The East of Culture- Different Sounds Art’n’Music Festival, which this year is part of the celebrations of 700th anniversary of granting Magdeburg rights to Lublin, always makes an effort to showcase extraordinary record labels. The presentation of record labels is an essential part of the festival.  This year, we are featuring the legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs.

The label has been in operation for over 35 years and has become recognised worldwide as one of the best, most boundary-breaking labels. Even though it is based in Brussels, Crammed Discss does not focus only on Belgian or European music. On the contrary, it puts out a wide range of music, beginning  from world music through rock, jazz, new wave, post-punk and contemporary electronic music. The label features musicians from all over the world and its rich roster, comprising over 350 titles, includes bands from Asia, Africa, the Americas or various parts of Europe.

In the international music market, Crammed Discs is recognised as one of the most boundary-breaking, adventurous and involved music labels. Over time, it developed its own thematic sub-labels focusing, among others, on new Brazilian music or niche electronic music.

As part of Crammed Discs’s presentation, at exclusive concerts in Poland, we will have an opportunity to hear five performers signed with the label. American new wave is going to be represented by the iconic Tuxedomoon. We will travel to Africa together with the sensational Kasai Allstars feat.Basokin while the Dutch Skip&Die will offer a dance set featuring very dynamic, lively music. A real treat for the fans of the label will undoubtedly be the concert to be given by the band fronted by the director and founder of the label Marc Hollander - Aksak Maboul, the legends of Belgian counterculture of the 1980s. The band will perform together with Veronique Vincent and feature a guest appearance by Aquaserge. The young French band will also perform their own sets as Aquaserge’s gig will complete the showcase of Crammed Discs.

The label’s presentation programme:

Aquaserge - 6 July 2017 /  19:30 / The Tent Stage, Lublin Castle Błonia
Veronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul – 6 July 2017 / 21:15/ The Tent Stage, Lublin Castle Błonia
Skip & Die 6 July 2017 / 23:00 / The Tent Stage, Lublin Castle Błonia
Kasai Allstars feat. Basokin 7 July 2017 / 19:00 / The Błonia Stage, Lublin Castle błonia
Tuxedomoon – 7 July 2017 / 21:00 / The Błonia Stage


Crammed Discs –exhibition presenting the iconic Belgian label

As part of the presentation of the label, aside from music, we will also have many extra attractions, such as exhibitions, film screenings or meetings. The festival tent in Błonia will feature around 50 covers of vinyl records from the catalogues of Crammed Discs.  Moreover, we will present boards showcasing the most important performers and personalities in the history of the label and all this will be accompanied by a special exhibition presenting the achievements of Honeymoon Killers and Aksak Maboul.

Film screenings will include 5 pictures: the story of Crammed iDscs, materials relating to Aquaserge, Tuxedomoon and Skip & Die as well as a film about the historyy of Congrotronics.
5-9  July 2017 / 12:00-1:00 / Festival club, Lublin Castle Błonia and Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a 

Between vision and consequence. How to survive 36 years in the European music market? – a discussion about the Belgian label Crammed Discs / Participants: Marc Hollander and Hanna Gorjaczkowska (directors and founders of the label), moderator: Rafał Księżyk (music journalist, co-creator of the label presentation module for East of Culture- Different Sounds). 
6 July 2017/ 18:00-19:30 / Festival Club, Lublin Castle Błonia

Event supported by Délégation Wallonie-Bruxelles à Varsovie


Rafał Księżyk, music journalist, about Crammed Discs:

There is no other record label like Crammed Discs.

36 years of continued publishing activity and 350 released albums whilst maintaining full independent and uncompromising artistic profile are unprecedented achievements. It is worth adding that over all these years, the label has started many influential trends, discovered new music and supported rising stars who have become big names. Putting together avant-garde rock, electronic music and authentic world music, compositional vision and underground vibe, Crammed Discs foretold what contemporary music would be like as early as the 1980s.

The impetus for the label’s phenomenon lies in its roots. Crammed Discs has been established and run by musicians and enthusiasts; it has been operating in Brussels on the peripheries of dominant Anglo-American music and at the crossroads where Europe is in touch with the rest of the world.  Crammed Discs was initiated by Marc Hollander, the front man of Aksak Maboul, the Belgian band that blurred the borders between genres and as early as the end of the 1970s predicted the aesthetics that would be realised by the label in the coming years. Hollander has remained responsible for the label’s repertoire and from the start he has been accompanied by his partner from Aksak Maboul – Vincent Kenis, one of the most significant producers of African music as well as Polish-born Hanna Gorjaczkwska who is responsible for the company’s operations, from promotion to distribution.

