In recent years Stephan Laubner aka STL’s musical output has been substantial. His latest offering on Smallville, titled “Simply Positive”, could be deemed to be a subtle personal reflection on his vast array of musical accomplishments over the years.
Since 2003, he has released records both independently via his own Something label and in collaboration with Perlon, Echospace and Smallville Records: remaining a consistent presence, whilst lurking in the shadows. This latest offering sees him take a step back from the stereotypical dark and dusty orchestration that his music has become most commonly associated with.
The first of the EP, ‘Heaven’s Vape‘, is built for the clubs. It takes a direct approach, stating its intentions straight from the outset. A grungy hi-hat runs alongside a deep driven kick as a jacked up bass line weaves its way between beats. The track meanders it’s way to a climax whilst a pinging synth delivers sharps stabs in layers above the underlying low-end current. It delivers, and whilst it doesn’t feature the same levels of sonic experimentation that we might have come to expect from an STL record, it offers a dance floor constructed sound that wouldn’t seem out of place on a vintage Nu Groove or Trax release.
The B-Side, ‘Joy Operator‘, despite being drum led, features a slightly more intricate approach. Slow moving pads drift throughout the track above an analogue driven bass sequence. Percussion shimmers throughout with sporadic bursts of claps leading the way. Whilst it is not as strong as the A side, it is certainly enough to captivate and intrigue. Interestingly enough, the outro to ‘Joy Operator‘ is quite possibly the most melodically appealing element of the entire record. By deconstructing each instrument, it ushers out the EP, easing us down gently from the punchy drums.
Conclusively STL offers two effective and dynamic tracks which will undoubtedly find themselves appearing in the bags of DJ’s far and wide. It sees him step away from the moody dusky sounds we might typically expect, but change is good.
Simply Positive is out now on Smallville Records, order a vinyl copy from Smallville’s web-store.
A. Heaven’s Vape
B. Joy Operator