Cookie Settings
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage and assist in our marketing efforts. Read more about our Cookie Policy.
Close Cookie Preference Manager
Strictly Necessary (Always Active)
Cookies required to enable basic website functionality.
Made by Flinch 77
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
LDS Header Image Minimal Collective Artwork Blue

Currently or forever on research with LDS

Currently or forever on research with LDS: Exploring the corners of contemporary dub techno

words by
Artist
Brent van den Elshout
published
October 19, 2022
credits
role
No items found.
Label
Release date
reading time
10 min
Album/EP
10 min

It was 2018 when LDS’ Dub Tapes From Outer Space EP was released on Transatlantic Records. Listeners were faced with a new interpretation of dub techno. Reminiscent of the old days, the tracks felt atmospheric, high-tech, and almost metallic-like but this time faster, psychedelic-induced and high in energy.

Many DJs enthusiastically took advantage of the appealing new sound. Meanwhile, LDS himself stayed under the radar, researching music in the broadest sense of the word from his studio in Stuttgart. We spoke to the elusive artist about the approach to his craft and the vision behind his music.

Luca, how is life going? What is keeping you busy at the moment?


All is good, but I'm quite busy. I'm writing my bachelor's thesis in November, have more gigs, spend time with my son, and tryi to concentrate on music as much as possible. Hopefully, the number of gigs will grow to the point that I can focus on music and taking care of my son only. This is definitely my dream scenario.

For a long time your Instagram bio stated ‘currently or forever on research’ -  is this a metaphorical phrase for your approach to life or are you seriously researching on a daily basis? Tell us more!

Maybe not researching on an academic basis, but I tend to have different topics in my musical life that I cover now and then within research. I love to learn new sound-related things. It feels so senseful and I am the best and most chilled version of myself when I can enter this state. It is sometimes not the most productive way of working, but I try to see music not as a project, but as a way of living.  

If not academic, how should we see your approach to research?


I mainly use Youtube and Google for this. Maybe this is where we come full circle with scientific research because this process between the 'educational internet' and its 'students' will be the topic of my Bachelor Thesis (in the context of beginner tutorials for learning Max MSP).

Back to the non-academic research in my life though: I think most of us producers do it, there are just so many damn interesting things to discover with arranging, composing, mixing, sound design and of course music theory.

No items found.
No items found.
We’ve been following your work since the start. Your Dub Tapes From Outer Space release back in ‘18 was a serious next step into today's dub techno era. Some dub fanatic reviewers even titled you as the forefront of what dub techno has become today. What is it to dub for you? How did you get into it? And how did you reinvent this sound?


The Chain Reaction label got me into the sound quite naturally. But also before I discovered Basic Channel, Monolake and all the other pioneers, I fell in love with deep, reduced uptempo electronic music. Robert Hood has this track called Rek which exactly points out what I mean.

I actually don’t know if I really reinvented something. I am quite biased when it comes to my own music, so I do not have the distance to stay objective. But of course, I try to do new things and find my very own aesthetic and funk within my music.

No items found.
No items found.
"The impression and thoughts of the listener are the only concepts that are true"
The dub sound on this album seems to break away from the usual atmospheric dub and leans more toward peak time dub techno. Could you guide us through the creative process of this album?


Well, most of my tracks are always a combination of a musical and a conceptual process. Funnily, the musical comes mostly first. I really aim to design my dub chords to sound digital but alive, cold, and a bit psychedelic.  


Composition-wise, I always start with the chords and modulate them quite intensely until they would already make sense of their own. After that, I search for so-called ‘response chords/sounds/noises’ which are basically sounds that will start some kind of conversation with the lead voice. To be honest, when I am lucky enough, the track will build itself from that point.


The next step would be to dive into the conceptual part. But it wouldn’t make sense to say something about that. I think the impression and thoughts of the listener are the only concepts that are true. Maybe this is the reason why my newer track names have become quite cryptic.


How did this energetic dub pique your interest? It seems like a well-thought-through turn to us, combining the intelligent deep dub sound with peaking energy. Could you tell us about essential influences if there are any?


When I discovered the Reverberation / Reverberate EP by Substance & Vainqueur on the Scion Versions label back in 2007, I was absolutely stunned by it. It had this extremely elegant and cold vibe that only high-tech dub techno can give.


