians at their helm, Good Company have over the course of their time together, successfully bolstered something that I feel the west coast of Australia has not really had before – and that’s a global presence.
Art by Anthony “Big Tony” Iacomella
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF