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Trying to trace a common thread between all things Lapsus - a record label, radio show and party series which first emerged in 2004 - can be difficult. “It’s almost like the UK hardcore continuum dipping its toes in the Mediterranean sea”, laughs founder Albert Salinas. Across its vastly varied discography and sub-label ventures, the main constant has been the label’s unwaveringly high level of quality control. Lapsus combines avant-garde electronics with an intrinsically human touch, meticulous levels of detailing and colourful musical progression, with a tendency within its tracks to never sit still.

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Lapsus began as a small rave in Barcelona in 2004. Its first crowd of 50 attendees multiplied steadily, leading up to the foundation of their first two-day festival in 2008. Shortly afterwards, Albert began working in CD.Drome, a beloved and sadly now-closed local record shop that provided him with a regular flux of music to take inspiration from, and the industry proximity to finetune the idea of his own label.

After sending out a couple of demos with no response under his Wooky alias, Lapsus was born on new year's day 2010 with his own The Ark 12”. Its tempo-transcending stride and hazey braindance melodies would’ve sat perfectly alongside Planet Mu’s output at the time. The blueprint for Lapsus had been laid down, with an adventurous spirit embedded in its DNA.

“My main influences back in the day were Warp Records, Rephlex, Planet Mu and so on” Albert says. “They are always changing and they don’t care about direction, it’s more of an impulse. It’s the same for Lapsus.”

A connection was forged early on with Josep Basora, a visual artist and head of design studios in Barcelona, to lead the aesthetic direction of the label.

Records soon followed by fellow Barcelona residents Gros and Pina, plus a remix EP of The Ark featuring bRUNA, Point B, Gros & Pablo Bolivar. From the get-go, Lapsus was intent on showcasing artists from a city with an underrated experimental scene; often overlooked despite the global recognition of festivals like Sonar and Primavera. Pina is a fitting example of this - now most often working in a mixing and mastering capacity, his Lapsus debut Onda Corta is glitched-out, restless techno and electro hybrids of impeccable quality.

Lapsus’ own radio show began broadcasting on Spain’s Radio 3 station in 2014 and continues to this day, with renowned music writer Philip Sherburne joining the lineup a few years ago. In the same year, their reputation had grown to the point of being able to include names like Plaid, Kelpe, Etch and Sau Poler on the track list of the V/A compilation DEU. Tracing back, 2014 seems something of a turning point for Lapsus. That same year they also launched a larger festival (culminating in a 3 part event in 2019, one of them in partnership with Unsound), as well as heading up the artistic direction for Barcelona club Laut.

From 2016 onwards, a marked upturn in releases began. Kicking off with the UK hardcore deconstructionist workings of Etch, a first release from Scottish analog master and label regular Pye Corner Audio followed, along with work from NTS resident Lawson Benn and more from Wooky himself.

Come 2017, C.E.E. was born, aka Club Excursionista de l’Electrònica - a fictional cultural entity based loosely on a Catalan tradition of Sunday outings into the cleansing arms of nature. In non-fictional terms, it is the club-focused arm of Lapsus, showcasing wicked deep dancefloor cuts from Moiré, Airaboi, Pliny (an alias of Spain-based UK export James Welsh) and Legowelt. Nothing in the Lapsus back catalogue is ever loopy or repetitive, no 16 bars the same.

Even in these intentionally DJ-friendly tracks there’s a fervent feeling of motion and progression. Throughout the Lapsus discography at large, there’s a melodic and emotive glow navigating the ear, even in the sparse or more mechanistic moments. “We’re Mediterranean, we’re okay with showing emotion,” Albert says. “We don’t wanna hide it.”

Following fresh work from Pina and Gacha Bakradze’s Word Colour LP, 2018 also saw the inauguration of the Perennial Series - a sub-series within Lapsus rather than a sub-label itself. Its focus is on rescuing, remastering and reissuing gems from the recent past on vinyl for the first time, as well as including previously unreleased music as an added bonus. Each one comes in a brown sleeve with a hand stamped label and high quality insert. Basora sticks closely to the original design aesthetic meaning each cover is a faithful reinterpretation of the original vision - a remaster, rather than a replacement.

The eighth and ninth editions of the Perennial series arrive this summer, with Ed Chamberlain’s 03/06 out in May and Gimmik’s Slow Motion Process landing in July. This will then be followed by a big favourite of Albert in the form of Ochre’s Lemodie, a wonderfully melancholic gem of 00’s electronica.

One of the other personal highlights for Albert in the Lapsus discography is the EEDL record Unstored. Having something of a cult status in Spain’s electronic music lore and the wider European scene, EEDL were a massive influence on him in his earlier years. They’d been on something of a hiatus since their last record in 2007, so an opportunity to explore and share their archives was a personal coup for Albert. “This record was made up of unreleased work. I’m super proud as I’ve been a fan since back in the day and it was a pleasure to release their stuff.”

2020 and the Covid era seems to have only strengthened Lapsus’ commitment to innovation. Their fifth V/A Quinze features Telefon Tel Aviv, Johanna Knutsson, Leif, Karen Gwyer and many more luminaries of boundary-probing electronica. Take ‘Snickers’ from Wordcolour’s recent Tell Me Something EP - it sets out with the sonic palette of a retro-futurist urban planning video, monorails and all, before segueing into ultra-tight, sub-heavy microfunk littered with vocal fragments. It’s atmospheric, quirky, and it absolutely bangs.

Pye Corner Audio rounded out 2020 with the Black Mill Tapes 10th Anniversary Edition - a massive 5-vinyl collection of his alluringly cinematic machine conjurings coming with a 12 page booklet of his photography. He followed this up shortly after with Black Mill Tapes Volume 5, available on blue vinyl exclusively at Bleep.

2021 for Lapsus has so far featured the Obscure Languages LP by the ever-impressive Gacha Bakradze, plus Shek O’s Bancha - a super tight and crackly beat abstractions in the Milles Plateaux or Jan Jelinek mould.

Up next comes Bristolian Delay Grounds, an artist embodying the evergreen creative energy and genre cross-pollination of the city who recently contributed to the Pressure Dome series. His Genus EP combines the hi-def sound design of Clark with the innovative bass-centric approach of new school producers like Minor Science. “With guys like Delay Grounds, you can hear a hundred stories in a single track”, Albert says, this intensive approach to the finer details being very much a trademark feature of a Lapsus tune.

This summer also sees the inception of new label Balmat (meaning ‘empty’ or ‘void’ in Catalan) in conjunction with Philip Sherburne. For 001, the UK’s Luke Sanger delivers a collection of ambient vignettes akin to a treasured new age library record, presented in an ultra slick sleeve provided by Josep Basora &** José Quintanar**.

This raft of new records and label ventures show that Lapsus remains intent on chartering its own course. Their trademark form of deeply considered, forever dynamic and diverse sonic adventures look set to keep surprising us for a good while yet.

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