SOME OF the most classic dance records of the past two decades are set to come into fresh focus for a new generation. Deconstruction Records, the Manchester-based label that gave us records like K Klass’s ‘Rhythm Is A Mystery’, Lionrock’s ‘Packet Of Peace and De’Lacy’s ‘Hideaway’, has just been relaunched by Sony — proof positive that dance music’s resurgent dominance is making the majors take notice again.
Under the guidance of the label’s original founder and current Sony A&R guru Mike Pickering and the Three Six Zero Group’s AnD Press, Deconstruction comes back to life this month with the re-release of Sasha’s deep tranced-out ’99 classic ‘Xpander’, which comes with a host of new interpretations. September, meanwhile, will see the repackaging of Lionrock’s classic ‘Packet Of Peace’ from 1993 complete with the seminal block rockin’ Chemical Brothers remix. Until now, none of the label’s tracks have been available in digital form.
“I don’t think there was one particular catalyst, it was more down to people like myself pushing and pushing from the inside,” explains former Hacienda resident Pickering on the return.
“Once me and Three Six Zero sat down with Sony and showed them how easy it was to go to the likes of Beatport and get this stuff out of there, they were sold.
“The whole digital era is something that arrived in dance culture a while ago but I don’t think the majors have really thought about it enough until now. There’s little risk involved.”
Originally founded in 1989, the Deconstruction label rose to rave prominence on a string of digit-raising, chart penetrating piano house anthems such as K Klass’s ‘Rhythm Is A Mystery’, Bassheads’ ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ and Hyper Go Go’s ‘High’, as well as housing Pickering’s own hugely successful M People outfit.
By the mid-’90s, the label had been picked up by major BMG where it was responsible for breaking some of the biggest underground records to the mass markets.
In 1996 alone Deconstruction managed to penetrate the UK Top 40 with the uncompromising loop-funk techno of Dave Clarke’s ‘Southside’, break the Top 20 with tracks like Way Out West’s epic tranced-out breakbeat classic ‘The Gift’ and Sasha & Maria’s ‘Be As One’, as well as scoring a No.2 hit with the dream-house of Robert Miles’s ‘Children’.
A label best remembered for marrying underground credibility and diversity with an open-minded attitude towards pop — something best highlighted by the critically acclaimed dance-pop of Kylie’s ‘Confide In Me’, produced by Brothers In Rhythm — the label aims to carry these values into its new era.
“I hate barriers — what is the difference between dance underground and dance pop anyway?” questions Mike. “From my experience with M People we were the coolest thing around until we started filling theatres and then all of a sudden we were pop.
“From the days when I worked with The Happy Mondays through to the present A&R’ing stuff like The Ting Tings and Calvin Harris, I’ve always felt the strongest thing about British music culture is that we fuse different genres.”
As well as resurrecting its inestimable discography, Mike and the team will again use Deconstruction as a platform to nurture and develop new album artists, much like it did in its heyday.
“Down the line I want to sign new artists,” he explains. “As an A&R, I’m dealing with both Calvin Harris and The Ting Tings and both of those artists will become part of the Deconstruction imprint.”