When you first discover an EP that fits this description on the enigmatic Sain label it takes a while before you successfully identify its original country of origin – is it Turkish? Is it Hungarian? No it’s Welsh!!! With the sleeve being strictly devoid of any English language, you can’t quite figure out if its a private-press or the results of a community music project. This is record collector nirvana, until you find another Sain record and this is where the addictive gene takes hold…
A Sain EP has all the unique and exotic trappings of a French pop EP so the fact that it was comparatively manufactured in a skimming stone’s distance of your local record shop is almost unbelievable. The added fact that the label itself has a political history not dissimilar to your favourite Brazilian or Turkish records is another surprise. On further inspection you realise that Sain could arguably be the longest running, self-styled, British contemporary, independent record label to exist in our lifetime AND the fact that its non-conformist ideals predate punk by almost 10 years could surely confirm that Sain records is in fact… the coolest record label to exist ever!!!???
Maybe we should listen to the music first.
Sain’s A&R policy epitomises what an indie label SHOULD act like… without boundaries. You like prog-rock with blueprint trip-hop beats? So did Sain. You like ethereal girl groups with mystical acid folk overtones? So did Sain. You like psychedelic rock operas based on druidism and witchcraft? So did Sain. How about a radical Welsh answer to ‘The Grumbleweeds’ with a fat-ass 4/4 hip-hop breakbeat that’s been sampled by either Cut Chemist or DJ Cashmoney? Er… so did Sain. Do you like Farmers and male voice choirs? Me neither. But Sain did.
Andy Votel discovered Welsh music by mistake… (so did Cherrystones, Lee Brady and Doug Shipton). Gruff Rhys (from Super Furry Animals) has never been able to escape from it. Over the past 12 months we have attempted to listen to every Welsh rare record ever made looking for the ‘perfect beat’ on your behalf… so that’s why we have called the first of our new Welsh music compilations (to coin a John McCready Phrase) “WELSH – RARE – BEAT”.