Joao Maria is one of those figures contributing to the recent spike in popularity of home-grown Portugese electronic music. A key figure in the Lisbon scene, he is one of the founders of Lisboa Electronica and label manager of Ministerium Records, the in-house label of the club where he is also a resident and booker. On top of all of this, he heads up Assemble Music, a vinyl-only imprint which has released music by industry big hitters such as Ricardo Villalobos, Ion Ludwig and Wolfgang Voigt.
The label specialises in the deeper shades of house, techno and minimal, and will be showcasing its sound at the Assembling day parties starting on July 22nd at Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon. We asked label boss Joao Maria to put together ten pivotal tracks from the label. His choices reflect the label’s ethos: quality house, techno and minimal united by fine production values and solid grooves.
1. Dorian Paic – ‘Excited (Maayan Remix)’
This was the first record on the label so it still has a very special meaning for me. I remember after a gig that I played with Dorian, I told him about the project I had in mind and asked him if he would like to be on board. He liked the idea so he sent me a couple of tracks and he invited Maayan to make the remix. I was over the moon as they are two people I really respect in the music scene. I started playing this remix a lot in my sets lately.
2. Vera – ‘Take Me’
Vera is a good friend and we were planning an EP on the label with a couple of tracks from her. She sent a couple of tracks including this one which for me is still one of the best tracks in Assemble Music´s catalogue.
3. Daze Maxim – ‘Beginning An Ending (Baby Ford Remix)’
Daze was the first artist I got in touch with. I remember sending him an email explaining the project and how special his music was for me. We didn’t know each other so I didn’t know if he would reply to my email or not. At the end he replied very fast and was very positive about being part of the label. This was not his first EP on the catalogue but this one comes with a beautiful remix from another super big influence on my electronic music journey, Baby Ford! I remember a lot of people were playing this track and also later that year Raresh asked me to use it as the ending track on his Fabric mix.
4. St. Joseph – ‘Music’
David aka St. Joseph made a record some years ago that I was playing a lot and I was wondering who he was and how we could get in touch. Eventually out of nowhere he sent me a message saying he just bought the EP from Dorian Paic and he was crazy with the remix from Maayan also! I was very surprised with this contact and I told him that I was planning to get in touch, as I was playing a lot a records by him. Since then we have been very close friends and he sent me a lot of amazing tracks that I couldn’t overlook, so I decided to do the first and only album on the label till now which includes this super track!
5. STL – ‘Neat Buzzl’
Stephan Laubner aka STL has been another huge influence for a long time. He is a true master in the studio and one of a kind with unique grooves. One of my favourite records on the catalogue and I play this track a lot!
6. Hakim Murphy – ‘Tf3 2’
The Chicago master Hakim Murphy can do no wrong. He is also very unique like STL. I can play this track anytime during my sets and it fits perfectly! Expect more of this groove soon as we have another ace EP from him coming out soon!
7. Activ-Analog – ‘Traction Time’
You can feel straight away that the sound of this track is pure analogue gear and every release they do sounds amazing as they still do it like twenty years ago! This is my kind of techno and its hard to find new releases with this groove these days. More to come shortly!
8. Altitude – ‘Integration’
This was the first track Altitude aka Matt Thibideau sent me for his first EP in 15 years! I asked him to keep this track for Assemble straight away, it reminds me of old Maurizio. Dub techno at its best!
9. Lerosa – ‘Harkonnen’
Lerosa aka Leopoldo Rosa is a every special producer. You never know what to expect when he releases something, you can feel a lot of different influences in his music and this EP is no exception. This track is pure class!
10. Viv Vai – ‘Midweek Rendezvous’
Vid Vai aka Vid Papez is a young producer from Slovenia and it was such a good surprise when he sent me tracks as I found them very deep and classy! Timeless music, in 20 years from now you will still be playing this track.
Joao Maria will be playing at LISB-ON festival, 31st August – 2nd September.
More info and tickets here.