In this series, we are exploring some of our favourite record labels. Each month we’ll be inviting a guest, ranging from producers, DJs, designers and label heads, to guide us through their personal highlights from a label back-catalogue. Hopefully these guides will be useful for newcomers and seasoned listeners alike.

This month DJ JM explores the catalogue of Nervous Horizon, one of the most prominent club labels to rise out of London in recent years. Co-run by TSVI and Wallwork, the labels foundation is an amalgamation of international club sounds through a distinctly UK lens, with grime and UK funky meeting the likes of gqom, techno, dancehall and more. Notably, DJ Plead, object blue, Ehua and Piezo are amongst the names who have graced the imprint over the years.

DJ JM is a veteran of the label, featuring first on TSVI’s ‘Sacred Drums’ EP. His ‘No Days Off’ EP saw release in 2019, and is followed this month by ‘Abnormal’, a potent 4-tracker that builds on both his, and the labels, signature percussion-forward sound.

DJ JM’s approach to his picks reflect his proximity to the label: “I chose to describe the track from a more personal perspective, more subjectively,” he explains, “Explaining how the track feels or what relationship I have with it.”

Wallwork & RZR - Parrot Honey

“[The label’s debut release] still sounds fresh and would totally work on a peak-time dancefloor. The bass notes together with the drums and the cold reverb breaks, it’s the first official step to the Nervous Horizon ‘sound’, which still remains in every release.”

TSVI & DJ JM - Aziza

“Nowadays, people  would  probably call this a ‘DJ tool’. But for TSVI and me back in 2016 this was a full proper track, kind of our recipe - pure raw dry percussion mixed in a loud and punchy way. That was more than enough for us. Putting it in 2023 context kind of makes it special - I don’t think we would bet able to make or release such a raw and simple track today.”

DJ Plead - Salt and Pepper

“Plead’s production skills, especially the percussive grooves in relation to the synths, really stood out from other Nervous Horizon releases. It was way more funky and somehow all the layers create a very positive atmosphere. It also exploded in the clubs, if im not mistake , DJs still play it so much up today - a super successful release!”

DJ JM - Ray Mound

“Back when I did this track, I didn’t really think of it as an electro track, but that was until it became one of [Detroit electro legend] DJ Stingray’s set staples. Him playing it really got me more interested in electronic soundscapes, studying synths more, rather than just sampling drums. In a way, that is reflected on my latest EP ‘Abnormal’.”

Object Blue & TSVI - Thought Experiment

“For me, this was probably the most experimental and bass-oriented of all the releases. It feels like a milestone for Nervous Horizon stepping in front of a broader audience musically. Object Blue and TSVI did a great job overlapping rubber-like synthetic strikes with rolling kicks. It’s odd and sometimes seems off, but try mixing it with anything else and the result are challenging and exciting.”

Ehua - Aquamarine

“I think Ehua’s production on this one is beautiful - minimal and atmospheric. The rhythm ornaments are, on the other hand, quite complex, keeping you jumping from something fast to something easy and relaxed. It’s a track that everyone, my mom, my rave friends and my office colleagues, would agree on.”

Moleskin - Handsome

“What’s special about ‘Handsome’ - it has the groove of a fun 2000s tech house track, the drums of a 2010 trap/grime banger, and meanwhile the whistle puts a smile on everyone's face on the dancefloor. It reminds me of some of the best U-Freqs records - one of my favourite labels.”

Henzo - Survivorship Bias

“This badass riddim is one of my favourite slow tempo tracks on Nervous Horizon. Besides achieving a great groove, ‘Survivorship Bias’ has a perfect texture layer, which to my ears adds a somewhat deep house feeling, but you can barely hear it. Is it some vocals whispering something? What is it?”

Toumba - Rashash

“When I heard this track for the first time on Rinse FM, I immediately texted TSVI asking ‘What was that!?’ He calmed me down by saying it was a forthcoming Toumba track. One of the biggest tracks on the label.”

TSVI - Labyrinth

“I had the pleasure of receiving ‘Labyrinth’ quite a while before it was released officially, but it didn’t catch my attention at first. It had to end up on GTA 5 to catch my ear [the track appears on Gilles Peterson Worldwide FM station]. It’s funny how hearing a tune in a different context can change what you think about the track in general. Now ‘Labyrinth’ is something I will play for ever.”

DJ JM’s Abnormal EP is out now on Nervous Horizon.