Music/Style: #Best Of #Electronic, #Minimal, #Techno, Dub Techno
Quality:MP3/320 kbps x lossless
Label: #Goldmin Music
"Download MP3: STL - Illumination LP (GMNLP008)"
Tracklist / Top tracks 11 / 1:35:38
• STL — Stoner Dub 10:49
• STL — Illumination 11:55
• STL — Fast Fizzy 1:18
• STL — Sunny Side Up 12:45
• STL — Ocean 11:50
• STL — Loop Goldmin 1:02
• STL — Trip Trap 14:32
• STL — Ghostdrive 7:30
• STL — Kingston Sunbake Chill 8:09
• STL — Sunburst Jacket 7:56
• STL — No Sun Today 7:56
MP3 Turbo | Rapid "free download for dj's" — "скачать музыку бесплатно"
Obviously right after Sneak Illuminator Ep, Illumination Lp arrives. And it is an Illumination worthy of the name as the german musical blacksmith delivers here luminous musical landscapes for his first ever "gatefold 3 records lp" album. Of course, if the innovation here was only the fact that this album is a 3lp rather than an 2lp, there wouldn't be much to expect as, after all, Stephan Laubner aka STL has released several albums, and dozens of tracks over the years. Hopefully, to us, this album is much more than that, as it sees Stephan pushing the boundaries that he, himself, defined, to newer limits, to the point that this album, as well as his music in general seems to not have much limits in the end. Give it a play and even being an uninitiated listener, you'll be impressed and submerged by the amount of details all these tracks are showing and continue to show long after listen. It jumps out at you and stays engraved then. So much so that every single bar you hear becomes a world in itself and a potential surprise. We are choosing our words carefully here, "showing", "jumps" etc.; They are nothing but a reflect of what the music described is; music yes, but music that keeps on crossing and overcoming the restrictions and limitations that the specific genres suppose, that is true throughout this whole milestone album. There is more than one secret in the german artist's music perhaps, more than one secret which are waiting to be revealed. But it's not too hard to reckon that perhaps, the secret and the greatness of this particular album relies on this seizing and brilliant contrast STL establishes between what can be considered as "repetitive" elements and what is subject to modifications and modulations.
Apparently, no guiding concept can be related to STL's music, in the same way that no specific sound is automatically linked to him. No intention precisely mentionned, no belonging to a specific musical movement, no proclaimed minimalism, no declared dub-techno. It is like STL, as an artist, was floating all over the "scene" and only grabbing elements from one place to another, discretely, in order to convert and adapt them for his particular and exclusive use. Just like he does field-recording and diverts sounds as if, in their rough and natural state, they were free of any prior affiliation. The process is interesting and is somehow one of the keys to understand STL's music better. Once a sound is removed from it's initial function and secluded from it's initial space, it is also removed from it's initial representation, and from all possible human-based associations involved. It is a good start and a good way to get deeper into this artist's sound, but only a start. If we were saying that diverted sounds were solely responsible of STL's musical silverwares, we could potentially say the same concerning anything that is not obviously tonal, like any track only filled with drums, and a very good amount of electronic tracks where proper melodies and harmonies are often omitted. We could also say the same, or almost, concerning anything dissonant, where the listener's emotional response is not as definitely evident as it is with basic major and minor scales. But, again, it is only a start. We will get back to the peculiarity of STL's very own abstract sound later. What remains obvious is that, if at some point, STL belongs to these genres, it is only in appearance, spontaneously, in a veiled way. And indeed, the way he reapproriates all these elements is singular and remarkable.
