Crammed Discs

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Crammed Discs is an independent record label whose output blends world music, rock, pop, and electronica. Based in Brussels, Belgium, Crammed was founded in 1980 by Marc Hollander of Aksak Maboul and has since released around 375 albums and 275 singles, working with artists from all over the world (from Western Europe and the US to the Balkans and North & Central Africa, from South America to the Middle East and Japan).

Crammed Discs is run by Marc Hollander (A&R) with Hanna Gorjaczkowska (artist development, marketing, distribution & art direction) and Vincent Kenis (producer, director of the Congotronics Series).

Marc Hollander and Crammed Discs received the WOMEX award in 2004 at the World Music Expo international music trade fair, for being "one of the seminal players on the world music field".[1] However, the label has always systematically worked with electronic music, indie pop and rock artists, and "doesn't see itself as a world music label: it just happens to enjoy working with artists from around the world, some of whom sing in languages other than English" (as stated in the label's manifesto).[2] Crammed has been described as "one of the most boldly eclectic independent labels around" (Pitchfork),[3] as "innovative and groundbreaking"[4] and "visionary",[5] a.o. for steadily avoiding to confine its roster "to one, potentially homogeneous category" and encouraging artists with plural identities to create new forms of music.[6]

In 2011, Crammed Discs celebrated its 30th anniversary by setting up the Congotronics vs Rockers project, a "superband" including ten Congolese and ten indie rock musicians (including members of Konono No1, Deerhoof, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Kasai Allstars, Skeletons, Juana Molina and Vincent Kenis), who collaborated to create a common repertoire and performed at 15 major festivals and venues in ten countries.[7][8][9][10][11]

From 2008 to 2014, the following artists have joined the Crammed Discs roster: Chicago band Allá, indie pop act Lonely Drifter Karen (from Vienna and Barcelona), London-based Moroccan electronic artist U-cef, Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili, musician/composer/producer Mocky, Belgian band Hoquets, Belgo-Congolese rapper Baloji, Belgian-Colombian band La Chiva Gantiva, French-American artist Maïa Vidal, US bands Skeletons & Megafaun, South African/Dutch band SKIP&DIE, Belgian band Amatorski, Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan, Argentinian artist Juana Molina and Ghanaian/Swiss band OY.

The label's latest signings (2016-2020) are Parisian electronic music collective Acid Arab, Portuguese singer & musician Lula Pena, young French-Welsh band Fauna Twin, French experimental pop band Aquaserge, Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas, the new rock band founded by the German-Chilean electronic music producer, Berlin-based Spanish experimental musician Don The Tiger, French-Chilean band Nova Materia, Lagos/London project Ekiti Sound, Ugandan/British band Nihiloxica, Californian musician Scott Gilmore, renowned producer Pascal Gabriel and his new Stubbleman project, and Palestinian techno duet Zenobia.


Because of the diversity of the label's output since its early days in the 1980s, its founders chose to create several sub-labels.[12] This policy was discarded during the latter part of the 1990s, because Crammed felt that genre-blending had finally become acceptable.[13]

  • Language This 'avant dance' sub-label was A&R'd by Tony Thorpe (a.k.a. The Moody Boyz). 10 albums and 22 singles/EPs were released between 1995 and 1999, by artists including Buckfunk 3000 (Si Begg) and Circadian Rhythms (a band led by ex-This Heat member Charles Bullen).[16]
  • Ziriguiboom Launched in 1998 in collaboration with Brazilian A&R/Producer Béco Dranoff, Ziriguiboom's aim was to present original and as-yet-unexposed aspects of Brazilian music to international audiences. It quickly became one of the global hubs for the new wave of Brazilian music, and has brought Crammed its biggest commercial success to date with Bebel Gilberto's debut album Tanto Tempo (which sold one million units worldwide).[17] Ziriguiboom also signed and released albums by artists such as Celso Fonseca, Cibelle, Zuco 103, Trio Mocotó, Bossacucanova, DJ Dolores, Apollo Nove and the late Suba.[18]

Crammed also had several specialized and one-artist sub-labels:

Currently the only subsiding Crammed Discs imprints are Congotronics and Made To Measure. Congotronoics is not a sub-label per se, but a collection of releases by Congolese bands who play their own respective styles of electrified traditional music (such as Konono No1 and Kasai Allstars).[21] The series is curated and produced by Vincent Kenis. As for the Made To Measure composers' series, it is being discreetly revived since 2013 (after having remained inactive for 18 years), as 6 new volumes have recently come out.

