2015 is truly the year of collectives and budding labels. With more and more artists pledging themselves to unique, homespun groups of like-minded and similarly styled cohorts, avid listeners like us are able to get an engaging new perspective on the music industry. Rather than going it alone, or being signed to a major record company, up and coming producers are starting to band together while still relatively under the radar in order to promote themselves as well as the collective as a grander reflection. It almost feels like a sitcom sometimes. The collectives each have a recognizable brand image and associated musical vibe that we learn to expect and look forward to, while the separate artists involved carry their own personality and specific contribution within the larger group. Together, they form some of the most genuine and exciting movements currently happening in the scene.

One such label, Alaya, currently holds one of the most tantalizing rosters out there. With acts like Cavalier, Chiefs, Flamingosis, Luca Lush, Dirty Chocolate, Maxo, Misogi, Polo, and Y//2//K, to only name a few, Alaya’s music output is consistent and heart-wrenching in its wonderful variation and freshness. In addition to a music releasing platform, Alaya also hosts a blog where they feature work from their artists and those like them, keeping their readers up to date and in the know on all sounds sweet and savory. Their radio show, coming up on its 30th installment, gives their artists a chance to showcase themselves in a different setting during a 45 minute mix set.

our sole desire is to promote artistry to the public. we strive to build relationships with artists & to provide our audience with the best content possible. we are alaya.

Their most recent release comes in the form of an enormous, 20-song compilation featuring the best of the best when it comes to Alaya. As an enthusiastic follower, I can already tell “Issue 02” will keep me tuned in for a long time. Chiefs’ track “Float” comes in at the fifth spot, with a sensual yet movement-inducing approach to the chill trap and hip hop technique. Showcasing high pitched vocal samples, a warm background synth guiding its progress, and a dynamic sub line, this song is easily one of my top favorites in the compilation. Losco, known for their Carmack-esque takes on some of the most creative trap-oriented releases from Soulection, bring the heat with their song “Pupunanny.” While it most definitely represents a much more laid back vibe than a lot of their other tracks, this one transports the listener into an exotic, forested environment where raw, acoustic percussion and ambient bird noises dominate the sonic space. Another favorite comes from Luca Lush and Dirty Chocolate called “Cadillac.” The vocals used will be instantly recognizable, but the song structure and production techniques quickly become something out of a dream. Following a similar drop to Luca Lush’s remix of “Pay For What,” this track truly can’t be tied down into any one area of musical style.

With releases of this magnitude and unwavering stylistic confidence, I have no doubt Alaya is headed for big and bright growth in the near future. As the awareness and esteem of smaller collectives such as this continue to expand, Alaya will be one of the most influential pack leaders and trend-setters in the circuit. Keep a lookout for the myriad releases made by their crew, and don’t forget to preorder the very first edition of Alaya merch, coming in the form of a funky fresh t-shirt.