Kraftwerk aside, the last thing that comes to mind when watching a bicycle race like the Tour de France is techno. Yet, new local boutique label Peloton Musique was not only inspired by bicycle racing, but has designed its first release around the sport.

Peloton Musique is the work of Aron Schoppert, Shane Silkey, and Eli Huntington—friends who share interests at the unlikely intersection of techno and biking, the latter both as sport and personal transport. The label name comes from the biking term "peloton," which refers to the main pack in a road bike race. Despite their role as adversaries, riders utilize the peloton to improve their own performance, as the pack reduces wind resistance and provides tactical advantages.

"After watching a lot of bicycle racing, and watching the peloton going through the hillsides, both part of a team and competing, I thought it was a perfect metaphor for our community here," says Schoppert, who cites collaboration and community building as key tenets for the label.

Fittingly, the label's first output is a biking-themed release, featuring established international producers (most with Northwest ties) such as Markus Nikolai, Jeff Samuel, [a]pendics.shuffle, and Lusine alongside more rising talent. The label released a sample pack of biking sounds (air-pump blasts, brake compresses, sprocket clicks), asking producers to use them in the creation of a biking-themed track. The 65 eventual submissions were then pared down to the 21 slated for physical release. At least 10 of the other tracks will see eventual digital release.

Usually, a label's debut is meant to establish its sound. But Peloton's compilation only serves to define it as a "techno" label in the loosest, most inclusive use of the term. It ranges from dubby odes to bike messengers (Place + DJ Collage's "Bike Ryda") to clicky, percolating minimal (Ian Ginsing's [a Jerry Abstract moniker] "Peliokaan"), with detours into Streets-evoking rap (Beat Conflicts' "Broken Spoke"). The founders realize that they're going against the grain by taking a subgenre-spanning approach, but they've embraced the challenge. "Is it possible to have 20 cooks in the kitchen and still come out with something tasty?" asks Schoppert. "It's a big potluck."

They are placing as much importance on the presentation of their work as the music. Far from buying the "death of vinyl," they're embracing wax and commissioning local visual artists (such as Fourthcity's Kinoko) for the album's gatefold sleeve. Their goal was to create something special for those who opt to buy their release in physical form in this age of digital distribution. "The day of white labels is gone," says Schoppert. "Vinyl should be for the collectors, for the art."

While it finalizes distribution of its first release, Peloton already has a schedule of releases slated for the rest of 2008, including material from both Seattle and Portland artists, along with some other surprises. The label isn't looking to strictly focus on the Northwest, instead releasing whatever quality music comes its way, bolstering Warp-esque experimental releases with more accessible, dance remixes. Schoppert says, "We want a place where there are no real rules, but where it's okay to have a groove, too." recommended

Peloton 001 will be released in late spring as a limited-edition vinyl and digital release. For more information, visit www.peloton-musique.org.