Puzzlebox Records

Founded in 1995 by Second Wave pioneers Keith Tucker and Anthony Shakir, the label has since remained one of the longest-running Techno and Electro Bass labels from Detroit; releasing primarily the various pseudonyms that Tucker recorded under, as well as artists like "A Number Of Names", "dynArec", and "Black Electric".

The label started things off with "First Concept", a split EP with "Da Sampla", offering 2 cuts by each artist, and quickly followed up by "Concept 2"; second and last in the series. In 1997, perhaps one of Tucker's most infamous releases to date would come to fruition with "Lifeforms E.P.", which included the all-time classic "Face Your Fate"; a song that not many know, was meant to reflect the once troubled relationship between Tucker, and Tommy Hamilton of Aux 88.

While 1998 would only bring the release of "Automaton" by Keith Tucker as himself, the label would begin to slightly increase its output over the next few years, with the release of titles like Black Electric's self-entitled debut ( 2000 ), Optic Nerve's "Teleportation E.P.", the remixes album for A Number Of Names' "Shari Vari" ( 2002 ), as well as Auxmen's "Project 1" ( 2002 ), and "Auxmen 2" ( 2003 ); which featured collaborative efforts by early Aux 88 members Anthony Horton, Tucker and Hamilton, as well as assistance by Marty Bonds. That year in 2003, the Auxmen also released their live performance at the DEMF on CD, with all of the members going on to record as the "Metroplex Social Club", releasing their "Hubble E.P." 12", and also featuring Strand, as well as Williams "BJ" Smith aka Posatronix.

2004 would see the return of Keith Tucker under his K-1 alias, releasing "Machine Soul E.P.", and featuring a fantastic remix by the duo Microthol. Optic Nerve's mix CD "Metal Images" would soon follow, and later in 2006 Optic Nerve would return again with "Replica E.P."; and included a remix by Roman Debnar.

K-1 returned once again in 2007 with "Time Travel", featuring the Techno Bass classic "Its Time". Also that year, the remixes album for Aux 88's self-entitled release would be published through Puzzlebox ( originally released under Crosstalk ), which featured works by Crobots DJ XED, and N-ter, Aaron Carl ( R.I.P. ), Detroit Grand Pubahs, The Advent, and Mr. De. Not long after, dynArec's first official release on the label would come into fruition, with 4 magnificent tracks crafted in the careful and soulful style of the french artist.

2009 would see a strong return between Tucker and Hamilton as Aux 88's "Mad Scientist" project, which would prove to be a turning point for the splintered "Electro" scene, being revived by the re-introduction of the style of Techno Bass music, and the different projects that would soon follow by many artists that were directly influenced by this album, as well as the nearly coordinated rebirth of the website "Technobass.net". With so much in-fighting as to what was "Electro", and what wasn't, and many artists trying to prove the point that it was simply another term to refer to Electronic music as a whole, the scene began to see new life by the idea that at the very least, there were many styles within the supposed Electro genre, and that they should be categorized as being their own thing; helping to alleviate the problem of so many different types of music referring to themselves as "Electro", and overshadowing the styles that were typically called by that name in the past.

Between 2010 and 2012, the label would begin to focus almost exclusively on the follow up project to Mad Scientist called "Black Tokyo", which would bring in Japanese female talents "Ice Truck", as well as Erika Tele, to add that final missing touch to the long awaited concept series of releases by Aux 88. The label would follow up on the CD album, by releasing an array of 12" E.P.'s; a couple which have been remix E.P.'s, and featuring works by Ellen Allien, Niko Marks, Arthur Oskan, Gez Varley, Little Nobody, and Arne Weinberg. During 2011 and 2012, the label also released Mad Scientist Volumes 2 and 3, and brought in remix productions by Gosub, Dynamik Bass System, Mr. Velcro Fastener, Crobot Crew's N-ter and XED, and Detroit In Effect.

So far since the end of 2012, the label has only released a new 12" by Tucker as Optic Nerve, featuring remixes by the duo themselves, as well as M5. Much more can be expected, as the label has never shown any signs of fading away; in fact, if the last few years are any sign, it seems that Tucker and Hamilton have been refining their craft to take things to a whole new level, which can only mean one thing: we have entered the next chapters in the A.U.X saga, and should just sit back, and allow these masters of the sound to help pave the way forward.

Puzzlebox has undoubtedly been a leading force in the Electro Bass genre, and though it hasn't focused on releasing too many artists outside of their own peripheral vision, it has nonetheless been a platform for some very talented folks that really care about Electronic music, and the impact it should have on the masses as we progress into the 21st century and beyond.


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