Glasgow Underground Recordings is a house music record label owned by Kevin McKay.
Alongside Atlantic Jaxx, Glasgow Underground has been the UK’s strongest outlet for new, dynamic House since its formation in 1996. Kevin McKay’s small imprint is doing more, and better, than most other British labels to see Deep House as an international underground network. Guitars ripple and soothe whilst the distinctively globular production, warm and wide, adds to the feeling that this is a unified vision of House.
The label’s first release, “Just a Mood” (1996) by Studio Blue (McKay and Andy Carrick), defined the tone immediately, its widescreen guitar so thickly enshrined in distant gazes that it carried listeners into a personal state. The other most potent highlights so far come from British House’s two most feted young producers, DJQ and 16B. Q’s “The Original Porn King” (1997) may lift its riff from an old funk tune, but Q tweaked and phased a piece that floated between faint oriental strings and an addictive bass-line that moved with a simple regularity.
Working with Mackay as Sixteen Souls, Omid Nourizadeh (aka 16B) surpassed his more acclaimed solo work, and, with the brilliant “Late Night Jam” (1997), created a minor masterpiece. Stripped to the essential its melody was a tickle in the upper register. It was a prime example of the hugely addictive qualities of Glasgow Underground’s oeuvre. In 1998 the label released two critically acclaimed 4am specialities: full-length albums from Powder Productions (Pipe Dreams) and Daniel Ibbotson (Stream Lines), both mixing deep grooves and warm melodies. Other artists on the label include Mateo & Matos and Romanthony, who released Instinctual in 1999.
Based around artists like Muzique Tropique, Sixteen Souls, DJQ and Studio Blue, Glasgow Underground fused the hot rhythms found in city clubs like the Sub Club and the Arches with live musicianship and classic production.
The aim was to create 21st century disco music for DJs and music fans alike. Before long, like-minded artists were brought on as the label expanded.
Renowned US producers like Romanthony and Mateo and Matos were drafted in to add their inimitable styles to the roster. Although that¹s not to say that homegrown talent was neglected.
The cream of the UK house scene was recruited and artists like the Idjut Boys, Daniel Ibbotson and Powder Productions added their own unique flare to the Glasgow Underground cocktail. Album artists developed and a clear purpose became apparent. Solid club-rocking twelve inch releases for DJs and considered long-players for the post-clubbing experience.
DJ Magazine stated – as they made new Glasgow Underground signing Small Pyramids’ “I Want Blood” on of their singles of the year – “It sure feels good to have them back. Kevin McKay’s Glasgow Underground label has been revived in 2011, and luckily, his impeccable taste and A&R skills remain intact.” (2011)