In the 1980s, the company’s flagship bands featured new wave innovators, the iconic multimedia band Tuxedomoon and Minimal Compact, fusing cold wave with the music of the Middle East.  The label’s most adventurous and boundary-breaking venture of the time were the first editions of African music. In 1986, long before Ethio-jazz became popular, they presented, for the very first time, the Ethiopian music giant, Mahmoud Ahmed. They also released albums of the duet Zazou Bikave, a fusion of Afro-electro. It was also a ground breaking release for Hector Zazou, to later become a famous producer, whose recordings for Crammed Discs included a big hit “Sahara Blue”, an album inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry. In 1991, Crammed released the debut album of the future world music megastar Zap Mama, inaugurating the ethnic music-focused sublabel Cramworld. The next stars of Cramworld were the sensational gipsyy orchestras: Taraf de Haidouks and Koçani Orkestar.

At the same time, in 1984, Crammed run an extraordinary series “Made to Measure” that featured over 40 albums with instrumental music, presenting the compositional and experimental characteristics of new wave artists. The series included recordings of such performers as Brion Gysin, John Lurie (famous soundtracks for Jarmusch’s films), Fred Frith, Arto Lindsay, Hector Zazou, Josef Can Wissem, Tuzedomoon and Durutti Column.

In the 1990s, Crammed rode on the boom of techno music and established dedicated sublabels that scouted for gems in such genres as house, ambient and drum&bass. The electronic sublabel SSR became one of the most significant European institutions of new electronica. Its most important discovery was the debut album, of drum&bass pioneers 4-Hero and a series of iconic compilations containing ambient and downtempo music that launched the careers of such future stars as Kruder & Dorfmeister or  Matthew Herbert.   At that time, Crammed has club music-dedicated sublabels: Paris-based Langiage and Selector in London

In 1998, Crammed launched another sublabel, Ziriguiboom whose mission was to present new musc from Brazil. It helped to launch worldwide fame for such performers such as Bebel Gilberto, Cibelle, Suba, Zuco 103 or  DJ Dolores.

Bebel Gilberto’s album Tanto Tempo” turned out to be Crammed Discs’ biggest bestseller and it hit over a million sold copies. At the same time, Crammed fished for fresh sounds in thise regions of the world that they had been observing for a long time. It promoted new dance music from the Balcans represented by such stars as Shantel and Balkan Beat Box, and music from Congo.  In the second decade of the following century “Congotronics” series featuring urban Congo music was a real hit. The series featured music by Konono N°1 and Kasai Allstars,  the pioneers of unique sounding electronic likembe and giants of world music.

Personalities from all over the world are among the most important performers recording for Crammed Discs today and they include the Argentinian Juan Molin,  the Lebanese Yasmine Hamdan, the Portuguese Lula Pena, the French band Aquaserge and the Dutch/South American band Skip & Die. .

The label’s presentation at this year’s East of Culture – Different Sounds will feature the creme de la creme of the label’s achievements.  The stage will see such classic stars as Aksak Maboul with Veronique Vincent and Tuxedomoon, whereas the modern face of the label will be introduced by Aquaserge and their sophisticated experimental pop,  Skip &Die and their explosive mix of dane music, fusing electronica and funk as well as South American and African myths. On top of that, we will experience a trance concert by Kasai Allstars feat. Basokin, the hottest “Congotronics” band that inspired the director Alain Gomis to create the film “Félicité”. In 2017, the film featuring the music and appeareance by Kasai Allstars won Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.  The gigs will be accompanied by Crammed Discs’ album fair and a meeting with the label’s directors, Marc Hollander and Hanna Gorjaczkowska .

Rafał Księżyk

Co-author of the label’s presentation module at East of Culture – Different Sounds

Rafał Księżyk (b.1970) – music journalist and critic. Since the early 1990s he co-created the character of the nascent music and popcultural press. The co-author of Tomasz Stańko’s autobiography “Desperado” (2010), Robert Brylewski’s “Kryzys w Babilonie” (2012), Tymon Tymański’s  “ADHD” (2013) and Kazik Staszewski’s “Idę tam gdzie idę” (2015). The author of the essay “23 cięcia dla William S.Burroughsa” (2013). The editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine. He wrote about music for such magazines as “Brum”, “Machina”, “JazzForm”