The life and times of one of Scotland's most inventive techno artists.
Since emerging from the Edinburgh rave scene in the mid-'90s, Neil Landstrumm has made a habit of messing with dance music's DNA. His breakout records for Peacefrog took the bleepy minimalism of Relief and early DBX into a funky yet deranged direction, which he has half-jokingly described as "we're-all-gonna-be-dead-by-Christmas type music." Although his tracks can have a sadistic edge, what really sticks out is Landstrumm's ease with programming his machines—the structures tend to twist and turn rather than stay still, creating a sometimes restless, playful feel that complements the music's wacky sense of humour. As the decade progressed, these traits and budding relationships with likes of Christian Vogel saw Landstrumm become associated with the so-called wonky techno sound. He also helped rejuvenate Tresor's in-house label with a string of strikingly inventive LPs, which coincided with a move to New York and a dalliance with the city's art scene.
Despite having an instantly recognisable musical personality, Landstrumm was never beholden to one sound. He even went on to rewire grime and dubstep with the UK hardcore tradition on his albums for Planet Mu in the late 2000s, leading to a hybrid sound that still sounds fresh a decade later. In conversation with Holly Dicker, he looks back on over two decades of pushing the sonic envelope and the road to becoming one of Scotland's crucial electronic artists.