Considering that this LA-based label’s name comes from a novel co-written by Jack Kerouac & William S. Burroughs a whole 10 years before they became “Jack Kerouac” and “William S. Burroughs,” the creators of Hippos in Tanks are placing themselves firmly in the timeline of music alt.culture history. Trafficking in a left of-left of center avant-synth zone, Hippos In Tanks is doing really bold work that should be recognized right now, but may very well be so cutting edge that it’s the label kids will be talking about in 20 years in the same way that ZE Records (and “No Wave”) was so informative to the early 2000s.

With an already future-classic release from Games under their belt, and a phenomenal roster of great young talent with solid releases from next wave artists like Hype Williams, D’Eon, Grimes, Sleep-Over, Laurel Halo, and most recently synth wunderkind James Ferraro (who Simon Reynolds recently likened to Jean Baudrillard in his latest book, Retromania) Hippos in Tanks have already been named one of FACT magazines “Labels of 2011.”

Games (ft. Laurel Halo): “Strawberry Skies” by alteredzones

I recently sat down for a margarita with label head, Barron Machat, whose youthful idealism and profound respect for the artists he’s releasing is super-inspiring. He told me the story of  how Hippos In Tanks had started as an offshoot of a late-night radio show he’d co-curated with Travis Woolsey for KXLU back in 2009, and how their mutual passion for these radically retro (but completely fresh) artists they were contacting and being contacted by moved them to want to release their music. And one EP at a time, one LP at a time, Hippos in Tanks began floating in the ether.
Sleep ∞ Over – Romantic Streams by Hippos In Tanks

Defying logic, surreally pleasant and peaceful, with a definite air of physical precariousness, the image of a hippo in a tank is a powerful one.

You should pay attention now…so you can relate to your kids when they start talking about their influences.
James Ferraro – Adventures In Green Foot Printing by Hippos In Tanks

-Mario Cotto

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  • monalisa said:

    Hippos In Tanks is so on top of the underground…I wish KCRW played them more. You do, but what about the other DJs…..pass it on.

  • unknown said:

    55 shades of blue tonight on KXLU 88.9 FM dropping new White Car track on Hippos In Tanks.

  • BEBE-TUNE$: Alias You Should Know | KCRW Music Blog said:

    [...] by: Mario Cotto Heady, experimental Futurist, James Ferraro, whose super bonkers Hippos In Tanks release Far Side Virtual was on a bunch of avant-garde publication Top 10 lists (FACT, Wire, [...]

  • Outer Limitz: Artist You Should Know | KCRW Music Blog said:

    [...] many of the artists on the veritable Hippos in Tanks label, Outer Limitz (1/3 of short-lived dance punk outift Test Icicles, which also included Blood [...]

  • James Ferraro KCRW Exclusive Download Mix: No Regrets | KCRW Music Blog said:

    [...] his label Hippos in Tanks offered the KCRW Music Blog an exclusive mix, I was stoked at the prospect of another frenzied mix [...]

  • RIP: Barron Machat, Co-Founder of Hippos In Tanks | KCRW Music Blog said:

    […] the time, and even now, I couldn’t see/hear people championing Hippos in Tanks as much as people […]

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