Versatile 1996 2016 – 20 Years of Music

June 8, 2016

Versatile is celebrating 20 years of music with this double cd compilation and an exclusive vinyl sampler with 4 exclusive tracks

you can order the double cd + digital by clicking here / also available pre-order for the exclusive vinyl sampler 

Between the time when we were hand-stickering our first release (I:Cube – Disco cubizm) in the living room of my former apartment at Rue de la Goutte d’Or and today, 20 years have passed. Twenty years in which I have tried to show inventiveness, perseverance, and… surprise. The surprise comes primarily from the artists, who’ve been my main motivation as well as my source of energy during all this time. I want to thank them all here, first and foremost I:Cube, who was the first to be signed and with whom I now share this selection on this double CD.

Nicolas took care of the first period of the label (1996-2006). He has deliberately excluded certain tracks (Disco cubizm, Sunshine people, Cosmic race) that’ve become “classics” (with hindsight, and in all modesty, I think now is the time I can say it). CD1 represents the spirit of the label during those years very well. From the dark electro of Delit-K (Best before date see base) to the psych-ish jazz from the early days of Château Flight (Autotrak 1), to the disco-ish house of I:Cube back then (Mingus in my pocket), to the African scrollworks of guitarist and singer Diblo Dibala, produced by Château Flight. Right from the start, as the name suggests, I tried to bring eclecticism to the label. Eclecticism inherited from my years at Radio Nova (1991-1996), where my mentors Jean-François Bizot (R.I.P.) and Loik Dury (big up!) opened my musical field forever.

For CD2, I decided instead to select pieces that came out in the last 3 years (with the exception of the chosen Zombie Zombie track, a cornerstone of the label), with artists that had just emerged when I met them (Acid Arab, Jan Schulte, The Maghreban, …). Between the French boogie of New Paradise (taken from the Disco sympathie compilation, done by my dear Vidal Benjamin), the very contemplative music of Versatile’s latest acquisitions (Jonathan Fitoussi and Clemens Hourrière), the fruits of my wanderings in Jordan (King Ghazi), and obviously the latest production of I:Cube, I tried to show where we are today, 20 years after the start of this adventure. It is safe to say that no one is more surprised than me, that we are still going strong.

Gilbert Cohen