Crammed Discs

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 over 350 albums and 250 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 (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 2013, 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 and, most recently, 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) are Parisian electronic music collective Acid Arab, Portuguese singer & musician Lula Pena, young French-Welsh band Fauna Twin, and French experimental pop band Aquaserge.


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 1900s, because Crammed felt that genre-blending had finally become acceptable.[13]

A composers' series specializing in instrumental and ambient music, soundtracks and works commissioned for films, ballets etc.. Notable artists are: Hector Zazou, Arto Lindsay, John Lurie, Minimal Compact and Fred Frith. 36 volumes were released between 1984 and 1995.

Launched in 1988, this electronic music label was A&R'd by DJ Morpheus (aka Samy Birnbach) and Marc Hollander. 47 albums and numerous singles were released, ranging from early new beat to downtempo, techno, house and hip hop, by artists such as Snooze, Juryman, Carl Craig, Tek 9, DJ Morpheus, Kevin Saunderson and Telex. SSR is short for Sampleur & Sans Reproche.

This 'avant dance' sub-label was A&R'd by Tony Thorpe (aka 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).

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).[18] 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.

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 4 new volumes have recently come out.

Discography (albums)






































Crammed Samplers

Awards and nominations



Crammed Discs Artists (past and present)


  1. "The WOMEX 2004 Award". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  2. "Manifesto on the Crammed website". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  3. "Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  4. Radio Nova
  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: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  8. "The Quietus". The Quietus. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  9. Male, Howard. "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".
  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. "Ziriguiboom web page". Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  18. PAUL AMES Associated Press 2007-06-18 05:17 PM (2007-06-18). "Associated Press". 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

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