Podcast 723: STLPodcast 723: STL

Does anyone really know anything about STL, other than his real name is Stephan Laubner and he’s based in the remote German town of Harz?

With releases on Smallville, Perlon, Echocord, and his own Something, Laubner is a prolific but fiercely private producer whose sonic oddities, broadly spanning dub techno and house, are sure to blow your minds and touch your souls. He’s just released his latest album, Lost In Musik, on Something.

What we also know is that Laubner found music through video games as a child, but his love for techno grew through a radio show called HR3 Clubnight, sometimes broadcast from the Omen club in Frankfurt. “I was strongly fascinated by all the new sounds while listening to these shows,” Laubner recalls, “and the attraction of electronic music has stayed with me.” He and a friend went on to host their own show in Frankfurt, but that was years before he began producing using an old Amiga Computer and later some synthesizers. His earliest work surfaced on Perlon in 1999, when he featured on a split 12” with Ricardo Villalobos and Dandy Jack as Ric y Martin—but it wasn’t until four years later that he was back, this time as STL with a collection of his experimental atmospheres called Rain Interpretations X.

You’d be challenged to think of too many producers working today with such enduring quality. In the 18 years since Rain Interpretations X, Laubner has released 61 albums on Something, as STL and Lunatik Sound System, an alias for his more experimental work. 2007’s Homework, an album of moody minimal techno, was pivotal in his reaching a wider audience, as was The Early Tracks, a standout EP in Perlon’s catalog, and 2008’s Lost In Brown Eyes, its successor. Then there was 2014’s At Disconnected Moments on Smallville and the mighty Take Your Seats on Echocord—more lengthy, hypnotic cuts that are at once soothing but dissonant. In the STL catalog, there’s almost too much good music to mine through, and it all comes together to underline one of the most distinct sonic signatures in house and techno. You just know an STL track when you hear one.

As part of EDMjunkies+034, Laubner has recently shared a previously unreleased STL track called “Mental,” as well as this rare studio mix, pieced together last month while going through his vinyl collection. The theme behind it is simply just a collection of his favorite records; those which have stayed with him since the start of his career and continue to deeply affect him now. There’s plenty of his own work, but you’ll hear music from Larry Heard, Francis Harris, Omar S, and Hieroglyphic Being, pulled from various different decades. Expect nearly four hours of deep and dubby wonders from a master of the genre.

01. What have you been up to recently?

Other than listening to music and recording some mix-tapes, I am busy re-building some things in the studio. I am not really ready for music production currently. I need to set up everything properly and while I do that it’s good to experiment and try out certain new things. Change is good from time to time.

02. How has the lockdown period been?

Perhaps it sounds a bit strange, but life hasn’t really changed for me. I live in a sleepy town and the good clubs are far away. So it didn’t feel like a complete shutdown for me.

03. You have a new album out. What can you tell us about it?

Yes, finally. The production took over six months. Lost in Musik is the title and is indeed just that—music—and that’s the majority of what I do and love to do.

04. What is it that drives you to make electronic music?

I don’t know. I actually haven’t thought about that in-depth. Perhaps the appetite to be creative, to create new sounds, and to build up something. It has always been that way; a true love in life.

05. When and where did you record this mix?

In October at home.

06. How did you go about choosing the tracks you’ve included?

It was more a thing of filtering vinyl out of old boxes. I was really just choosing things I’d still enjoy today. The mix came together spontaneously and listening to it now I think I shouldn’t have done it this way. On the other hand, I always try to capture the moment. It is not perfect, but it’s played from the heart!

07. What can the listener expect?

The noise of very good productions!

08. What’s next on your horizon?

Well, first of all, I need to feel comfortable with the studio changes. Then I would like to do some dub techno music. But who knows what’s next. I am just about to finish a modular system—I know, it’s never finished—and perhaps then I’m going to try a new Lunatik Sound System album.

EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.

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