But apart from this, I always had some kind of vision in my head of what the music should sound like. It is really difficult to describe, it is some kind of feeling. Something sterile and digital… and the colour blue definitely plays a big role in it!

No items found.
So - coming from a self-released record - how can one end up on Dax J’s Monnom Black label? Seems like a Goliath of a jump you took there. Tell us more, did he approach you?


Haha, I went the old-school way: sending in a demo. I sent my track Algorithmic Reality which also was my debut on the label, released on a big VA vinyl record. After that, I worked on my solo EP for Monnom Black, which was released a year later.


I am very thankful for the opportunity Dax gave me. It makes me proud till today. It opened up some doors for me and I am happy to say my next Monnom Black EP will be released soon.

So - coming from a self-released record - how can one end up on Dax J’s Monnom Black label? Seems like a Goliath of a jump you took there. Tell us more, did he approach you?


Haha, I went the old-school way: sending in a demo. I sent my track Algorithmic Reality which also was my debut on the label, released on a big VA vinyl record. After that, I worked on my solo EP for Monnom Black, which was released a year later.


I am very thankful for the opportunity Dax gave me. It makes me proud till today. It opened up some doors for me and I am happy to say my next Monnom Black EP will be released soon.

No items found.
No items found.
What does your day in the studio look like? How do you operate here?


I work software based. Ableton has always been the core of everything. It simply allows me to make music in the most complex and precise way. I always tend to change my VST plug-ins after some time. For instance: the Transatlantic record was mainly created with the old KORG Monopoly VST.


After that, I switched to working intensely with Ableton’s Operator, which is the case till today! My newer dub tunes are made with Ableton’s Wavetable, Sylenth1 and this sick Japanese emulation of the Nord Lead 1 called ‘Synth 1’. It is free and such a cool polysynth! FM-wise I deeply love the new Korg Opsix Software. It has the most unique FM engine and some really smart random LFO modes.


Workflow-wise it really depends on the situation. When creating more experimental stuff, the workflow instantly gets more experimental. I love to capture field recordings with my Zoom recorder and mangle them in Ableton, apply different time-stretching algorithms, chain up sounds, and just trigger them randomly. I am working a lot with midi-chains, and lately, I get a lot of inspiration from samples and Hold LFOs (LFOs that generate random values per trigger).


So yeah, really into searching for happy accidents at the moment!


Loving the open-minded approach you have while producing. This approach reminds us of the podcast you did for Slam FM. You created a bootleg to use especially for that mix, right? Could you elaborate on this? It is not something you hear every day!


Ah yes, I actually re-made that edit and could share it with you now! I do so many edits with tracks, but these are mostly re-arrangements. I hope all the producers don't hate me for that, haha. The reason I do this is not that I feel like I am making the track sound better, but because I make them more suitable for the way I would like to use them.

"The colour blue definitely plays a big role in what my music should sound like"
Experimental or club?


The heart says experimental, the brain says club. It is really like that! And I see it as a lovely creative challenge to work with this duality within the studio.


Are we right in hearing your research towards a more deconstructed sound on your newest album algo5 on Blue Hour? It reminds us of work by pioneers like Autechre and Aphex Twin to name a few.


Ah well, how to describe my feeling towards Autechre? They are god-like to me. Once I said to a friend: “I really believe in them, like other people believe in a religion”. Their music made me want to learn more about FM Synthesis, music theory, sequencing, software, and everything to do with it!


Besides music and everything in its orbit, what is inspiring you today?


My son’s perspective on the world is quite inspiring. Being a four-year-old human, he is living fully in the moment, whilst having the sweetest, crazy, and most unique ideas.

We know how spontaneous and moment-led DJ sets can get, that’s the charm of it. However, we are curious if there are some hints you could give us on what to expect during your Amsterdam debut at the Minimal Collective ADE event - lined up during peak time in between psychedelic-oriented artists. We are stoked!

Not sure yet, but it will definitely be deep. I would love to play very very fast, but let’s see how the vibe will be!

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.

Driven by his constant urge to explore and reinvent, it seems like LDS will not be done researching anytime soon. Within his open-minded exploration of sound and self, Luca paved the way for renewed dub-induced productions that touch the heart of many electronic music fanatics. We are curious about what the future holds, both on the dancefloor and in the box.

words by
Brent van den Elshout
published
October 19, 2022
credits
role
No items found.