They're aren't many labels as solid and reliable as Jamie 'Jimpster' Odell's Freerange. A UK motherlode for lush deep house grooves, this imprints modus operandi is one based on keeping it classy. Whether it's stuff primed for peak-time, funky for the warm-up or stripped backed for the early hours, Freerange — much like its sister Delusions of Grandeur — is always debonair.
Started as a pop-up vehicle for his own output back in the mid-'90s, it went onto serve as a home for his most prized work — the rich, textured melodica of tunes like 'Sleeper', 'Dangly Panther' and 'Alsace & Lorraine' — while simultaneously making its name as a pioneering source of silky house with a prolific selection from the likes of Pezzner, Shur-i-kan, Milton Jackson, Tony Lionnii and Manuel Tur, among others, during the '00s.
Since the turn of the century Freerange has continued along the same vein whilst revving things up with iconic dancefloor moments like KiNK's remix of 'Porchlight & Rocking Chairs' last year, party tunes from Detroit Swindle and break-out artists such as Soul of Hex.
Celebrating its 20th year of deep house excellence with a limited edition five-vinyl package this month — featuring exclusive new tunes from KiNK, Detroit Swindle, Kito Jempere alongside others and the main-man himself — Freerange is not only a distinguished UK representative of the deep house old guard, it's as fresh as ever.
Where and how did it start?
“We started Freerange in June '96 with a loan from my mother-in law which enabled us to press up our first vinyl release. That release was my 'Initial EP' which was a three-tracker made while I was living in Manchester studying music at Salford University.”
Who’s behind it?
“Myself and my best mate Tom Roberts. We'd often spoken about trying to start a label as we were both buying a lot of records and I'd already had a few releases on London label Jumpin' & Pumpin' and had started DJing at a few parties.”
Who have you released?
“Hanna, Switch, Manuel Tur, Shur-I-Kan, Kirk Degiorgio, Stimming, Lovebirds, Andre Lodemann, Tony Lionni, Detroit Swindle, Hyenah, Pittsburgh Track Authority, Justin Jay, Clavis, Soul Of Hex and too many more to mention!”
Who’s playing it?
“We're lucky to have an esteemed group of regular supporters including Ame, Joe Claussell, Deetron, Tom Trago, Bill Brewster, Dennis Ferrer, &Me, Steve Bug.”
Proudest Freerange moment?
“There have been many moments when I've felt like pinching myself to make sure it's happening but one that comes to mind is myself and Milton Jackson playing a Freerange Showcase at Sonar By Night to five thousand revellers in 2008. It felt like getting the stamp of approval from the world-renowned festival and was extra fun because a big group of friends and all the Freerange crew were there to enjoy it with me.”
“We're marking our 20th anniversary with a limited edition five-vinyl boxset featuring all exclusive tracks from the likes of. KiNK, Detroit Swindle, Andre Lodemann and Clavis. We've also got plenty of 20 years parties lined up in Berlin, Hamburg, LA, Philadelphia and Leeds to name a few.”
Ethyl & Flori 'Tanqueray'
“The deepest, fattest, grooviest slice of house you're likely to come across from two very talented and underrated producers.”
Nitzan & Lasimo 'Placetum'
'Spaced-out, minimal Detroit house with a bubbling acid bassline that sounds killer on a big system.”
Sai 'A La Carte'
“Another deep Detroit-tinged techno jam with lush atmospherics and a rolling groove that never fails to hypnotise the dancefloor.”
Jimpster 'Porchlight And Rocking Chairs (KiNK Remix)'
“It's KiNK. It's an ecstasy inducing anthem. Nuff said.”
“This is probably my most played track from the Freerange catalogue. It came out in 2010 and still gets a great reaction today with its high-energy piano stabs, intense synths and solid drums.”