That unimaginable wellspring of curiosity known as Pepe Deluxé, and its chairmen James Spectrum and Paul Malmström, would not have been appointed professors of madness at Oxford University by DJ Food were it not for the support of their long time label, Catskills Records. For the past two decades, equally as long as Pepe has been around, the feline imprint helmed by Brighton brothers Amr Mallassi and Khalid Mallassi has tirelessly supported music on the fringes of the dancefloor, coming up during the peak of trip-hop and big beat end evolving through folktronica, future funk, mutant pop, and anywhere else inspiration may take them.
Tragically, like so many fine independent labels, most of Catskills’ back catalogue melted away during the infamous Sony/PIAS warehouse fire of 2011. That kind of setback might have crushed the moral of lesser men, but these guys always push forward. Indeed, their legacy has been preserved by a celebratory compilation titled 20 Years of Victory. It’s a kaleidoscopic cornucopia of unbridled creativity, pressed to a fabulously appointed triple-gatefold, coloured vinyl or double-CD adorned with a madcap artwork from Ante Kemppainen (Angry Birds) and Tero Ahonen portraying the origins of the label in a Star Wars-ian fashion comparable to Mr. Burns’ infamous Springfield Film Festival contribution, ‘A Burns for All Seasons.’
The compilation features 25 tracks in a myriad of genres, while the vinyl adds a bonus rarity from the Pepe Deluxé archives called “That Track!,” which fell into an abyss of bootleg obscurity soon after its release in 1999 from whence it has finally surfaced for the benefit of humankind. Also included in this collection are two exclusive new works that reach for the future: “My Shelter” by emotionally resonant pop aficionados Husky Rescue and “Go Girl Go” by the aforementioned Pepe, the latter of which PopMatters is proud to premiere.
“Go Girl Go” captures some of the retro-pop magic of “Go Supersonic” from Pepe Deluxé’s 2012 masterpiece Queen of the Wave. The track’s cheerleader vocals announce its title with the help of a Speak & Spell, while the intricacy of the clap punctuated, guitar gnarling, drum beat dropping, organ laden instrumental is matched only by its eccentricity. The track is touted as a breezy throwback to the collective’s roots in big beat and trip-hop, except for the important distinction that it contains no samples, though they have gone to their usual drastic lengths to ensure that it sound as though it does. No one else goes this far out there and takes these kinds of risks to entertain you.
Those looking to return the favor and support Catskills’ continued madness can pick up 20 Years of Victory on November 25th, but all are invited to experience “Go Girl Go” today, as hosted below.