Composers like Bach, Wagner, and Mendelssohn Bartholdy made Leipzig one of Europe’s musical centres during the 19th century, and after the German reunification in 1990 a new generation of artists was eager to resume this tradition.
Leipzig’s Distillery opened its doors in 1992 as the first East German techno club outside of Berlin, bringing the sounds of Detroit, Chicago and London to a city hungry for new music.
A bustling and heterogeneous scene of clubs, record shops, DJs, producers and labels developed in Leipzig from the 1990s on. Hard techno enjoyed a lasting popularity with venues such as Opera, Basis, and Club 1040, while artists like Maus & Stolle, Marlow, and Frankman introduced a deepness derived from Detroit and nu-jazz into their productions and sets.
Statik Entertainment became one of Leipzig’s first labels to promote experimental techno sounds, releasing its first slices of vinyl in 1994, while the city’s first label to achieve widespread international attention was Moon Harbour, which was founded by Distillery resident DJ Matthias Tanzmann in 2000. The label’s initial focus on deep house music gradually expanded to include contemporary tech-house by artists like Luna City Express, Martinez, and Seuil.
Jahtari is another popular imprint, crossing over chiptunes, dub and ragga styles from a network of international contributors coordinated by Werk Disks artist Disrupt. The diversity doesn’t stop here however: Eclectic new wave disco sounds can be found in the productions of Good Guy Mikesh & Filburt, the latter also running local record store Freezone. Map.ache and Bender & Sevensol have recently started their excellent deep techno imprint Kann Records, and artists such as Marko Fürstenberg, Douglas Greed, Sven Tasnadi and Juno6 have likewise made a name for themselves with their distinct takes on underground techno and house music.
Our first interview partner this week, Daniel Stefanik, is another key figure in Leipzig’s electronic music scene. The charismatic and hugely talented producer made his first mark in 2005 with contributions to Mobilee and Statik sublabel Instabil. He became an integral member of the Moon Harbour crew, co-producing the 2006 club hit ‘Basic Needs’ together with Matthias Tanzmann, before the label’s dogma of functionality became too limiting for his versatile creative output.
Recent releases for Statik, like the ‘Reactivity’ album and ‘Transmediale’ single showcase his deep and experimental side, but Stefanik isn’t neglecting his floor-filling potential either: On the contrary, his recent ‘In Days Of Old Pt.1’ for Kann Records, and his ‘Nocturnal’ EP for techno institution Cocoon show him to be at the top of his game.
Our second guest this week is Kassem Mosse, who has accomplished the feat of creating a buzz stretching from the underground dubstep scene to the international deep house community. For the past five years the Leipzig-based producer has accustomed us to his idiosyncratic lo-fi sound, which touches on raw and analogue techno, slow-motion house, as well as on diverse and abstract broken beat styles. His productions have appeared via his own Mikrodisco label, the cultishly revered Workshop imprint, Italy’s Kinda Soul Recordings, and Dial’s vinyl only sublabel, Laid.
Most recently Kassem Mosse’s music has received attention from an unexpected side: London’s freestyle dubsteppers Instra:mental released his ‘We Speak To Those / Hi Res’ on their acclaimed Nonplus imprint, and he’s further been asked to remix Commix’s drum’n bass classic, ‘Strictly’ for Metalheadz. His new ‘Workshop 12’ EP once again ranks among our favourites, and he has further just remixed Ellen Allien’s ‘Our Utopie’ for BPitch Control.
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