Centaur Discs is the “In-House” label of one of C&D Compact Disc Services, one of the UK’s longest established specialist music mail-order companies.
The label was originally set up in 1990 to re-issue two 80’s albums on CD for the very first time by the Aberdeen based Progressive Rock band: PALLAS, who then reformed after the re-release of these albums and have gone on to produce several other CD’s and DVD’s both independently and for major labels.
With the success of that project the label then looked to re-issue three albums by UK based Synth-Rock musician MARK SHREEVE: – ‘Assassin’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Crash Head’ were all issued in 1994 (Remastered with Bonus Tracks) and became massive selling releases for both the label and CD Services. Mark also spent time working with Samantha Fox when her music career took off in the 80’s, and he became involved with making library music for television, where he is still often heard to this day on sports and documentary programmes. More recently he has independently released albums under the name RED SHIFT with his brother Julian, and ARC with fellow long established UK synthesizer musician Ian Boddy.
Centaur also launched the career of a young man that we believe to be one of the finest young Electronic Music musicians ever to come out of the UK – ANDY PICKFORD, who’s mix of majestic Vangelis style melody and Shreeve like rhythmic aggression brought him huge critical acclaim throughout the 90’s with his albums: ‘Replicant’, ‘Terraformer’, ‘Mealstrom’, ‘Dystopia’ and ‘Lughnasad’, and to this day these albums remain some of the most popular of all the independent musicians working in the Synth Music genre.
Multi-instrumentalist PAUL LAWLER (now a successful maker of TV documentary music) got his first break from the label with his 1995 album: ‘Bronx Age’, which was co-produced by ANDY PICKFORD and featured melodic aggressive instrumental music in the same vein as the Pickford material. Paul later recorded several retro “Berlin School” style electronic music albums in the 90’s under the ARCANE pseudonym, and later has recorded a range of ‘New Age’ albums.
Centaur also launched the European career of US based DJ / Space Music musician CHUCK VAN ZYL with the release of ‘Celestial Mechanics’, an album that took the “EM” scene by storm in 1993, followed by the equally well-received, spacey “Berlin School” double disc epic ‘The Relic’ in 1995, the same year that Norwegian games music composer BJORN LYNNE had his melodic electronic music album: ‘Dreamstate’ released on the label.
Crossover ‘Psychedelic/Electronic’ musician O-HEAH (aka Dave Hendry) had two exciting rhythmic albums issued on Centaur: - ‘Silent Universe’ in 1998 and ‘Steps Across The Cortex’ in 2005, both driving, powerful cosmic excursions that blew ‘Electronic’ and ‘Psychedelic’ fans away with their haunting atmospheres and tranced-out, hypnotic body rhythms!
Centaur also launched the career of UK based trio RMI (Radio Massacre International) who worked in the field of retro-based ‘Berlin School’ style of improvised electronic music. Their debut album: ‘Frozen North’ a Double Disc set, was issued to great acclaim in 1995,and they continue to be a favourite of the ‘Electronic Music’ scene today.
Centaur also returned to it’s Progressive Rock roots once more in 1995 with the debut release from Brian Johnstone’s AURORA PROJECT – a melodic rock song-based album entitled: ‘Balance Of Power’, a professional studio band recording inspired by his love of melodic Progressive-Rock bands like GENESIS and PALLAS.
Staying in the realms of ‘Progressive/Electronic’ music, Centaur issued two nearly all-instrumental Prog crossover albums by NOSTROMO (aka Sev Lewkowicz). Entitled: ‘No Such Thing As Silence’ (1996) and ‘Mariner’ (1998), these were classy multi-instrumental albums in the vein of mid-period Mike Oldfield, with ‘Mariner’ delivering a “vocal” track in the form of an excellent cover of Procol Harum’s ‘A Salty Dog’. Sev became in integral member of the 70’s band GRACIOUS! for their amazing dynamic 1996 comeback album: ‘Echo!’ – a powerful Prog opus that was also released on Centaur, which, like other titles on the label, can be found in the CDS Online Store.
In 2001 the label strayed back into the world of ‘Electronic Psychedelia’ once more with: ‘Final Call’ an instrumental album by HAWKWIND member Alan Davey, but it was in 1999 that the label had one of it’s proudest moments when Steve Hackett’s keyboards player: NICK MAGNUS released his first proper solo album since leaving the Hackett band - ‘Inhaling Green’, an instrumental ‘Symphonic Progressive/Electronic’ crossover album was a massive success and inspired Nick into recording further solo projects, with the results coming in the shape of two top quality progressive semi-instrumental CD’s over the next decade, both available in the CDS Online Store.
After a 10-year hiatus the label is soon to re-launch with the first ever release of MARK SHREEVE’s early album: ‘Firemusic’, plus limited re-issues of some of the company’s best selling titles of the 90’s.
You can almost exclusively order all available Centaur Discs titles from the CDS Online Store, where you will find all the currently available albums (some very limited) reviewed in great detail.