Discography (albums)[edit]














  • Bel Canto: Shimmering Warm and Bright
  • David Cunningham: Water
  • Various Artists: Roots Of Rumba Rock 1 (1953-54) (1992, reissued with vol.2 as a double CD in 2006)
  • The Gruesome Twosome (Samy Birnbach & Bertrand Burgalat): Candy For Strangers
  • Les Snuls: Les Snuls, bien entendu




  • 4hero Parallel Universe
  • John Lurie National Orchestra: Men With Sticks
  • Harold Budd & Hector Zazou: Glyph
  • Various Artists: Freezone 2: Variations On A Chill, compiled by DJ Morpheus a.k.a. Samy Birnbach (2 CD)
  • Various Artists: Miscellaneous (Language compilation)
  • Various Artists: Jungle Vibes 2 (Selector compilation)
  • Various Artists: Roots Of Rumba Rock 2 (1954-55) (1995, reissued with vol.1 as a double CD in 2006)
  • Bio Muse: Wrong
  • Zelwer: Les dieux sont fâchés/The Gods Are Angry
  • Aural Expansion: Surreal Sheep


  • Tek 9: It's Not What You Think It Is !!?!
  • Snooze: The Man In The Shadow
  • Various Artists: Freezone 3: Horizontal Dancing, 23 exclusives by Herbert, Kruder&Dorfmeister, Carl Craig...(2CD)
  • Various Artists: Miscellaneous, The 2nd Edition (Language compilation)
  • Endemic Void Equations
  • Hugo: La Formule
  • Aural Expansion: Remixed Sheep
  • Various Artists: Moving House, compiled by DJ Geoffroy a.k.a. Mugwump
  • Various Artists: Junglized (Selector compilation)
  • Various Artists: The Deepest Shade Of Techno, compiled by 4hero (2CD)
  • Ziryab Trio: Mashreq Classics


  • Carl Craig More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art
  • Barbara Gogan with Hector Zazou: Made On Earth
  • Various Artists: Freezone 4: Dangerous Lullabies, 22 exclusives by Basement Jaxx, Rhythm And Sound, Thievery Corporation...(2CD)
  • Juryman vs Spacer: Mail-Order Justice
  • Tuxedomoon: The Ghost Sonata (1991, reissued on Crammed in 1997)
  • Kočani Orkestar: L'Orient est rouge
  • Elixir: Alien Rainbow
  • Meira Asher: Dissected
  • Qmoog: The Arc Of Blueness
  • Subject 13: The Black Steele Project
  • Tao: Esoteric Red
  • Various Artists: Moving House 2, compiled by DJ Geoffroy a.k.a. Mugwump
  • Various Artists: Lysergic Factory, compiled by DJ Morpheus


  • Taraf de Haïdouks: Dumbala Dumba
  • Buckfunk 3000: First Class Ticket To Telos
  • Auto Repeat: The Unbearable Lightness Of Auto-Repeating
  • Circadian Rhythms: Internal Clock
  • Various Artists: Freezone 5: The Radio Is Teaching My Goldfish Ju-Jitsu, 21 exclusives by Shawn J.Period, Jigmastas, Joe Claussell... (2CD)
  • Bossacucanova: Revisited Classics
  • Telex: I Don't Like Music, a collection of remixes
  • Various Artists: Moving House 3, compiled by DJ Geoffroy a.k.a. Mugwump
  • Various Artists: If U Can Beat 'Em, Break 'Em, compiled by DJ Morpheus
  • Various Artists: Phax'n'Phixion, The Nu Hip Hop Underground, compiled by DJ Morpheus
  • Various Artists: Junglized 2 (Selector compilation)
  • Various Artists: The Family Album, exclusive tracks by artists on the Language label
  • Kevin Saunderson: Faces & Phases (2CD)


