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6 Of The Best: Cord Labuhn Invites Us To ‘Sleep Out’


Cord Labuhn is going it alone. Whilst probably still best known as one half of dancefloor destroying duo Robosonic – the pairing are currently ‘geographically displaced’ but fear not fans, are still very much committed to their work together – Cord has been embarking upon a number of solo projects of late, crafting sounds designed to stir the soul rather than moves the soles for his new outlet OUTTAKES.

Billed as a series of “musical compositions – songs, beats, tools, recordings and sonic fragments designed to encapsulate a time, vibe and feeling” these collections see Cord open up a selection of his personal folders and archives to give listeners an intimate insight into his mindset and creative processes whilst simultaneously showcasing the talents of some his closest friends and supporters.

Launching with a golden-tinged, therapeutic mixtape titled ‘Sleep Out’, the specially curated set of selections aims to frame the most meditative of tracks into one warm, sleepy package. Clocking in at 3 hour and 48 tracks, we asked Cord to talk us through six tracks that define the mix and reveal what makes him tick.

Kangding Ray / Sub.Res / Raster-Noton

Years ago I was at “c/o pop” – a festival with a conference, workshops and panels in Cologne. The label Raster-Noton, which I had only heard of before, had their stand or rather a room at some sort of fair area. I liked their abstract artful CD packaging so much, that I decided to buy a CD, which I almost never did at that time. So quite randomly ‘Stabil’ by Kangding Ray became my most listened-to album of that year I think. It was an absolute sure shot for certain moods, situations, people and it unlocked the Raster-Noton spirit and catalogue for me. So you find more stuff like Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto in ‘Sleep Out’.

Robag Wruhme / Anton II / Pampa

A perfect example how artists mostly known and booked for house and techno sometimes seek balance in the most calm and meditative music. In this case, the cut was even released on Pampa, a label also rather known for dancefloor compatible output.

Nils Frahm / Familiar / Erased Tapes

This man needs no introduction, but let me pay some homage. I’d say Nils is one of the greatest music performers of my own generation. A humble genius, he has everything in his arsenal: vision, vibe, skill, everything and nowadays he receives all the attention he deserves, playing extraordinary venues across the globe. We got to know each other briefly between shows and at chance airport meetings in New York, Barcelona and Berlin. Hopefully we’ll collaborate for my OUTTAKES series or some other project.

I couldn’t really decide which track to feature in the Sleep Out because there are so many that I really dig. ‘Familiar’ always stood out as a beautiful piece, which instantly calms my mind, body and soul.

Stimming / The Train / Diynamic

And another example of someone that spends a lot of his time touring clubs and festivals playing dance music and at some point branched out to record a whole different album some years ago. Much love and respect for Martin Stimming, who created his own signature sound, which retains its well crafted consistency whilst remaining creative. Having supported quite a lot of his house tracks over the last decade, I was especially happy this tune fitted in here so well. Released on Hamburg’s visionary house label Diynamic, it feels a bit like a nod to my own past having landed a Robosonic hit with our friends Adana Twins on the outlet a few years ago.

Drilling and the Club of Gore – Sympathy

I have some family ties in West Germany’s Ruhr area and when I discovered this band I felt home somehow. Bohren is an outstanding band from Mühlheim rooted in dark and death metal and from what I know these musicians decided to slow down their music drastically and play a form of super slow motion snail Jazz, with their signature ‘düsternis’ (darkness). Much of their stuff is actually more depressive than I am but this tune, ‘Beileid’ (condolence) is so calm, patient and decelerated that I can fall asleep in peace and say goodbye to any restlessness of the day.

Cord / Gone Love / Outtakes

My self-fulfilling prophecy. I got lost in a stoner loop a long time ago, when I recorded some piano through guitar effect pedals, and flipping samples on a NI Maschine. I knew it would become more or less this piece, but it took me a light year to finish it off. I did work on it often as the last thing of the day to calm down after producing Robosonic’s trademark blend of house and techno. I would become tired immediately and leave the track alone after just a few minutes zoning – or maybe record a take playing my Mom’s accordion or so to add a subtle layer or two. I thought it was a good sign that it made me tired and lazy and I didn’t want to lose that approach by overproducing or overthinking the final product. I knew I wanted to have this either as the first or last track in Sleep Out, so I had to put elements in order at some point.

