Celluloid Records captured the no-rules musical landscape of the early 80s on wax. Their releases cover everything from breakdance classics and early hip hop singles to experimental disco and no wave, and even some classic soul and funk and world music fusion. The label was formed in Paris during the late '70s by Jean Georgakarakos (often referred to by the shorter name Jean Karakos), who had spent the previous decade co-running French record shops and the spiritual jazz label BYG. Karakos had the good fortune of traveling to New York at the right time and connecting with Bill Laswell, who had himself landed fresh in the Big Apple from Michigan. From there Karakos began releasing whatever Laswell could produce, whether it was the avant-rock of Massacre or his post-punk production outfit, Material. Celluloid became involved with the burgeoning hip hop scene as well, releasing Time Zone's Afrika Bambaataa featuring "Wildstyle" and cuts from Grandmixer D.ST. Both Laswell and Karakos were instrumental in Herbie Hancock's "Rockit." Through the resulting publishing income Celluloid was able to dig deeper into the world of hip hop, getting 12" singles out for Fab 5 Freddy's groundbreaking French / English slo-mo rap "Change The Beat" and graf artist Futura 2000's cult "Escapades Of Futura 2000" backed by The Clash. By the mid-80s Laswell's work for the label grew increasingly sparse as he was pulled onto major projects for Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, PiL and more. The label continued on its eclectic path with jazz recordings and African output through world pop stars like Kassav and Toure Kunda. Available as gatefold 2LP or 2CD digipack. Both formats feature rare photos from the Celluloid Records archive and extended interviews with label owner Jean Karakos, Bill Laswell, Afrika Bambaataa, John Lydon, Rusty Egan (Time Zone) and more. Recommended.
reviewed by Joey Coco 03/2013