Given what a vibrant and dense electronic music scene Berlin has, it's not easy to make yourself stand out from the crowd as a producer and to break out of the city's insular musical bubble. But such widescreen, mind-bending and sophisticated techno as that of local hotshot Sebastian Radlmeier was never going to go unnoticed on a wider scale.
Steadily rising through the ranks of the techno frater...nity, Sebastian's ascent began in 2004 when he founded his own label PASO Music with fellow Teutonic talent Marc Miroir. He soon found his records getting love from electronic royalty such as Laurent Garnier, DJ Hell and Sven Väth, and as techno gradually came back into favour with crowds around the world over the next few years, his increasingly impressive productions started to pop up in more and more high profile places. David Squillace's MiniSketch label, Dubfire's scene-leading Sci+Tec, Nic Fanciulli's Global Underground compilation – all undoubted hallmarks of quality and cool. After years of grinding away and a risking everything (he ditched his successful job at MTV Networks to work on his creative passions) his gamble has quite clearly paid off. Alongside his role as one of the founders of hugely successful fashion label German Garment, he is widely recognised as one of the world's most talented up and coming techno producers.
Flying in the face of dumb, thoughtless dancefloor fodder, his tracks are constructed with intricate technical trickery, making your brain do aural double-takes as his carefully crafted grooves thump against your bones. It's music that ebbs and flows, grows and pulsates throughout its course and rewards those who give it their full time and attention. It's no wonder that UNKLE legend James Lavelle says of his work “sick....production is great, proper techno”, or that Joel Mull says his tracks “stand out from the crowd”, or that the likes of Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin are fully behind his music.
The proof is in the pudding though, as they say, and Seb will soon serve up his just desserts in the form of his debut album The Pain. “I always wanted to do an album” he explains, “but during my time at MTV, it was impossible to think about spending so much time making music. But as soon as i quit, the idea popped up again and I started working on it, which took me now all in all over a year.” He'll be releasing it on his beloved PASO Music, with 14 tracks spread thick over two discs, displaying both his production and remix skills – from hard-hitting thumpers to Balearic-tinged ethereal moments and even a daring fusion of techno and indie with German outfit Northern Lite.
“I would say what I did is not a listening album - more a dance album. As a DJ I wanna make people dance and party, and that´s exactly what I did on the album. Sure, it is a much bigger range then a normal 12" with 3 tracks - we have 14 new tracks plus several older tracks and remixes. It's something like a showreel of what I did in the last 2 years combined in a mix CD, plus a CD with new tracks only, including minimal stuff, prime-time techno, vocal tracks, a dub track and even one with a guitar. Everything I always wanted to combined on one release.” Working alongside talented producers and engineers like Pan-Pot's Tassilo, Jochen Schmalbach (who has produced with Tiefschwarz and M.A.N.D.Y.) and Dave Shokh (Monika Kruse, Karotte), he has realised his visions with a crisp, thumping, high-definition finish.
His latest PASO 12” comes with remixes from the hugely respected Steve Lawler and Mobilee Mastermind Anja Schneider, while his recent Ideal Audio is going down a storm with everyone from Josh Wink to Marc Romboy to Laurent Garnier. With the support of everyone who's anyone in techno music, Seb's star looks set to continue to rise throughout the decade. Dance music by numbers this ain't.
words by Ben Gomori