Run by Ron Morelli out of Brooklyn, NYC, Long Island Electrical Systems puts out records by tried and tested mad men like Legowelt as well as new school spectacles like Svengalisghost, Steve Moore, Delroy Edwards and joint ventures such as Two Dogs In A House. Preserving and caring for vinyl culture, the music and ethos of L.I.E.S. equally embraces the politics of Chicago house, punk’s DIY, noise rock, modular synth dreams, smart art school moves and gut reactions.
Several dozen releases in, most of the records in L.I.E.S.’ catalog look pretty much identical—colored labels and plain white sleeves, distinguished only by artist name, song title and the starkly iconic L.I.E.S. logo, its perspectival block letters inspired by a reggae cover. There’s a minor stylistic flourish in the form of a silhouetted map of Long Island, but for the most part, the records present themselves with the sort of functional simplicity that ensures that you might not notice them unless you’re directly seeking them out.
Some of the artists on the label’s roster—like New York multi-instrumentalist and film composer Steve Moore, and Holland-based producer Legowelt—were already pretty big names in their respective worlds before they released records on L.I.E.S. But the label also has a sturdy stable of previously little-known beatsmiths whose tireless home recording has found a match with Morelli’s knack for rapidly cranking out releases. Most of them are Brooklyn-based, but a map of the L.I.E.S. community would extend as far west as Los Angeles (Delroy Edwards), as far south as Miami (Greg Beato), and as far east as Paris (Svengalisghost), The Hague (the couple Legowelt and Xosar) and Wiesbaden, Germany (Florian Kupfer). Many of the label’s artists, like Bushwick musician Matt Gardner, who produces scuffed-up, melodic house under the Alias Terekke, had never found a home for their music before L.I.E.S. Almost all of them report being surprised by the particular material in their repertoire that Morelli seemed to be jazzed on. “A lot of the peo-ple on the label are doing live Techno, live synthesizer music, and that feeling comes out on the records,” says Matt Morandi, aka Brooklyn-based L.I.E.S. artist Jahiliyya Fields. “It sounds less like a painting that someone would make at home, where they’re constructing a track over several months and tweaking all these little things, and it sounds more like something that happens in real time.”
Next to a commercial electronic music scene governed by the values of danceability and clarity of signal, L.I.E.S. releases stand out for their spontaneity and playfulness, their flippant disregard for club polish.