Ombra International are the mysterious collective that have been exploring the outer reaches of electronic music together since the back end of 2016.
Italian for shadow, Ombra self-describe themselves as "united by lust and fury" and "together alone", delivering an output that's an avant-garde force of unfamiliar comfort.
Since forming, the Berlin collective have put out music by Curses, Mondowski, K-Effect, Cannibal Ink, Perel, Dawn Again and more on a series of various artists releases. They bring together artists from around the world who share roots in post-punk, new wave and other weirdo guitar music, mixing it with Italo, the darker side of disco and electro.
"It started out with a few collaborations between artists from Mexico City, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and London," a pitch-shifted nameless voice says on the other end of a crackling phone line from Berlin when they call the DJ Mag office. "Our music was either 'too dancefloor' or 'not dancefloor enough', so Ombra was born. We felt like shadows, but of course without light there is no shade."
Ombra International has come at a time that dancefloors are becoming more open to experimentation too, with selectors including Ivan Smagghe and Vladimir Ivkovic enjoying a moment in the sun on the underground once again. "Some of us come from noise and ambient music projects, so the more experimentation the better," the mysterious voice muses about the figures behind the label. "But it is a very exciting time right now for this in electronic music."
Despite their shadowy existence as faceless figures behind the label, they aren't an insular group, with the collective constantly looking for new artists to work with. "We listen to all the demos people send," the voice crackles on the other end of the line. "Some very unexpected places are into the same music as us, and that's exciting."
Listing pioneers like Robert Görl, Nina Hagen and Gina Kikoine as "dream" collaborators, Ombra International are planning 2018 releases from vicious live duo The Postmodernism Forms, as well as post-punk from Chiang Mai-based act XSSXSS. There will be original music and remixes from Theus Mago, Il Est Vilaine, Arthur Johnson, Skelesys, Holographic Planes, Curses, Forty Fings Dynamo, Csk and more, as well as their own party series exploring non-club spaces in Berlin starting in Spring.
The mysterious voice on the other end of the line claims responsibility for the mix, and packs a whopping 33 tracks into Podcast 77, describing it as focusing on the label's influences whilst looking to the future. "The 70s and 80s weirder disco and new wave have a big influence on the sound we gravitate towards," the muffled voice concludes before hanging up the phone.
Listen to Ombra International's DJ Mag Podcast below and check out the tracklist underneath the stream.
Ombra International DJ Mag Podcast 77 tracklist:
1. Veneno 'Atención Especial' [Ombra INTL - 2017]
2. Семь Ножей (Seven Knives) 'Потерянные Образы (Lost Images)' [Ombra INTL/Mange_Moi 2018]
3. Meander 'The Missing Brazilians' [On-U Sound - 1984]
4. Hai Samurai 'Tony Carey' [X Records - 1982]
5. Seacrypt 'Edge of Time' [Katabatik - 2012]
6. Sutja Gutierrez 'Great Chain of Being' [Ombra INTL - 2018]
7. Tones On Tail 'When You're Smiling' [Situation Two - 1982]
8. Cannibal Ink 'La Haine' [Ombra INTL - 2017]
9. Morphine 'Let's Take a Trip Together' [Light In The Attic - 1993]
10. TONE SET 'He's Got A Little Dog' [Weizenheimer - 1982]
11. K-Effect 'Semantic' [Ombra INTL - 2017]
12. John Cooper Clarke 'Evidently Chickentown' [Epic - 1980]
13. Suicide 'Wild in Blue' [Wax Trax! - 1988]
14. C.A.R. 'Cholera' [Ransom Note - 2018]
15. Passions 'Endless' [Dead Wax - 2015]
16. Bagarrue Perdue 'Cowboy' [Ombra INTL - 2018]
17. Unknown artist 'Holding Thorns' [White Label 12" - 2018]
19. Csk 'Boogy Moody (Cisky Vibe Mix)' [Ombra INTL 2018]
20. Disco Rootz 'Younger Than Me'
21. John Patter 'Take Away 11' (Calypso)
22. Brian Eno and David Byrne 'The Jezebel Spirit'
22. Personal Feelings (T21 cover) 'Did Virgo (Edit)' (La Dame Noir)
23. Curses 'Neu Dimension' (Ombra INTL)
24. TYU 'Girasol' (Curses Extended Remix) [Duro - 2018]
25. Naduve '10K from Essaouira'
26. Theus Mago 'Smokey (Arthur Johnson Remix)' [Ombra INTL - 2018]
27. Theus Mago 'Smokey Red Lights' [Ombra INTL - 2018]
28. Olsvangèr 'The New Pollution (KGBK remix)' [Sulk Magic - 2017]
29. VOX LOW 'Some Words Of Faith (Album Version)' [Born Bad - 2018]
30. JP Soul 'Might As Well (Thomass Jackson Remix)' [ROAM - 2018]
31. Mondowski 'Cold Sweat' [Ombra INTL - 2018]
32. Feral Moans 'Soft Kill (Edit)' [ Fast Weapons - 2011]
33. Perel 'Hildegard' [Ombra INTL - 2017]