March 31, 2011


Perhaps I’ve loved Mondrian for too long. But when I recently encountered a link to an experiment where a computer produced a facsimile of Mondrian’s “Composition With Lines,” I was immediately able to tell the difference. The thing that people perhaps don’t immediately see with Mondrian’s work—especially when viewing it on a computer—is that there are rough edges. Despite his reputation, Mondrian was rarely interested in filling those famous large blocks of color cleanly. Look closely at a Mondrian painting the next time you’re in an art gallery. You’ll see his paintbrush everywhere.

The same goes for Laubner, whose dance floor-orientated music seems to do the same thing—with minute variations—over and over again. A drum loop, a murky piece of melody, set things to autopilot and watch things develop. As any electronic musician can tell you, however, finding those loops is hard work. Echospace’s Rod Modell will famously listen to something around the house all day long, and if it starts to lose its luster before hour eight, he’ll throw it away and begin anew. These are snatches of music that need to somehow take on new forms the longer you live with them, all within the span of a few seconds.

Laubner favors a hands-on approach to his work, finding it easiest to coax living, breathing electronic music out of hardware. “Over the years I’ve built up my small studio, which is almost 100% hardware, ranging from analog to digital synths, samplers and effects,” he told me via e-mail earlier this month. “I like the combination of everything. Additive, FM, Wavetable hybrid or analog Subtractive, whatever. I don’t care so much where my sounds are coming from, whether it’s a cheap digital Casio VZ-10M or an expensive polyphonic analog [JoMoX] SunSyn. Both worlds have their strength and possibilities.” He also takes his trusty field recorder with him for inspiration as well: “I make many [of my] percussion samples by recording outside.” You can hear his touch, his paintbrush, everywhere.


– From Todd Burns piece on Stephan Laubner (STL, Lunatik Sound System), published last year. You can read the whole thing (recommended) here.




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