Studio 1, Studio Eins

[Studio 1]

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From his groundbreaking ambient work as Gas to his acid-fueled excursions as Mike Ink, to his foundation of the pioneering Kompakt empire, Cologne’s Wolfgang Voigt has had an especially active hand in the development of electronic dance music sounds in the last decade and a half. For all the weight the above carries, however, Voigt’s nameless, color-coded Studio 1 12-inch series that ran from late 1995 to 1997 may be the most lauded of them all, and with good reason. These ten records contain the basic DNA for what we know today as minimal techno. In fact, Voigt arguably both invented and perfected the model in one fell swoop; these records might have been equaled since their release, but they haven’t been exceeded.

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This ten-track compilation CD, originally released in 1997, doesn’t provide the complete picture — far from it, actually. Compiling some of the best of the vinyl material along with four otherwise unavailable tracks, Studio 1 (pronounced “Studio Eins,” so don’t think it’s a reggae reference) certainly provides an illuminating look at the early development of the minimal sound: slightly distorted bouncing and popping beats locked in time with bubbling bass lines and a variety of frequencies swirling in their own space. His tracks seemed stripped to the bone but also fairly dense in their moving parts and compositional complexity. These aren’t just beat records, they’re living, breathing beings, as valuable for dancing and mixing as they are for listening and marveling, full of tiny unexpected moments that make for both gasps of wonder and knowing nods.

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Whether it’s nostalgia, greed, vanity, or some combination of the three that led Voigt to reissue first his Gas albums and now this long-out-of-print compilation CD is beside the point — just be thankful it happened. Now if we can just get a reissue of Thomas Brinkmann’s stunning, hypnotic Studio 1 Variationen

ballyhoo  on February 10, 2009 at 9:20 PM

studio 1 and the brinkmann remixes are indeed sweet. the latter is like a mirror image of basic channel – “techno dub” instead of “dub techno”

eric cloutier  on February 11, 2009 at 6:39 AM

there really is no comment to be made about studio 1…

but, as an aside, it must be declared that brinkmann, as a whole, is probably one of the best producers. ever. i’ll gladly debate this point for a while, too.

i just wish he’d dig out that dual-tonearm turntable he had and do some funky, funky shit for us, just one more time…

hutlock  on February 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

I wrote an essay for Stylus Magazine a while back on Brinkmann’s “variations” of Studio 1 and Hawtin’s Concept series if anyone wants to look it up. I don’t think I can post the URL here.

hutlock  on February 11, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Shit, sorry for the multiple posts, guys… my browser was reacting sorta funny about the ones with the links in them. Didn’t mean to sound like I was blowing my own horn THAT much…

eric cloutier  on February 11, 2009 at 11:18 AM

you’ve aged remarkably…uhh…fast?

hutlock  on February 11, 2009 at 2:03 PM


I don’t think I’m letting too much slide by saying that isn’t really me in that pic. However, I do aspire to be an old, old dude sitting in front of a whole wall of vinyl.

ballyhoo  on February 11, 2009 at 3:43 PM

thanks for the link. very informative! dude’s a badass. for anyone who hasn’t seen this yet:

i haven’t heard the concept album… will have to check that out.

Will C.  on February 11, 2009 at 10:00 PM

I’ll probably get this soon. From what I’ve heard of it (it’s streamed at, with interruptions) it’s a really challenging release, but well worth it.

hutlock  on February 12, 2009 at 8:56 AM

ballyhoo: Yeah, that clip is awesome.

I know M_nus reissued the Concept and Concept Brinkmann Variations CDs last year as a limited edition double CD, which is totally the way to hear it. Shouldn’t be TOO hard to still find copies of it, or even used copies of the older seperate issues of the discs.

eric cloutier  on February 12, 2009 at 10:02 AM


you ever looked to see how much a complete concept box set sells for? usually they’re around 800$, peaking at 1500$ for something totally mint.

ballyhoo  on February 12, 2009 at 3:53 PM

thanks, another one for the radar when trolling the used electronic bins and on discogs.

hutlock  on February 13, 2009 at 7:25 AM

Eric: Yeah, I’ve seen that. I have about half of them that I bought when they came out, but distribution wasn’t so great in the Midwest back then and I missed a bunch because people here got shorted on their orders. Plus, my version of #12 didn’t come with a box either :-(

That said, if I want to hear that series, I usually play the CD anyway.

Ever heard the Akufen remixes of Concept? No one ever seems to remember them! The title was Forcept 1 or something. Good stuff!

eric  on February 15, 2009 at 11:23 PM

that forcept record was pretty good! it was supposed to be a series, but nothing else ever came out after that.

the brinkmann / concept 1 cd is the best album to fall asleep to while on an airplane, hands down.

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