Counter Intelligence

Redlight Records

60 minsFirst aired 8 Sep 2017
Eelco Couvreur

Catch the vibe of a record shop tucked within Amsterdam’s infamously seedy red-light district beloved for curating outside-the-box sounds.

There’s lots that’s unconventional about Amsterdam’s Redlight Records, starting with its location: a former prostitution window lodged within the city’s notorious red-light district. Insulated from the active brothels, pubs and general seediness that surrounds it as part of the Red Light Complex cultural hub, the only temptations now available herein are the vinyl treats that beckon hopeless record addicts, legions of whom have been shopping at this tiny storefront for years. Run day-to-day by partners Abel Nagengast and James Pole, Redlight’s sterling reputation ultimately stems from its championing of the musically unconventional, recordings that may have missed their initial commercial mark only to enjoy an unintended but appreciative audience years later. The shop crew’s relentless digging has also spawned a highly regarded independent label, Music From Memory (headed up by Redlight co-founder Tako Reyenga, with Jamie Tiller), that’s reinvigorated the careers of artists like Gigi Masin and Vito Ricci. Here, Abel and James discuss some of the records that have helped shape the Redlight Records sensibility, from Croatian post-punk to the ’80s German drum session that sounds like a lost Maurice Fulton house track, to the lo-fi experimental dub LP a teenage Dutch musician’s mother privately pressed up for him as a birthday gift that sat neglected in a basement for decades.


Take a look beyond the Redlight complex’s iron gate.


Dig into Discom, the Belgrade record label run by Luka Novakovic and Vanja Todovoric uncovering rare jewels from former Yugoslavia.


A birthday present from Dutch painter, poet and writer Ans Wortel resulted in this Redlight Records favorite.


Red Light Records cofounder, Music From Memory label head and famed digger Tako Reyenga shows off his renowned record collection to Resident Advisor.


Into the Light Records, a collaborative effort between Ilias Pitsios of the Athens-based Echovolt Records and Tako Reyenga of Red Light Records, issued this rare Greek compilation in 2012 as the label’s inaugural release.


Interview by Jeff Mao
Additional reporting by Eelco Couvreur
Produced by Jeff Mao and Jordan Rothlein
Engineered by Denis Hürter

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