Podcast 744: Carsten Jost
Bittersweet groove from the Dial Records head.
Podcast 744: Carsten Jost
Bittersweet groove from the Dial Records head.
Carsten Jost is the production and DJ alias of David Lieske. Alongside Lawrence (a.k.a Peter Kersten), he heads up the mighty Dial Records which, since its inception in 1999, has left an indelible mark on the European electronic music landscape with seminal works from the likes of Efdemin and Pantha du Prince. While the label might most commonly be pegged as a bastion of moody, minimalist deep house, its discography stretches into the realms of folktononica and even indie rock. Together, the pair used to run the Mathew Gallery in Berlin.
Jost is very much the product of Hamburg, “a melancholic city” he says, where his devotion for house music was dampened by a frustration at what he was hearing. “There was a lot of music going on in Hamburg, but there was something missing…,” Lieske told RA. “And that’s underground house music. It was much weirder, and much slower, and much more unhappy than the music that was popular at the time.” Alongside Kersten, then, he began throwing parties and eventually launched Changing Weather, The Golden Pudel’s first house night, where they would refine their craft by playing to a small but loyal audience. They also met many of the artists that would later come to release on Dial.
Jost began releasing music on the label in 2000, and his early work was sparse and glitchy, offering a colder, darker take on the micro-house sound that was popular at the time. By the middle of the 2000s, though, his music had evolved into a more melodic deep house, but always with the same melancholic undercurrent. Since then, he’s drifted in and out of the public conscience, returning with a dark drone album titled Deathbridge in 2016 and his sublime but typically somber second solo album, Perishable Tactics, in 2017. And now he’s back with his third album, La Collectionneuse, scheduled for release next month. Much to our excitement, he offered to celebrate it with an XLR8R podcast.
Recorded on a gloomy and rainy Good Friday afternoon, Jost’s mix goes to the heart of Dial’s musical identity: expect deep moments of melancholic beauty with a hypnotic groove. Across its 100-minute run-time, it features several gems from Lieske’s collection, including contributions from Swiss producers lb honne and Ben Kaczor, all of which standout. To open and close the mix, he pulls extensively from the ambient leanings of Los Angeles label Jungle Gym Records, hoping to capture the peculiar atmosphere of an early Spring day when there is so much excitement in the air.
01. What have you been up to recently?
The tennis clay court season has just started and you can’t imagine how excited I have been to return to the outdoors after the long training hours on the indoor courts. Meanwhile, I have developed my own line of tennis apparel and I am excited to launch it soon. My third studio album, La Collectionneuse, will be released on May 20 and I have been working on a remix album for it too, with all my favourite producers involved!
02. What have you been listening to?
I have been listening to a lot of ambient records lately, my absolute favourite being the album Reflections by V. Kristoff on Jungle Gym Records. I’ve also been listening to many other releases on this excellent Los Angeles-based tape label. Lawrence just released a new Music For Plants piece on our label, Dial, which is absolutely fantastic and so special. Dungeon-Synth by Secret Stairways and Black Metal by Lamp Of Murmuur have been very much an inspiration and steady companion as well. Also trippy techno is very much back on my mind. I have been enjoying many releases on the hyper-active and digitally resurfaced Axis Records.
03. You’re soon set to release your third album on Dial. What can you tell us about it?
The tracks on the album were recorded over a period of about three years since I returned to Berlin from New York and had time again to work on new music. It’s difficult for me to really say something about my music in general as producing is such a highly intuitive process for me. I never set out to make a certain track; have an idea or place in mind that this particular piece would be for. Mostly I am just trying to create a pleasurable moment for myself with sounds and beats. Once I reach that place with the humble skills and equipment I have, it is usually when a track comes about.
04. How does the release compare to your earlier albums?
I hope this isn’t a let down but I feel (and also kind of hope) that this new album is quite similar to my previous albums and releases. I haven’t changed much about my production process or equipment and I feel comfortable with the music I make. This album really works for myself, but of course as anybody else who does anything public I also have terrible doubts about this music doing anything for other people. But this is what I can do at this moment and of course I hope it spreads some pleasure.
05. When and where did you record this mix?
The mix was recorded on a very gloomy and rainy Good Friday afternoon in my room in Berlin. I hope it transports the slightly peculiar and torn atmosphere of an early Spring day when it is still a bit cold and grey outside, but there is so much excitement and confusion (also worry) about what’s coming inside of you.
06. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
During the last two years, I have been recording a lot of mixes, and I’ve released most of them on my Soundcloud. So I have gotten used to a certain routine of loading and unloading tracks in this way that I really enjoy.
The current mix combines mostly recent tracks from my favourite musicians and record labels like the earlier mentioned Jungle Gym Records or the outstanding De Lichting crew from Amsterdam. Almost every single mix of mine includes a track by Joey Anderson whose music I absolutely adore, and also Achim Maerz. The newish Swiss producers lb honne and Ben Kaczor, who both recently delivered outstanding albums, are also on the mix, both with two tracks).
07. How does it compare to what we might hear you play in a club?
The club of my dreams would very much be able to accommodate exactly the music that I am proposing in this mix, but on a very high volume because I love loud music! In my mixes I always try to express a wide range of emotions and intensities and I think a good club night does that, too. I feel I will forever be the warmup DJ which is really what I love doing in a club most. When the night is still a blank canvas and I am allowed to set people off into this sparkling panorama that needs a solid ground.
08. What’s next on your horizon?
Of course I am very excited about the release of my new album and the remix LP and also other things I have already mentioned. Above all, of course, the coming tennis season and hopefully improvements in all areas of the game.
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01. R. Pierre “Live At Non Plus Ultra” (Jungle Gym Records)
02. Twin Lakes “Orb of Night” (Jungle Gym Records)
03. Jordan GCZ “Burning Chrome” (Minimal Detroit Audio)
04. RDS “Dunes” (De Lichting)
05. Twin Lakes “Jewel of the Northwoods” (Jungle Gym Records)
06. lb honne “a means a” (Vorgott)
07. Ben Kaczor “The Fool” (KCZ / CZT)
08. Achim Maerz “Voices In My Head” (Self-Released)
09. Trux “Pulse” (Lowtec Remix) (Office Recordings)
10. Joey Anderson “Lavander Spaces” (Inimegrecordings)
11. Area Forty_One “Freefall” (Delsin)
12. Ben Kaczor “Passage” (KCZ / CZT)
13. Nathan Kofi “Pacemaker” (De Lichting)
14. Sten “Phantom” (Sushitech)
15. Pulso “Captain’s Inquest on the Bow of the Vessel” (Semantica)
16. Nathan Kofi “Candy Girl” (De Lichting)
17. E.R.P. “Ancient Light” (Solar One Music)
18. lb honne “untitled 09” (Vorgott)
19. V. Kristoff “Golden Pacific” (Jungle Gym Records)