That's why, we can affirm that the sub genre called "Dub Techno" is pushed here to a new standard, making it another subgenre that is maybe as far from dubtechno or from any other genre. Take, for instance "Ocean", a key track of this lp (but similar findings can be made about most of the album's tracks) surely has certains "sounds" in common with the original Maurizio stuff, but that's all and that's it. What Maurizio brought to techno back in 1995 was an essential and historic step for sure. Then an historic amount of attempts have been done to get this sound to the next level and 99% of them have failed and could not even get close to their ideal. It's possibly because their only aim was to get close to that model. And that's not what Stephan seems to be doing, definitely not. While Maurizio's sound is all about short loops' repetitive perfection - concerning M4, M4.5, M6 mostly, and maybe even truer concerning M4.5 - Stephan succeeds in a quite different way. Indeed, he surely doesn't bet on the perfection of his loop's content in itself nor his potentially high hypnotic power, but rather turns a quite sober and simple loop - which is already powerful in itself - into a highly detailed and extended recording, a musical landscape that won't have revealed all it's mysteries after a thousands listens. Something that could eventually cause a highly addicted dependance in a listener, not for the kind of attachment we usually would have with music, which in most case is about certain melodies bringing back certain memories, from time to time. But Rather because of a need to grasp, seize and capture these sounds once and for all. Even though it might never happen, which is why we are talking about a potential addiction to these tracks.
Of course, if we were describing the tracks on a strictly technical basis (it is true for Ocean but also for most of them), it wouldn’t be useless to point the perfect stacking of synthesizers sound layers, the sediments-like stratifications in every tracks, hearable both in between the lead, the bass, the drums, and in between the multiple parts that every synthesizer sound is made of. Indeed, Stephan builds a solid machinery on the microscopic front as well as an effective network of sounds relationships on the macroscopic front. It wouldn’t be useless neither to mention that, this way, the artist is able to create a sound foreground, a sound background, which together shape a musical landscape. All that makes sense, it is right and intelligible. So that wouldn’t be useless but that wouldn’t be enough. How if the difference between what STL does and everything else in techno these days was way beyond the obvious and easy deductions concerning the layers we have just made? How if such deduction as well as any further word saying once again how warm, raw, distorted, STL gets to sound, how if all that was like going in circles, missing the point, and somehow, an easy way to avoid the problem?
No melody here, except on Trip Trap (which is nonetheless a beautiful trespasser on the album), but constantly shaping sounds. No imprint on the memory because of a harmony or a melody that sticks to brains, rather something much more abstract, made of cutting-edge frequencies slashing the sound that they just escaped from and are now detached from, forever, lost in a listener's mind, more material and concrete there that it could ever have been while coming out of the speaker, making silence loud and music silent, as the listener could never really be aligned with what he is listening but only in the process of being aligned with it, only keeping on being aligned. Yet always delayed, exceeded, surpassed. If words were somehow always and constantly heading towards silence, couldn't it be same for sounds, which are, after all, also shaping and surrounding every word much more concretely than their actual and conceptual meaning? This way, it would be truer than ever concerning so-called "atonal" sounds, not being attached (or much less) to any precast reaction or any common "question-response" manmade system, as music is in general and mostly in movies. For centuries, music has been reduced to something that contains and brings emotions, mostly in occident. Isn't it long enough? Music doesn't only have this too well known power of bringing joy, sadness or any other preliminarily defined emotion. It can be stereoscopic in some cases, and has maybe more than any other art form, the magical power to describe, suggest, and display things, landscapes, worlds, like reading a book or watching a painting would do. This way, the act of listening such music becomes creative in itself rather than a desperate, artificial emotions-hunting through emotions-enhancers. It looks like it is has to do with several facts, not only the form nor the structure as we said before, but also to the absence of tonality, it's spiritual neutrality and it's resulting formal abstraction. Formally abstract, yes, but only formally, only apparently abstract, because the active listening act, at this extreme point (being separated from the common emotional link facility) inevitably tends toward the infinite of representation - Isn't this infinite of representation precisely silence? -, example, if i say "rocks, nerves, wind, clouds, sun", you might get a more accurate vision of the scenery, a vision stripped of it's dispensable and personal emotional content, than if i say "The sharp and shining rocks, mixed with delicate and shearing wind falling from the bottom of the clouds, were stressing me, as the sun, more relaxed than i, was kindly and slowly going down it's course to the back of the hills", paradoxically.
