|After a four year hiatus the label that defined house music throughout the 1990s announces its return to the dance music community following the re-acquisition of the brand and catalogues by former owner Mark Finkelstein. Strictly closed its doors in 2002 when a short-lived joint venture with Warner Music ended.|
Strictly Rhythm has struck a deal with Simon Dunmore of Defected Records, who assumes the role of creative head for the relaunched label. Dunmore will arrange for Defected to market, promote and distribute the imprint in the UK. "I can't think of a better person to help reactivate Strictly Rhythm than Simon Dunmore" comments Finkelstein. "He has an ear for the music, has worked with many of the producers and artists who have released records on the label and we've been friends for 15 years."
The New York label first opened its doors in 1989 and quickly gained a following among club DJs thanks to a series of high quality underground tracks by the likes of Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry and Kenny Dope. In 1994 Strictly notched up its first crossover hit with Real 2 Real's "I Like To Move It", a feat it was to repeat throughout the rest of the decade with Wink's "Higher State of Consciousness", Ultra Naté's "Free" and Wamdue Project's "King of My Castle". In between the hits the label provided a steady output of club tracks by a huge array of respected artists from Barbara Tucker and Masters At Work to Erick Morillo, Josh Wink, Armand Van Helden, Danny Tenaglia, David Morales and DJ Pierre. Almost every house producer of repute who was active in the 1990s is represented in the catalogue.
For the first time the label's classic releases will be available for legal download. As well as releasing new compilations, Strictly will be reissuing and remixing selected tracks. Going forward, signing new productions and artists will form a key part of the label's strategy. "I am often quoted saying that Defected aspires to be as revered as Strictly Rhythm was back in the day" says Dunmore. "The label was the starting point for anybody who is anybody in today's scene, be it as a producer, a dj or a collector; Strictly Rhythm has left on them an indelible mark".