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