This principle is reflected on Ocean, showing how the tonal abstraction (even if actual notes, chords or their related frequency is being played), and the inner neutrality of their structural abstraction are paradoxically synonyms of descriptive accuracy. Indeed, classical scale systems and even more contemporary ones, turn out to be a bit weak when it comes to a musical representation of the ocean, and all that the word "Ocean" includes. Perhaps STL's track titles give us more than one hint to deepen their listening. It is an approach worthy of being explored, and not only through this artist's tracktitles, as tracktitles are some of the only hints that some electronic composers are leaving behind. Is the silence we mentionned before linked to what the artist meant as "Silent State", when he himself named one of his most known tracks to date? Nevertheless, this principle continues to be reflected throughout the whole album and somehow in STL's whole discography. And abstraction, whether it is linked to a word like "Ocean" or any other word - no matter if Stephan has found the tracktitle before composing the track or made the track and named it accordingly -, much more than a concept, or an artistic leitmotiv proves to be the fastest way, the most straightforward path to an accurate, precise descriptive expressiveness. An expressiveness which, at this point in time, overcomes the limits of music as they are known. This is precisely where techno, much more than what was done and classified as "electro-acoustique/musique concrète" with the same purpose back in the seventies, is therefore not caught any longer by the definition, rules and principles of "musical" music. Was the "electro-acoustique/musique concrète" scene condemned to miss it's goal as soon as they categorically refuted repetition? Yes and no, they took another path, and several artists succeeded in bringing the musical content to new horizons. In every cases though, the listener was taken from A to B, sometimes through audio fictions mixing strident sounds and twisted vocals, sometimes through a story telling concerning the sound heard at the same time, and some other times with a slowly evolving oscillator sound. But never within counterintuitive, contradictory and conflicting processes used at the same time, both through a full track's length, and during the inside of the full length of every loop of this track, making the listener stuck between A and B. The big problem that always occured in techno was the hard choice to make between the progression that a succession of loops involve, or the progression that a synthesizer or any modulated sound throughout a whole track's length involves. The answer that Stephan has given to this problem is to ignore it, merge and at the same time overcome both optional approaches. He gets to do so by doing so slight, so very microscopic modulations that they make each loop so less changed that they seem - and are "heard", this is the key - as unchanged bars, in sum as loops, as "repetitive repetition", when they are actually only almost, only very close from being exactly repetitive repetition. Nevertheless, what is not exactly repetitive repetition is not at all repetitive and has nothing to do with repetition. What is heard (and happening) once in the track is maybe also only heard once in a lifetime as the neverending and impossible alignment with what is heard has more than one occasion to be modulated in turn.
How is that happening in the artist's studio is another question. Perhaps improvisation, intuition, and long time practice with the same setting have to do with it. But hopefully, the personal and technical detours that an artist takes at the very moment of making a track remain, and will always remain elusive, and intangible, even for the artist himself. Trying to analyze music that way leads whether to a popularization or to an impossible task, as every door opening is taking to another bunch of closing doors. Just like no one could be able to write down every single thoughts crossing his mind at a specific moment in time. That's why, in this present text, we decided to do the opposite, and to rather focus on the finished works, with the hope that they could bring us back to their origin.
As we're Back to STL's Ocean, in the second phase, this also raises the following question: Could this contrast of being never completely aligned have as much to do with the previous bar heard, still being heard, and the upcoming next bar to be heard, already expected and guessed somehow? Taking the listener to a non-place where what is heard has nothing to do with what is actually heard, swinging between what was here an instant ago and what is coming the next instant. There, no vanishing line, no escape lane. In the listener’s mind, solicited by this paradox of repetition and the exact opposite of repetition, we can imagine how this second paradox happening at the same time, the contradictory and permanent move induced by the absence of the previous bar as well as the equally absent absence of the upcoming bar leans towards silence while listening, and while what is being listened subtly imprints something right in this listener's mind. Maybe there will be more than one aspect for the listener of this album to deepen, whether it is someone reviewing it or someone at home checking this album for the first time. Of course, some will see STL’s greatness in his sound, the very sound, the grain that he gets to put into every single track he makes, and every single part of these tracks, making a synthetic bass drum sound more acoustic than an actually acoustic one. They are probably right in more than one way, but maybe that isn't the only point with this one album and that's how it makes sense in the artists discography, being much more than another album in a wide discography. Maybe the grain, the sound sculpture that STL seems to be so much attached to (as if it was an absolute requirement and condition to each of his tracks), is ironically more of an excuse and a mask concerning "Illumination", a facade for what's more profoundly buried in tracks and bars. Indeed, the german soundchemist seems to be on all fronts and surely not looking for a niche. If grain was color and structure were plans, Stephan would be putting a lot of energy to reconciliate these aspects and gather them in one single track. That's why, what this particular album brings is not a brighter and better sounding grain, even if, even more tangibly than beforehand, this demand in terms of sound is present on "Illumination". We believe what makes this album so special is something else. It is this perfect alliance of form and content, of substance and format, of grain and structure playing like a team as the tracks grow, slowly but surely, and almost in a subliminal way. For Stephan, the function and the content of a single bar (and a single track) seems to be more of a matter of space than a matter of time. Or if it is a matter of time, time only serves space in the most logical way, as it enables space to move in a wider space, basically a timeframed space, a spatial timelapse.
