Some years ago, trip hop was still the dernier cri, DJ Krush visited
Vienna. Expectations ran high, but Senor K. was about to be blown into
nothingness - by an support act. A certain DJ DSL doin something rarely
encountered: making music with his hands, splitting hip hop atoms with
ease. None of the locals was surprised, they had seen this guy do other
outerworldly things before.
But most spectacular: all his achievements are made in the absence of odd
turntable trickery and standard vinyl exoticisms. Itīs about timing and
discreet interventions. This force is a quiet one.
The most raw and basic hip hop ingredients are used to cook up not your
average b-boy jam, but a universally accessible groove.
Accessible, not because this is some odd pop conspiracy vs. rap, it is a
perfect dislocation of the well known, a musical virus that affects and
mutates the microstructure, leaving body and meaning of hip hop intact:
transcending the format within the format.
It sounds all new and smells like victory.
What a break from the european standard of doctorin' the hip hop, either
shockfreezing it into artificial purism or trying to make it more
"interesting" by bleaching, thinning and the addition of funny noises.
Even our G-Stoners are not entirely innocent here.
DJ DSL's take on hip hop might as well be one of the few profound and
lasting Europe ever had.
On account of this he should have been a global player ever since, but he is
an essentialist by choice and heart. while the herd changed taste and
direction every friday night, DJ DSL over the years remained a reliable
Nothing is more misleading than the full version of his nom du guerre, DSL,
originally Stefan Biedermann, had picked some 15 years ago in typical old
school tongue-in-cheek fashion: D. for DJ (that makes two in the end), S.
for Super and L. for "Leiwand", a viennese slang-term for something beyond
In fact, he is a man of straightforward understatement, full of dry wit and
humor, who easily will give you a damn good expertise on why itīs better to
hang out in your favourite coffeehouse, rather than pursueing a
popstar-lifestyle. Accordingly his vita can't be filed under "career".
After starting in the mid-eigthies with lonesome turntable hometraining,
winning local dmc-dj-competitions and a short stint with his brother's
trashdisco chartrocket 'Edelweiss', he joined 'The Moreaus' a freaky outfit
of hopeless idealists alongside Peter Kruder, Dub Club's Sugar B and
Uptight's Rodney Hunter. After recording an album Austria definitely wasn't
ready for, the bubble went bang and DJ DSL back to his old coffeehouse
routines. He had to be pushed and pulled back on the scene. An era of
legendary DJ-sessions supported by the mc-ing of Sugar B under the monicker
'Swound Sound System' followed.
A truely impressive tribute to the low-key-great-fun-hardly-making-any-money
side of things. When DJ DSL was voted "Best DJ" by influential german mag
Spex in 1995, he again quit the business. He never liked that much
Hadn't the beat-addict come back this fine album wouldn't be around. DJ DSL
even managed to transfer his unique mix-style into production. As an avid
member of the "Mark the 45 King" school of break-buddhism, he gives
seriality and repetition in hip hop a new meaning.
Tunes, that have house-track lenghth, loops that rotate like gyros, breaks,
that break themselves. Rich musicality never overruling the idea of hip hop:
a deep fertilization of the groove.
In Austria, a fabric called 'Loden' is made by the peasants of the alps since
the middle age, yet itīs a high tech product. Wool cloth is fulled, mangled
and compressed tediously by hand to achieve a felt-like fibre structure in
order to be light and breathable as well as warm and waterproof. Ready to be
worn under rain and snow, in winter and summer.
Just like DJ DSL's garments; durable for life.
by Werner Geier