Mercury KX was launched in 2017 by Universal Music UK/Decca Records as an adventure in post-classical pop. Co-managers Cerys Weetch and Hildur Maral are leading the label to the edges of electronic, instrumental and vocal experimentation.
Mercury KX virtuosos, like Ólafur Arnalds, Anoushka Shankar, Jean-Michel Blais and Isobel Waller-Bridge are just a few of genre defying acts who call Mercury KX home.
“Our roster is global,” says Weetch, on Mercury KX’s cosmopolitan outlook, “With artists from Germany, Argentina, Australia, Iceland and the UK. We want to grow that.”
The immersive journeys of Mercury KX albums are often grounded in landscapes. From the Icelandic tundra, to the salt flats of Luke Howard’s Australian Outback, compositions swell with serenity, taking the listener from turbulent waters and returning them to calming shores.
“Our artists are photographers, graphic designers, poets as well as musicians. They’re in constant conversation with the world around them,” says Weetch.
One hears this in the soliloquies voiced by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage over the glassy electronica of LYR’s 2020’s Call In The Crash Team. There’s a searching undercurrent, too, in Flow, the label’s 2020 compilation, featuring the Autumnal uncertainty of ‘Otis’, by the mysteriously masked Lambert, and the exquisite melancholy of Sophie Hutchings. A solace of goodbyes haunts the cello of Sebastian Plano. Agonized orchestral beauty defines Six Lethargies, the 2019 album by Keaton Henson which explores themes of trauma, empathy, mental illness, and the relationship between music and emotion.
From Arnalds’ patented self-playing, polyrhythmic Stratus pianos to field recordings and lesser-heard instruments, Mercury KX artists are technological explorers. Plano uses pedals and loops to create a tonal kaleidoscope, while glockenspiel, bells and a driving beat underpin Federico Albanese’s dark piano.
At the tail end of 2020, Mercury KX welcomed two new artists to their vibrant roster. Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers joined the family in October, with the announcement of his new solo Piano album ‘Piano Piano’. An album, formed over a decade, honed by movement around the world and events in his life. In November Mercury KX announced the signing of Josin, the South Korean-German alternative pop composer. Hypnotically layered keyboards, ambiguous chordal shifts, introspective vocals and vexed rhythms express Josin’s influences of Radiohead and Sigur Rós. Both signings signal the label’s continuing exploration of unsettled moods and blissful resolutions, peculiarly relevant to our troubled times.