“Intrigue came about from a desire to put on liquid funk nights in Bristol and showcase our sound. After a few years it developed into a record label, which was something I’d wanted to do since getting into production back in 2000.” – Ben Payne
The fifteenth installment of the blog’s “Count To Ten” series is dedicated to one of Bristol’s finest drum & bass outlets Intrigue Music. The brainchild of Ben Payne, Intrigue has been an integral part of the Bristol drum & bass landscape. Named after the successful eponymous club night in Bristol, which in turn was inspired by Fabio’s famous “Swerve” nights in London (hence Intrigue Music has been arguably considered as the natural successor of Creative Source), the label’s inaugural release saw the light of day in 2009, however its conception dates back to 2003.
Intrigue started out as a “liquid funk” night by Ben Payne & Joe Wills, collectively known by their primary recording alias The Insiders with a string of fine releases for the genre’s most prestigious labels; however the last few years is run by Ben single-handedly. Over the years the Intrigue sound evolved to encompass a broad palette within the drum & bass spectrum, which is reflected on the label’s back catalogue.
Fast forward to 2016, Intrigue Music celebrates 13 years of continuous activity in the drum & bass proceedings, spearheading the deeper side of drum & bass, with sell-out nights at the “Dojo Lounge” and “Thekla”, attracting enviable line-ups representing every taste. The label has expanded their exposure, roster and scope overseas, creating exciting synergies with producers around the globe, who grace the label’s nights and discography; a music policy that has also culminated in numerous trans-Atlantic tours. Their forward-thinking take on the drum & bass template has been rather deep and breezy than dark and angular, always retaining the aspect of musicality. With a quality over quantity ethos, the label’s purpose has been to showcase music that will stand the test of time, rather than obvious, disposable tunes. Vocalists, as well as exquisite artwork designers, are distinguished members of the Intrigue collective, rendering with their contributions every output highly attractive.
Artwork & Design
The brilliant record sleeves of the first vinyl releases (INTRIGUE001-005) are designed by renowned producer and graphic designer Eveson.
The next two sleeves (INTRIGUE006-007), as well as Intrigue Music merchandise (flyers, posters, stickers, t-shirts etc.) inspired from Japanese pop-art, are designed by the Newcastle-based artist Chiba Love.
The digital artwork for INTRIGUE011 is designed by John Villarin, whereas Ben Payne’s beautiful photography from trips around the world features in the rest of the digital posters (INTRIGUE008-10, INTRIGUE012-020).
Since 2015 (INTRIGUE12LP onwards), Seth Grym, who is based in Denver, USA, has taken over creative design duties.
Selective label artwork can be found following the links below:
Artists and Vocalists
The Intrigue Music collective in random order of appearance in the label’s discography:
The Insiders, Break, Survival, Ayah Marar, Squash, Random Movement, Ben Soundscape, Superior Selectionz, Raw Q, Will Miles, Stereotype, Sopheye, Collette Warren, RoyGreen & Protone, Monologue, LaMeduza, Jaybee, Quadrant, Iris, Homemade Weapons, D-struct, Pennygiles, Nina, Joakuim, QBD, Jahmab, Lurch, Phase, Rider Shafique, Eveson, Bachelors Of Science, Randall, Ian M, Phase 2, MIRAPID
Selective artist profiles from the label’s official page are available here
To the time of writing, Intrigue Music has released 26 singles & EPS, 5 retrospective EPs entitled “Intriguing Sounds” with tracks from the back catalogue and 3 anniversary collections (celebrating the 11th, 12th and 13th anniversary respectively) with remixes and studio exclusives. The 27th single is due on June, 10th. The first seven releases have been available on vinyl format; from 2012 onwards Intrigue Music has gone exclusively digital. The label may return to the vinyl format in the future, depending on demand. The Intrigue Music catalogue is still available on all the usual outlets.
Full discography and additional information from the label’s page is available here
Count To Ten
With unique criterion my own musical taste and in strict chronological order, ten of the finest Intrigue Music moments are listed below. Some classics have been intentionally omitted in an effort to showcase the pluralism and the depth of the label’s back catalogue:
- The Insiders feat. Ayah Marar – Meltdown (b/w Cold Steel, INTRIGUE003, 2009)
- Random Movement & Ben Soundscape – Perpetual (b/w Many Things, INTRIGUE006, 2011)
- Ben Soundscape & Superior Selectionz – Panoramic (Panoramic EP, INTRIGUE008, 2012)
- The Insiders feat. Collette Warren – Breathing Space (b/w Wonder Why, INTRIGUE013, 2013)
- Superior Selectionz feat. Collette Warren – Confounded (Red Sky EP, INTRIGUE014, 2013)
- Eveson – Softly Spoken (VA – Intrigue 11 – The Anniversary Collection, INTRIGUELP11, 2014)
- Quadrant, Iris & Homemade Weapons – Pembroke (b/w Quadrant & D-Struct – Sexy Beam, INTRIGUE017, 2014)
- Phase – Return The Flavour (b/w Waiting For A Signal, INTRIGUE022, 2015)
- Break – Winter Rain (VA – Intrigue 13 – The Anniversary Collection, INTRIGUELP13, 2016)
- Isola Dusk – Waiting For You (Ben Soundscape remix) (b/w Random Movement & Ben Soundscape – Dreaming, INTRIGUE026, 2016)
A mini-mix featuring the track-listing above following the Mixcloud link below:
Links and social media:
Visit the blog’s archive for the previous installments of the “Count To Ten” series here.