Profiling the short but sweetly lived UK electronica imprint – ‘deFocus’
Wind the clock back over 20 years to the dawn of the new millennium and a lady by the name of Clair Poulton decided to launch a new imprint under the banner of ‘deFocus’.
Having previously worked for the mighty Rephlex and then headed up Clear from 1994 to 1998, featuring artists such as Plaid, Dr Rockit, Clatterbox, Metamatics and AsOne. Her new project ‘deFocus’ was a clear successor and born with a view to giving a new generation of artists like Esem, Lackluster, CiM, John Tejada and Tim Koch a chance to flex their musical talents for the world to absorb.
Given electronic music was in quite a hole and was waiting for something to happen, Poulton’s mission was open and straightforward in many respects: deFocus was a conduit for new artists to release outstandingly beautiful electronic music. There was no trying to be clever, just sounds that flowed from the heart.
Renowned for her exceptional taste in records and an avid disciple of the Detroit sound – Mixmaster Morris once dubbed her ‘Transmat Girl’, a huge compliment by anyone’s standards given his musical persona and stature at the time. As with everything she was involved with, her love for music travelled well beyond the borders of Electronica – reflected in the many shades and sounds that emanated from the projects she helped release, embracing Hip Hop, House, Garage, Jazzy Brokenbeat, Hardcore alongside a variety of Downtempo flavours.
Fast forward to today’s landscape and one thing is abundantly clear: the influence and sound of Artificial Intelligence era electronic music still holds itself head and shoulders above so many other short lived fads and fashions. Whilst DeFocus may have only existed over a short period of time from 2000 to 2002, it left us with an enviable catalogue of music which deserves closer attention. All tinged with top-notch production and smooth rhythms that brought to the fore the talents of the likes of CiM and John Tejeda to wider audiences. At a time where many a head was searching for something pure and simple, the label has certainly left its mark.