Years ago I made a mixtape called “Heart Ship Home” and produced the opener ‘Heartships’ myself, which was dedicated to my beloved girlfriend. Over the many years we spent together the term (and title of a Mark Knopfler song) ‘Go Love’ became a symbol for giving each other space and individual freedom based on deepest trust, to go abroad, travel, to worship life and love to the max without losing the feeling of a safe home and being rooted. Last year – really just when the track was finally arranged and produced and hence, also when Sleep Out was finished with its last missing ingredient – this tune and title became a symbol for that whole story, as my love had suddenly gone. Spending most of her time in a whole different place and space, allowing too much of a contradiction, and love to tear us apart.

So I had compiled the most cosy selection of music to rock myself to sleep – which was the initial idea: a tool for whenever I have to rest between club gigs, airports, hotels, trains – but I became awfully insomniac over the situation. I felt I had to wait with this release (relief!) until I had recaptured my ability to rest in peace. Meditation, rational reflection and an incredible amount of appreciation and love by my realest allies was key. You know who you are, dream on.

Like what you hear? You can download your copy of ‘SLEEP OUT’ now here and keep up to date with all things Cord over on his respective Facebook and Soundcloud pages. You can also find the full tracklist to his mammoth mixtape below.

Cord / Gone Love / Outtakes
Gregor Schwellenbach / Kaito’s Everlasting / Kompakt
Stimming / The Train / Diynamic
Addison Groove / Locked Groove / 50 Weapons
Flying Lotus / Intro / Brainfeeder
Guillaume And The Cotou Dumonts / Intermde / Circus Company
Nils Frahm / Familiar / Erased Tapes
Nonkeen / The Invention Mother / Erased Tapes
Robot Koch / Love / Project Mooncircle
Matias Aguayo / Walty / Kompakt
Kangding Ray / Sub.Res / Raster-Noton
Dimlite / Yes Welcome / Now Again Records
Hudson Mohawke / Star Crackout / Warp
Sigur Ros / Ba Ba / Geffen
Jon Hopkins / Breathe This Air / Domino
Noisia / Paper Doll / Vision
Dimlite / Stromausfall / Sonar Kollektiv
Charles Atlas / Demus / Ochre
Robag Wruhme / Anton II / Pampa
The Genle People / Superstar / Rephlex
Kollektiv Turmstrasse / Dazwischen / Connaisseur
Prefuse73 / Simple Loop / Warp
Arovane / Ten Hours / City Center Offices
Kangding Ray / Altiz / Raster-Noton
Philip Jeck / Anatomy / Touch
Loscil / Mistral / Kranky
Raz Ohara And The Odd Orchestra / Love For Mrs. Rhodes / Get Physical
Nikita Quasim / Ghost / Clown_And_Sunset
Robag Wruhme / Anton I / Pampa
Roman Fluegel / Pianopiano / Dial
Jacaszek / Dale-gale / Ghostly International
Donato Dozzy / Vaporware 01 / Spectrum Spools
8GB / Vingt Mille Lieues
Burial / Forgive / Hyperdub
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto / Naono / Raster-Noton
Jon Hopkins / Abandon Window / Domino
Greg Gives Peter Space / February Space Duet / Erased Tapes
Alva Noto / Monophaser / Raster-Noton
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto / Logic Moon / Raster-Noton
Dadub / Endless / Stroboscopic Artefacts
Triangleline / Chronon and Echo / Other People
Darkside / Sitra / Other People
Valentin Stip / Sigh / Other People
Ezekiel Honig / Drafting Hindsight / Other People
Bohren und der Club of Gore – Beileid
Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm / a2 / Erased Tapes
Cord / Unter Deck / Outtakes