The Raining Heart – Raining Heart
From The Raining Heart – Raining Heart / Alien Beat
Released on Fog Records, 1986, Germany

If you have ever been digging in record shops in Germany, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered records released on Fog Records, A Frankfurt-based label whose records have a distinctive blue label with Fog written in the most-impressive typographic style. If you investigated in more depth the label, you might also have realized that, not only are there only a small number of records released but some of them are reissues of British or Swedish dance-oriented records.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t put Fog Records in the same category than the one of microscopic labels whose releases may be mistakenly called « private presses ». Indeed, it’s not really rare to stumble across one of the few records released on Fog in Germany.

We have an interesting case here: a label with a few original releases and a few reissues, mostly dance-oriented and that seemed to have been quite well distributed in West Germany in the mid-1980’s. What was the aim of such a label ?

Nowadays, it seems that most labels aim at reaching the widest audience possible, worldwide if they can, even in the case they would be showcasing a local scene. But what about Fog Records? It’s a personal interpretation but I would argue that the people at Fog were rather trying to target a local scene , pressing foreign records that would have been hard to purchase domestically.  Occasionally, they would associate with a local musician – Peter Heckmann, for example – and produce a record whose artworks would be taken care of by another guy – Nicolas Vaissiliev – who did all the artworks for the label.

I’m definitely not being nostalgic of a pre-Internet era when labels were targeting a specific scene of DJ’s and listeners, but rather trying to figure out the pros and cons of local distribution. I’m glad to be able to have access to music produced all over the world today, but I’m always puzzled by structures – labels or other distributing entities  – that neglect the context in which the music they (re)issued was born and was first being played.  Not only might it feels rude for the musicians but also I’m certain that our understanding of the context plays a big part in our appreciation of the music itself, may it be its historical context or, more mundanely, where and when we hear it (at a party for example). A label like Fog had no purpose to explain where the records they reissued were born, but at least, retrospectively, it give us a peep into what was being played by DJ’s in a specific place and era.

I think the music on The Raining Heart, a Peter Heckmann production, speaks for itself, and the reasons why I love it might be obvious for those who’re acquainted with the music promoted on Okonkole Y Trompa, and especially our fascination for Moments In Love‘s epigones…

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