  • Telex: I Don't Like Music 2, a collection of remixes
  • Meira Asher: Spears Into Hooks
  • Various Artists: Freezone 6: Fourth Person Singular, 22 exclusives by Alex Gopher, Stacey Pullen, Mark Pritchard... (2CD)
  • Zuco 103: Outro Lado
  • Phosphorus: Pillar Of Salt
  • Various Artists: Brasil 2mil - The Soul Of Bass-O-Nova
  • Suba (Mitar Subotić): São Paulo Confessions
  • Niko Marks & Eddie Fowlkes: City Boy Players
  • Various Artists: Moving House At Food Club
  • Various Artists: Tags Of The Times 2.0
  • Various Artists: The Beyond Real Experience, produced and compiled by DJ Spinna
  • Various Artists: Electric Kingdom - New Skool Breaks & Electro
  • Various Artists If It's Not 100% U.K. Hip Hop You Can Have Your Money Back, compiled by Tony Thorpe & Dave Watts








  • Tartit Abacabok
  • Think Of One: Trafico
  • Cibelle:The Shine Of Dried Electric Leaves
  • Electric Gypsyland 2 (Taraf de Haïdouks et al., reinterpreted by Tunng, Animal Collective, Nouvelle Vague, Susheela Raman & more)
  • Tuxedomoon: Bardo Hotel Soundtrack
  • Hugo: La Nuit des Balançoires
  • Wise In Time: The Ballad of Den The Men
  • Various Artists: Roots Of Rumba Rock 1+2 (1953–55) (originally out in 1992 and 1995, reissued as a 2CD in 2006)











  • Konono N°1: Konono N°1 meets Batida
  • Various Artists: Give Me New Noise: Half-Mute Revisited
  • Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul: Je pleure tout le temps EP (reworks & remixes)
  • OY: Space Diaspora
  • Acid Arab: Musique de France
  • Aquaserge: Guerre EP
  • Fauna Twin: The Hydra EP
  • Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul: 16 Visions of Ex-Futur (covers & reworks, feat. Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Aquaserge, Laetitia Sadier, Forever Pavot, Flavien Berger, Nite Jewel, Bullion, Burnt Friedman, Hello Skinny, Marc Collin, Bérangère Maximin, Lena Willikens and Aksak Maboul)








Crammed Samplers

  • It's A Crammed, Crammed World 1 (LP, 1984)
  • It's A Crammed, Crammed World 2 (LP, 1987)
  • The World According To Crammed (CD, 1993)
  • Crammed Global Soundclash 80-89 (2 separate CDs, or box set including bonus material, 2003)
  • 20 Ways To Float Through Walls, a selection of tracks released between 2001 & 2007 (CD, 2007)
  • It's A Crammed, Crammed World 3, tracks from 2008/2009 (CD, 2009)
  • Crammed Walks With The Animals, tracks with titles containing animal names (CD, 2011)
  • Crammed Goes To The Movies, tracks from or inspired by films (CD, 2011)

Awards and nominations[edit]



Crammed Discs artists (past and present)[edit]


  1. ^ "The WOMEX 2004 Award". Archived from the original on 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  2. ^ "Manifesto on the Crammed website". Archived from the original on 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  3. ^ "Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  4. ^ "Radio Nova". Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  5. ^ "Les Inrockuptibles". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  6. ^ Snell, Heather. "Pop Matters". Pop Matters. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  7. ^ Caspar Llewellyn Smith (2011-07-13). "The Guardian". London. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  8. ^ "The Quietus". The Quietus. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  9. ^ Male, Howard (12 July 2011). "The Arts Desk". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  10. ^ "Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  11. ^ "Les Inrockuptibles". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  12. ^ "Marc Hollander's Womex Award acceptance speech". Archived from the original on 2013-08-20.
  13. ^ "Interview in Belgian daily Le Soir". 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  14. ^ "Made To Measure web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  15. ^ "SSR web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  16. ^ "Language web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  17. ^ PAUL AMES Associated Press 2007-06-18 05:17 PM (2007-06-18). "Associated Press". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  18. ^ "Ziriguiboom web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  19. ^ "Selector web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  20. ^ "Artist Details: CRAMMED DISCS". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  21. ^ "The Congotronics web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.

External links[edit]