High 5 - cmd q

by Jelena Drenjakovic

When it comes to German underground electronic music hotspots, Leipzig is surely worth keeping an eye on. Leipzig’s contemporary electronic landscape rivals any other German city in excitement and creativity.  A host of forward-thinking artists and labels have taken root in town, one of them being Janosch Ahlers aka cmd q. His trippy and atmospheric interpretations of techno found their way to the local KANN label, a bastion of Leipzig’s music scene with a unique bent for both melodic and melancholic minimal house and techno. Only recently KANN welcomed the enigmatic producer for his third release "Long Distance Call EP" on the label. Reasons enough to be thrilled to have cmd q for High 5 here at Fiction Lab!

Suzanne Kraft – Nordsee

Buttery smoothness is probably one of the most prominent qualities you'd attach to the music made by DJ, producer and radio host Diego Herrera aka Suzanne Kraft. It leans towards the mellow, kraut-inspired, Balearic corner of the dance-music spectrum that is informed by musical beauty rather than gritty grooves.  The same holds true for the track “Nordsee” which appears on the V/A compilation “Covered In Gloria” – a collection of 14 unique covers from electronic music acts such as Joe Jackson. Kraft’s take on Andreas Dorau’s original chugs along a comfortable andante tempo, evoking a morning-after car ride undertaken from the comfort of your couch. The tracks deeply, imperturbably chill is framed by suave chords soaring in cosmic fashion above the German chanteuse whilst mostly ignoring the dancefloor in favor of resting pulses and lush atmospheres.


543ff – 344432

DJ, producer and promoter 543ff, whose biographical details are scant, has been making moves within the Amsterdam underground music scene for some time now. What we know is that 543ff has recently made his second appearance on ÆX, a sub label from Amsterdam based label Indigo aera that puts out hand-stamped compilation EPs featuring new and established Dutch talent. 344432, hailing from the sub-labels third V/A compilation, finely incorporates a lavishly textured sound design that sits between warm Detroit-esque dub techno and frosty ambiences. With the focus firmly set on dubby echoes and sizzling hi-hats, this cut ploughs the listeners into a deep, trance-inducing furrow.


Betonkunst & Palmbomen II - Verminkte Toekan

Dutch producers Betonkunst & Palmbomen II teamed up for a very special endeavor: The Electronica duo visited the Centre Parcs De Eemhof resort in the Netherlands for a weekend during the winter off-season, where they set up their gear in an almost completely abandoned subtropical waterpark to record an EP. It comes as no surprise that the result sounds like plastic rainforest exotica. Vermintke Toekan’ pairs giddy synthesizer tones with stuttering drum rhythm to create a lilting jam with a lurking sense of artificial plasticity in the background. 


Vainqueur - Reduce 1

German dub techno stalwart René Löwe aka Vainquer was one of the early key players around Hard Wax record store in the early 90s when minimal techno was beginning to make its way across the Atlantic from Detroit with Hard Wax being the focal point of the Berlin-Detroit connection. Reduce Pt. 1 is one of René’s strongest dub techno tracks in existence, crafted with lissom licks of pinging synth loops and splashy hi-hats woven over a stompy dub bass. Despite the minimal nature of the production, this 9-minute-long flamboyant cut unfolds as a castle-building tour de force propelled by its skittering pace and relentless loops.


Ravechild - Un-1

Apart some random facts featured on the website of his co-run imprint Schleifen, there is little known about Ravechild, who maintains a low profile in the darker realms of hypnotic techno. Un-1 which hails from the labels third release touches on ambient and downtempo with warm pads billowing and swirling with grace on top of a minimal backdrop of rhythm. There's a gradual growth as the track is slowly wound up until you realise you're tensing every muscle waiting for a moment of release. With the focus firmly set on dubby spaciousness the track offers an atmosphere that is vast and expansive, leaving the listener cloaked in an intoxicating late-night atmosphere.