Skip navigation
Plug Research's Underground Explorations
Label Feature

Plug Research's Underground Explorations

Plug Research brings underground experimental electronic music to the surface. Since 1994, the L.A. label was home to artists like Flying Lotus, Exile and Bilal. Also exploring the outer edges of other genres such as hip-hop, soul, funk, and house ever since.

By
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
3:32

Plug Research was founded in 1994 with a straightforward purpose: “I got tired of sending out random demos, and I always wanted to start my own label,” recalls founder Allen Avanessian. “So I decided to basically release some 12” vinyl to begin the process of learning how to produce and distribute my music and products out to the world.” One thing led to another, and early releases by befriended artists such as Anthony Valadez and Mr. Hazeltine (a.k.a. John Tejada) evolved into a full-fledged label at the forefront of experimental electronica.

And based out of Los Angeles, it really was the forefront; even releasing Flying Lotus’ debut album 1983 (two years before FlyLo’s endeavors with his own Brainfeeder imprint under Warp Records), and being one of the first to share the sample-heavy music of L.A. producer Daedelus in the early 2000s.

Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
2:13
Allen Avanessian, founder of Plug Research (Photo via Dasfilter.com; Thaddeus Herrmann)
Allen Avanessian, founder of Plug Research (Photo via Dasfilter.com; Thaddeus Herrmann)

Allen: “Sample-based music was not at all the initial focus or the vision of the label. I don’t think anyone who started a label at the time would have been thinking that other artists would sample your music or songs in your catalog. That was just something you would possibly do as a producer by sampling old influential disco, funk, soul, or even early electronic music. But that’s pretty much it.”

Twenty-five years into existence, the roster of Plug Research now includes music by artists such as Bilal (who got the label’s first Grammy nomination with “Little One”), Exile, Shafiq Husayn, Boom Clap Bachelors, Tensei, Adult Karate, and many others. Still pushing the boundaries of sound, and now also opening up their catalog for sampling.

Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
3:11

"Tracklib makes it easy and fair for all involved. And it’s always exciting to hear an artist that wants to sample your music.”

— Allen Avanessian

I think Tracklib is a perfect model for artists and producers who want to easily clear samples for their productions and have a vast variety of music to pick through,” says Allen. “It makes it easy and fair for all involved. And it’s always exciting to hear an artist that wants to sample your music.” Something Allen also experienced himself, when New York hip-hop artist Divine Styler sampled his own project, Mannequin Lung, for a Styles of Beyond record in 1998. “I believe it was the first sample for the label.”

And with 50+ tracks on Tracklib ranging from electronic music to R&B/soul, it’s a safe bet that more samples are going to follow. For starters, Allen got a suggestion where to dig first: “I would probably sample Tom Terrien, Astrobal or Zuricha. They all are amazing sound designers. It would be really fun to sample their work and flip it in a way that it’s recognizable but also used in an interesting way. The track would probably be a mid-tempo dirty house track, with a male vocalist...”

Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
5:49

Comments