As an introduction note to their review of Stephan's previous and self-released album, Resident Advisor inevitably pointed out STL's geographic situation, something like "the mysterious artist making music in the german woods". It it of course the kind of writing that we can expect from that website. Once again, the myth of the isolated, discrete and humble artist kicked back in and seems to have good days ahead. But it is easy and probably a bit unfair to just reckon that perfect sync between the nature, the woods, the isolation (if there is even some) and the ability to make breathtaking music. It's not rare to see such shortcuts being made, and just like any myth they might hold a bit of the truth but is it only about that? The german woods? The trees, the river, the snow? Yes STL is making field recording there, he makes a delicate, subtle and detailed kind of electronic music. Yes he might have found the necessary time to develop his sound, skills, style... Yes, it might be harder to do so in an overcrowded city full of noises, alarms, police sirens. But, that being said, there is nothing but mystery coming back at a gallop, and on the other side, there is a relevant doubt that remains, the following one: Would any dedicated producer who would move to the woods or Germany or somewhere else be able to come to this result after, let's say, 20 years of hardwork? Probably not.
What we are trying to do here is not to defend our foal or congratulate an artist who already knows all the admiration we have for his work, but to highlight and focus the listener onto what makes this album something different and unique, and why it is such an incredibly mastered electronic music piece. And what we would like to ask to the listeners, the djs, the press and whoever comes to this, is to never consider these recordings as basic and regular club music. Not that it would be an insult to the artist; But if they do so, they will probably miss a good part of it's sharpened layering of frequencies, it's potential of frenetic playbacks in the row, and the richness of the sounds, that are here used as starts, tone colors which only are an excuse for the rest to come and take whoever listens from one point to another, yet with the impression of being stuck and glued in 2 or 4 bars while some kind of side story is actually happening all around. Forget the pulsation, let the music erase it. Just like the grain, it is an excuse. These tracks have kicks, they also have machine drums, they can be played in club where they might be of great effect, but don't get it wrong, the album is a proper listening experience wherever you play it, which at the same time, brings and requires a bit of attention.
Bars that take shape and lose their shape before getting back to their initial shape, or not exactly; bars that warp and merge, bars that lighten and expand, bars that escape and return, bars that are going forward and backward then backward and forward, finding their fate like living items. It is what this album is all about: Music pushed to what has eventually nothing to do with music, known as the art of going from A to B with whatever happening in between A and B. Or does the intention of pushing music to what has nothing to do with music, always has been the target, the intention of musicians since the stoneage? Maybe. That's why "Illumination", the title that Stephan has chosen for this new album is relevant in more than one way. First, because the perfectly balanced contrast between what we'd call "repetitive background", and what we'd rather call "modulated foreground", brings a highly visual sounding panorama, full of details, almost touchable as some moments feel both like a flash that gets out of the speaker, and something materially concrete that one could take in hands like slippery modelling clay or flowing marshmallow. And secondly because the way each track is built, with meticulous and subtle micro-progressions spontaneously bring an illumination in the truest sense of the word, might it be religious or just a matter of consciousness, no one listening this album in the right conditions, could escape that illumination. Hopefully, it should not be mistakenly understood. Neither this album or the purpose of this write up is to make "Illumination" a technical showcase - There is more than twenty years of crafting, recording and tweakling every available waveform and sound behind this album, no doubt it can be heard -, it is far beyond technically, yes. But most of all, it is electronic music at it's highest level of beauty and finesse. A very important addition in this artist's already extended disography and an important step for Goldmin too, mostly as we're celebrating our 10 years birthday this year.