Label Focus – Black Nation Records

Sifting through the catalogue of Jay Denham’s Black Nation Recordings -the Kalamazoo sound

Under the direction of “reaching back to bring you the future”, Jay Denham founded Black Nation Records in 1992. Part of the second generation of Detroit techno pioneers – Jay is definitely one of those figures who deserves far more credit for his role in shaping and pushing the tougher edged “minimal” sound.

A musician, dj, artist and producer from Kalamazoo (Michigan), a city located right in the middle between Chicago and Detroit, through attending Western Michigan University he met and became friends with Anthony Shakir. At the time Shake had a keyboard, Jay a drum machine. It wasn’t long before they started jamming together. His early works captured the attention and ears of Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, who released his first EPs on Fragile and KMS.

He then decided to go his own way and put himself further on the map. Backed by the Mike Banks’ Submerge outfit, Denham set his own course laying down a sound signature that is as fierce, as it is unique. Blending the space between the worlds of Chicago and Detroit with a Kalamazoo twist – Black Nation Records has always stayed true to the underground and its roots. First and foremost, music made for the art of it and with a strong sense of remembering where it’s comes from. Considering Denham’s solid musical background and a taste for punk and New Wave, it’s easy to understand why.

The success of Black Nation relentless sound at the end of the 90s and during the 00s enabled him to move to Europe and set up shop in Munich (Germany) where he worked with Disko B. They gave him carte blanche to express his creativity beyond the sound he was known for at the time and he wrote several albums.

Although the Black Nation and Denham have been quiet of late, it seemed like a fitting time to dig back through the impressive catalogue on offer:

Fade II Black – Tweekin

Psychic Warfare – Racial lines

Blackman – The Collective

Chancellor – Insane

Jay Denham – Time In Motion

Blackman – Fear Of My Own Brother