Not much is known about Joshua Brent, the enigmatic producer from the Isle of Wight whose Schatrax moniker has churned out some of the most functional dance floor classics from the early ’90s. Though he has reared his head few times in this millenia (for a festival gig or the occasional remix), he has managed to stay top of mind for old heads and new collectors alike by reissuing much of his back catalog over the last year.
Schatrax’s Vintage Vinyl series first saw the light of day in 2008 with back-to-back reissues of some of his most timeless tracks. In 2015, the idea was furthered by issuing a series of individually hand stamped, colored vinyl every few months. I’ve managed to add most of these reissues to my collection and while it would be nearly impossible to pick a favorite, I’ve chosen to focus on #3 (Orange) in this week’s Wax Runoff.
Number Three opens up with “Misspent Years”, a timeless and functional track that relies heavily on classic machines, sounds and textures. With some spooky notes scattered throughout the peak, this one will keep it creepy as we approach Halloween. However, what makes “Misspent Years” stand out are its long and drawn out, almost booming bass tones slid underneath the grid-locked percussion. On the flip side we’re given “A Question of Timing”, a chugging house track that could fit just as well into a techno set. With an aggressive bassline that can get lost between the thumps of the thick kick drum, an eerie lead and a chopped vocal sample, this one checks all my boxes. Last, this release closes with “Slumberkings”. Friendlier sounding than the other two on this release, warm Rhodes chords take the lead. Deep and at times spacey, this one is perfect for the late night chill out or after-hours wind down.
With the reach of the reissues spanning so wide, most of these are still available at online retailers, your local shop, or on Discogs for about $10. If you’re looking to add some serious, classic tunes to your collection at a low cost I definitely recommend checking them out.
Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Colin Boardway, of Chicago, is the label manager for Yoruba Records. He has spent the last 10 years developing his sound by digging deep in the bins wherever records are sold.