At the time Pressure Sounds launched in the mid-nineties, revival reggae labels were relatively few and far between. With a few notable exceptions, there were virtually no imprints set up to release a continuous series of hard-to-find, long lost or unavailable classic roots reggae. Primarily the reason was, at least as far as major labels were concerned, that the prospect made little economic sense.
Pressure Sounds led the way and quickly became established. Together with a few other pioneer labels a kind of impetus was created in turn generating a “hip quotient” around revive reggae; in turn an environment emerged where other labels followed and the ensuing decade was to provide a previously unimagined level of access for reggae fans to the music they loved. Pressure Sounds first releases by Santic, Prince Far I, Israel Vibration laid the foundation for what was to follow.
Pressure Sounds fulfilled its aim to search out and select reggae from the golden era of the genre, whether it is vocalists, harmony groups, deejays or dubs through Mento, Rocksteady, Classic roots from the 70s or Digital music from the 1980s and 1990s. The assumption was and still is: if the people at Pressure Sounds dug it then the likelihood was that there would be a market for the music - so much for focus groups and demographics-based research! Over the years this strategy resulted in some great albums that sold incredibly well for the genre, like the trilogy of reissues from Lee “Scratch” Perry – “Voodooism” from 1996, “Produced & Directed by the Upsetter” from 1998 and from 2001 “Divine Madness…Definitely” through to the recent pair of “Sound System Scratch” compilations featuring dubplates and alternate takes from reggae's greatest auteur producer. But maybe other albums were curated a little too early for the developing reggae revive market, such as the great Prince Jazzbo’s “Mr. Funny” from the year 2000, the wonderful compilation of historic UK reggae collected for “Don’t Call us Immigrants” and the support for key digital material such as King Tubby’s “Firehouse Revolution”.
What binds together all the releases on Pressure Sounds is the attempt to present Jamaican music of the highest quality, in many instances reviving rare albums or collections of seven inch cuts that previously were only available to the hard-core collector, or those with more money than sense. Also, the label has taken maximum care in ensuring reissues are accompanied by both extensive sleeve notes and distinguished artwork which, with the growing interest in vinyl, is becoming more and more important. Over the years, Pressure Sounds managed to master the art of ‘the compilation’ and have produced a consistent flow of releases with both flair and imagination
Since its inception, Pressure Sounds has made continuous efforts to diversify its interests and outputs, with the appearance of Maximum Pressure in collaboration with dancehall producer Frenchie and also support for more leftfield material from the Green Tea imprint. These days the label’s website provides a shop window for Pressure Sounds unique brand of t-shirts and clothing and also acts as a net shop for the sale of reggae revive product from a select group of like-minded label. Recently added is the capability to download MP3s of the labels catalogue.
The Pressure Sounds label would like to thank all reggae who have supported the label over the years and promised to continue in its remorseless search for the best reggae material to reintroduce to reggae fans everywhere.