|Label of the month: Diynamic
In the first of a new series on RA, Todd L. Burns profiles fairground house imprint Diynamic.
If you were writing the story of European house music in 2007, undoubtedly you’d have to devote a line or two to the resurgence of interest in classical music. From Stefan Goldmann’s avant-garde choral theatrics to the Italoboyz’ cheeky appropriations to Efdemin’s groaning synthetic string sections, suddenly the world of the concert hall seemed to arrive on the dancefloor. Now in its second year of operation, Hamburg label Diynamic has released some of the best tunes in this mini-genre. Solomun and Stimming’s ‘Eiszauber’, Stimming’s ‘Getting Out of Something’ and H.O.S.H.’s ‘Steppenwolf’ are records that don’t just meld classical instruments with house for cheap thrills; they manage to be genuinely emotionally stirring.
Founded by Adriano Trolio and Mladen Solomun in late 2005, Diynamic is a tight collective of five or so producers who each make records cut from similar cloth, which taken together add up to a distinct in-house sound. The seeds of this sound are all over the first four EPs on the label, but it wasn’t until DIYNAMIC004 that it fully coalesced, helped along by Stuttgart producer Jackmate, who remixed ‘Tagesschau’ as one huge tease of a three-minute intro, complete with bombastic Wagnerian chords and Carmina Burana vocals.
Yet looking back, it is obvious that Solomun & Stimming’s Feuer & Eis was the label’s breakout record. Both sides feature ridiculously catchy violin lead lines, which you were always either going to love or hate, but even detractors would have to admit it was original. Hands down it’s one of the only dance records that manages to sound both bowtie-prim and party-loose at the same time. Other recent highlights include Stimming’s boogie-esque ‘Funkworm’ and Kollektiv Turmstrasse’s ‘Eskapade’, which both illustrate the label’s penchant for aching, epic melodies.
New on Diynamic this month is the Trilogy EP, on which three producers pair up on three tracks in different configurations. The EP sees Diynamic move in a new direction, ditching the classical sample CD for more straight ahead tech house territory.
Diynamic in the clubs: Solomun & H.O.S.H. in BerlinHalf Off is a new night at Arenaclub all about the house, although we missed Quarion as he played the unreasonably early-for-Berlin time of 2 a.m. We did, however, catch both Solomun and H.O.S.H. who were over from Hamburg for the party. Now the first surprise was that Diynamic obviously doesn’t have a huge following in Berlin yet as the RA staff made up half the front row of dancers, but there are fringe benefits to being the only groupies: Solomun punctuated his set by handing out free shots of Jägermeister to allcomers with one hand, while skillfully managing to mix in the next record with the other. The second surprise was how housey Solomun played: his set was all bump, grind and wiggle, even heading towards Jesse Rose territory. Later H.O.S.H. took it deeper: more restrained, less party and more classically house, by which time the Jägermeisters had had their effect and the room was up for anything. All in all, a fun little night out, a successful first step for Half Off, and an intriguing peek at Diynamic behind the decks. The only drawback is the success of Diynamic itself I suppose: In the end you’d have to say that the best records they played were their own. - Jeremy Armitage
Diynamic’s history of joint releases and collaborations are born out of a real sense of community. The Diynamic crew live out of each other’s pockets in Hamburg, where they throw monthly parties at Uebel & Gefährlich featuring guests such as Ivan Smagghe, Kiki and DJ Hell. Hamburg is also a city that’s home to similarly tight-knit minimal house labels such as Liebe*Detail, Dial and Smallville, and when I put it to Stimming that there’s a sound to the city, he agrees: “Yeah, there is definitely something special going on here in Hamburg with this style.” Listen closely to ‘Funkworm’ and you’ll even hear the sound of a train pulling into Hamburg central station. H.O.S.H. says the secret behind the emergence of the city’s labels is simple: “Everybody knows everyone who is dealing with house music here.”
Next up for Diynamic is a new series dubbed Remix:Session which kicks off later this month with remixes of H.O.S.H.’s ‘Steppenwolf’ by Anja Schneider and Jerome Sydenham. Diynamic also plans to put out its first two CDs this year: a label compilation and Solomun’s debut artist album.
Here's a quick primer on who's who at Diynamic. We’ve also wrangled three free mp3s from Diynamic to download for a limited time only. Check them out.
This biblically-named, biblically-sized Bosnian is the most unfaithful of Dinyamic’s artists, with plenty of releases on outside labels. Tracks to check include ‘Deadman’ on Four:Twenty and ‘Lambada’ on Dessous, but on Diynamic he mostly plays the lynchpin role, collaborating on most of the label’s biggest tracks. Solomun points to late ‘90s Cologne minimal by the likes of Antonelli Electr., the Modernist and Salz as influences, but growing up his first love was the music of his homeland. When I bring up Balkan music to him, he brightens up. “I'm a big fan of the music from ex-Yugoslavia. I know all the folk stuff and old songs—Goran Bregovi, Riblja Corba, Bjelo Dugme. It doesn't matter which kind of genre. There is always soul in the songs. Deepness, pain, sorrow. But also love, humor and irony. This is a part of me. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But it's always there.”
Martin Stimming is Diynamic’s resident softie, responsible for the big, melodic, climactic tracks on the label such as ‘Getting Out of Something’ and ‘Eiszauber’ (with Solomun), or the newie ‘Die Liebe’ which is just about to drop on Terminal M. Unsurprisingly, it’s all cupid’s fault. “Right now I’m still very influenced from the break-up with my girl. We had been together for over five years, and this is something I’m handling while making music. If my upcoming tracks this year come with a lot of sadness attached to them, you know where it comes from.” I asked Stimming what the inspiration for the strings on Diynamic was. “Well, I don’t know exactly, but there was a point when Solomun and I were thinking, ‘Why not?’ We were trying to find new sounds that fit into our concept of warm but catchy tech house and classic strings aren’t often used in this context.”
It’s early yet, but perhaps you could say H.O.S.H. is the deeper side of Diynamic, bringing dub (‘Themes, Rhythms & Harmonies’), minimal (‘Steppenwolf’) and even African chants (‘Drums of Spring’) to the label. But he’s not averse to other feels either either—he has releases on Oliver Koletzki’s electroish label Stil Vor Talent and a big catchy cut on Kindisch (‘White Elephant’). H.O.S.H. explains why Diynamic’s classical samples touch a raw nerve: “The instruments are always very magnificent. For example when people talk about a certain track it’s always like: ‘Ah yeah, right, it’s that track with the organ/trumpet/flute, etc.’ and everybody knows which one the person is talking about”. On his newest 12-inch appearance, ‘Radar’ in collaboration with Stimming, the new element is an organ, which has a queasiness to it that even H.O.S.H wondered whether was a bit too much. It says a lot about the label that the solution was a shared one. “As soon we talked about it”, he explains, “We both knew we were right where we wanted to be”.