This summer Versatile Records, DJ Gilbr’s impossible-to-pigeonhole label, celebrates its 25th birthday. To mark the occasion, we decided to dedicate June 2021’s edition of the Join The Future show on Noods Radio to the imprint, with Gilb’r joining us for a chat about the Versatile story, his own DJ/production career, and the recent release of his ace debut album, On Danse Commes Des Fous. The special episode also contains a wealth of historic, overlooked and recent tracks from the catalogue selected by Gilb’r and I:Cube – his partner in Chateau Flight and Versatile’s longest-serving solo artist.

But that’s not all! We’ve also created an extra, web-only “bonus episode” featuring further selections from the Versatile Records catalogue. This dives deeper into the label’s discography, showcasing cuts representative of Versatile’s eclectic, open-minded approach. There are also a number of personal favourites chosen by Join The Future’s Matt Anniss.

So why Versatile? Well, for starters the label has released some incredible music over the years, most of which has gone under the radar. The imprint was founded by Gilb’r, then a popular DJ in Paris and a former host of iconic FM station Radio Nova’s Saturday night dance music showcase, Nova Mix, during the rise of the filter-sporting “French Touch” funky house sound that turned a number of Paris-based artists (Daft Punk, La Funk Mob/Cassius, Etienne De Crecy, Alex Gopher and Motorbass included) into big names within European dance music. While some of Versatile’s early singles fit into this loopy, disco-sampling sound, it wasn’t long before the label began to showcase a much wider variety of music, from futurist techno, drum and bass and dreamy deep house, to ambient, skewed hip-hop, Afrobeat, electronica, off-beat experimental pop and much more besides.

As we touch on in the first (broadcast) special, the story of Versatile is also the story of Gilb’r and I:Cube. The latter was the first artist signed to the label – Gilb’r stating in our interview that the eclectic nature of the I:Cube demo tape offering a blueprint for the label’s output – but has also been responsible for some magical material as part of Chateau Flight. He has also provided artwork and graphic design for a huge number of releases on the label, manages Versatile’s Paris studio (the Victor Studio), and is responsible for mixing down almost everything released by the label over the last two decades.

Before or while listening to the shows, we’d recommend reading a few bits of writing by Matt Anniss. There’s a lengthy album review of On Commes De Fous, which was named Juno Daily’s album of the week, and an interview with Gilb’r about the album and 25 years of Versatile Records. In addition, you can still read Matt’s 2018 interview with I:Cube for Resident Advisor, which also includes a “mini-feature” showcasing seven killer cuts from his bulging discography.

But enough procrastination! You’ll find the two shows below, accompanied by track listings. We’d recommend listening first to the broadcast episode, featuring Gilb’r in conversation, before moving on to the bonus episode. Note that most of the music used in these episodes is available from the Versatile Records Bandcamp store, so if you like what you hear, head over and buy some releases.

Join The Future on Noods Radio – Versatile Records Special w/ Gilb’r

1. Gilb’r/Bradock – Versatile

2. I: Cube – Cryptoporticus

3. Matt Anniss/Gilb’r – Gilb’r Interview (Part 1)

4. Bufiman – Running (The Chase)

5. Chateau Flight – Discobole

6. Gilb’r – Pressure

7. I:Cube – Disco Cubizm (Daft Punk Remix)

8. Matt Anniss/Gilb’r– Gilb’r Interview (Part 2)

9. Cheek – Venus (Original Mix)

10. Matt Anniss/Gilb’r– Gilb’r Interview (Part 3)

11. Zombie Zombie – Hippocampe (Wolf Muller Earthy Remix)

12. I:Cube – Live at the Planetarium (Untitled Track 2)

13. Gilb’r – Approaching Kethner

14. Chateau Flight – Lo

13. Matt Anniss/Gilb’r– Gilb’r Interview (Part 4)

15. Gilb’r – Super Spreader

16. Gilb’r – (Russian Title)

17. Matt Anniss/Gilb’r– Gilb’r Interview (Part 5)

18.Gilb’r – Reachin

19. Matt Anniss/Gilb’r– Gilb’r Interview (Part 6)

20. Chateau Flight – Cosmic Race

21. Aladdin – Sea of Faces

22. Chateau Flight – Superflight (Maurice Fulton Remix)

23. Zombie Zombie – Illumination (DJ Sotofett’s 7-Inch Mix)

24. John Cravache – Paris Roswell

25. Chateau Flight – Kolingo (Love)

26: I:Cube – Cubo Live (Session 3)

Join The Future on Noods Radio – BONUS EPISODE: Versatile Catalogue Cuts

1. Chateau Flight & Caberet Contemporain – Desert of Ice

2. Jonathan Fitoussi & Clemens Hourrière – Solstice Winter

3. Etienne Jaumet – Metallik Cages (Acid Arab Remix)

4. Acid Arab – Amal

5. Bel Air Project – Dark Jazzor

6. DJ Gilb’r –Pressure (Laurent Garnier Remix)

7. I:Cube – Le Dub

8. Etienne Jaumet – Unity (DJ Sotofett Dub)

9. I:Cube featuring RZA – Can You Deal With That

10. Phil Asher presents Focus – Having Your Fun (Extended Version)

11. Queen Zaza – Pense Quelle Danse (DJ Ringardos Version)

12. Zombie Zombie – Rocket Number 9 (Joakim Extended 808 Mix)

13. Future Beat Alliance – Fake Love [from 2003’s Luminere EP]

14. Basic Soul Unit – Notes For The Soul

15. Lil’ Tony – Cosmic Afro Dub

16. I:Cube – A Walk With You

17. Gilb’r – Foliage (DJ Sotofett’s Live Jazz Mix)

18. Chateau Flight – Kounka (Steve Moore Off-World Remix)

19. Versatile Ensemble – Meandres

20. I:Cube – Session 7

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Freelance writer, editor, copywriter and communications professional. Music obsessive. DJ. Sports anorak.

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