Painting by Sam Francis
Stephan Laubner rarely releases on labels other than his own Something Records, but when he does, it’s usually as a means to depart from his signature motifs. Take his two efforts for Hamburg’s Smallville, for example. “Neurotransmitting Clouds On The Secret Freeway” and Silent State were incredible refinements of his somber, druggy sound. Whereas his self-released tracks often signify a live, mistakes-in approach, these releases are both exceptionally nuanced, their smoothly contoured elements stuck in hypnotic, perpetually locked motion. Flying Saucer Attack, Laubner’s new EP, marks his return to the label.
You can count out the UK shoegaze act as an influence (the mind reels at how that collaboration might sound); judging by the eccentric beatdown house on display here, the title is a reference to the UFO emblazoned on Something releases. The battering drums and wheezy, wavering tones on “Inverted Reality” recall the gritty, urgent bump of early-90s (pre-1994) hip-hop, but in lieu of an MC, Laubner inserts a demented, menacing synth line. The comparatively downcast “Where Have You Gone” features one of the producer’s distinctive drowsy blues melodies, with stabs of B-movie synth vox lending it a considerable amount of spook. And “Your Turn” finds Laubner in a frantic — if not quite jacking — mode, sticking a bulbous bass line amid constantly shifting drums as blurred synthesizer creeps on the edges. It may not reach the elegant heights of his prior Smallville releases, but trust that the “Twilight Zone” house of Flying Saucer Attack is perfectly timed for Halloween.