No label uncovers the rarities of Switzerland quite like Quartz Records. By Swiss artists and for Swiss artists, the imprint has built a roster of promising talent who share a future-forward approach to electronic music.
Celebrated as it may be, Zurich’s longstanding nightlife traditions can often overshadow some of the city’s more experimental styles. By honing in on a decidedly Swiss signature sound that exhibits elements of downtempo, ambient, R&B and future bass, however, Quartz is doing its part to gradually redefine the city’s musical identity.
Quartz Records was founded in 2016 by a DJ and producer named Uidá Santos who is perhaps best known by his stage name, Dorian. This is not the first time he’s challenged the status quo, either. A prolific DJ and promoter, he performed UK house at Streetparade’s Future Sound Stage in 2014 – at a time when others were preoccupied with deep house.
For that reason, the skepticism of his peers did not dissuade him from pursuing his new endeavor. He saw the community of artists around him for the unpolished gems that they were, and sought to provide for them a platform by which their music could reach worldwide audiences.
In fact, Dorian conceived of Quartz Records after convincing his longtime friend and collaborator, Sensu, to branch out from hip-hop and explore electronic music. He promised her that once she finished an EP he would release it on a new label. After being featured on the YouTube channel TheSoundYouNeed, her productions caught the attention of the Australian label Future Classic, affording her the opportunity to open up for Ta-Ku during his 2016 performance in Zurich. That marked the point in which Dorian knew that he had unearthed something precious indeed.
Nonetheless, from the very beginning it was important to Dorian that his label operated more as a family than a simple business venture. After signing the first handful of artists, he invited them to dinner at his residence in Zurich to explain the Quartz Records vision. In doing so, he fostered a genuineness in the brand that continues to reverberate through its releases.
The elusive Quartz sound is best encapsulated by the label’s 2017 debut EP. Featuring songs by the original six signees – Sensu, Cella, Andast, Joseph Le Bleu, Modolo and Dorian himself – the compilation gives electronic music fans an idea of what to expect from the imprint in the years to follow.
Serene melodies and intelligent rhythms define what has coalesced into a style that could prove to be one of Zurich’s chief musical exports in the post-EDM global market. Suffice it to say, anyone who cues up the songs on the compilation may not be prepared for the rare musical journey on which they’re about to embark.
Following the release of Sensu’s aforementioned EP as well as a similar effort by Cella, Quartz Records continues to reinvent the electronic music of Zurich. Pay close attention to this promising new collective as this movement comes into its own on a global scale.