The mesmerizing debut compilation, Colors Vol. 1, from Julian Gray’s new art collective, Graydient, is fantastic in its own right. Quantifying this obvious truth are its rankings on Beatport, reaching number one in both electro-house and psy-trance, cracking the top ten in even more categories, and already achieving a number forty three overall. What makes this sixteen-track multi-genre journey truly stand out has nothing to do with the charts, though. The special something apparent in this compilation is the quiet rebellion it represents.
Graydient is not a record label, and this compilation is not a typical collection of a label’s most profitable or danceable tracks. This is a compilation with a message, one that founder Julian wants to be heard loud and clear: “It’s an initiative to perpetuate smaller artists and to break out of the tradition of music labels,” he explains on Graydient’s Instagram. “We’re trying to make more of a musical family, a community around music and creatives in general.”
The creative reach and well-roundedness of Graydient’s vision absolutely shows in the compilation itself. On one end of the diverse spectrum is APER7TURE & 5haus’ "Human Prototype," which feels a bit like you’re in a serial killer’s underground bunker, or, more true to its name, the subject of a twisted science experiment. In just a few short minutes, the song puts you in an entirely new world, which is arguably the most vital thing music should do. Flowing to the other end of the spectrum you will find Watney’s "Bellavista," a taste of sweet morning air and sunlight with a deep-house bass line and melodic synths.
This subversive project defies the way traditional labels operate. “I’ve noticed that record labels are a dime a dozen these days,” Julian points out on Instagram. “I thought it’d be more interesting and more reflective of me as a person if the actual brand was more multi-media.” By taking his personal vision and applying it to a project intended to further not just his own career, but those of other artists, Julian is effectively saying that there’s enough room for everyone at the table, especially if everyone works together.
Tracks by artists on the crest of success, such as GHOST DATA’s deadmau5-derivitave "ANGELIC LAYER," bring a fresh but consistent sound to Colors. "Light Room" by 28mm offers a sexy bass line and perfectly-placed vocals that keep this one upbeat even with the darker elements of the track pervasively threatening to drag you to the techno bunker from whence it surely came. Every track on this compilation was chosen with care and it shows in the fluidity of the listening experience. Colors’ cover art, a handmade acrylic pour, captured the essence of Julian’s vision and perhaps exceeds it. “The final product is even above my expectations,” Julian expressed to me in an email. “Everyone did a fantastic job from both a musical and artistic perspective.” His audience couldn’t agree more. The future is looking nothing but bright for Graydient.