A longtime inhabitant of Berlin, John Osborn is a British native who was at the core of the city’s house and techno during its mid-00s heyday. Back then, Berghain wasn’t the tourist mecca it is today, while artists of all types could still thrive in the city off the back of its cheap rent and food. While the Berlin capital might have changed immeasurably in recent times, it still reverberates to a discerning electronic music beat. And John Osborn, of course, still dedicates his life to said sounds. The founder and creative director behind the DRED and TANSTAAFL labels, John very much adopts a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to his own output, only releasing music which he feels truly passionate about. It’s a shrewd way of working that has resulted in respect aplenty among seasoned DJs, and aside from keeping the quality high, it ensures both his and his label’s releases remain both heavily anticipated and highly coveted.
We caught up with John recently to chat through some tunes, and he also supplied us with a lovely mix that shows just where he’s at sound-wise right now. You can listen to that one here, and can check out John’s thoughts on some of our favourite discoveries of recent times below…
Jeff Mills – Sleeping Giants
Classic Mills alien landscapes. Equally beautiful as it is haunting.incredible drum programming, and a track that is full of tension – which imo is what dance music is all about – tension being built and broken and rebuilt over a rich tapestry of different tracks & genres. I could imagine using this either as an opener to a techno set or even mid set as a way to allow myself to redirect the set in a new direction.
Victor Shan – How You Want It (Instrumental Version)
Oh that clap is delicious! And the bassline is incredible. This is special and I had not heard it before. I literally cannot fault this, it has all the elements I love, drums and bass that are so groovy and sexy combined with synths that feel so raw and sci-fi. A truly special track and I have to get this NOW – it makes me want to dance instantly.
Sandy B – Student Night
Oh murky vibes. Loving the wonky weird zones vibe of this. It is a total afterhours mindmelter. The flippant way the vocals are delivered and the bongos are a dream. This is so good and I would love to hear this being dropped at the right time – it would be devastatingly good! It is so hypnotic and playful which is not an easy thing to pull off.
Oneiric – Aurora
Love the synths, and the whole vibe is great. For some reason I do not think I would ever play this as the beast just feels too hectic to me – but I am certain if I heard it being dropped I’d dance my balls off to it. That doesn’t really make sense but yeah… bass & synths are gorgeous
Noel Nanton – Things are Changing
Love the cyber tribal feel here. Feels like a lot of things I was playing around 2012. Has moodymann vibes to it and def kicks… would love to mix this with some soundstream stuff. Epic drum programming and arrangement. Feels so alive.
Love Golf Channel – the tempo is super, instantly reminds me of a chugging weatherall set…. In fact I am sure I have heard this in one of his mixes – could be wrong tho. A def chug banger, one to really swing hips to. There should be more parties playing stuff in this arena – unfortunately, imo, the solid steel hard techno wave dominates, at least here in Berlin.
Mythical Institute – Night Rhythms
This gives me instant iFach Records / Pure Plastic vibes. Shuffely almost micro tech grooves in there.probably not something I would play as it feels a little too thin to my ears – but it would make me dance at the right time and place.
Lionrock – Packet of Peace (Prankster Sound System Mix)
Big tune from back in my early clubbing days. In 93 you could here this almost every weekend and the smiles that would greet you across the dance floor would be huge. Reminds me so much of how clubs were before we had smartphones or even just normal cell phones. Pure london uk rave vibes… Justin Robertson is a great producer and DJ also. Yeah god i love this and would DEF play it – Back rubs and eyes like saucers haha.
Tevo Howard ft. Tracey Thorn – Without Me
Oh man, what can I say about Tevo. He played at some of my parties around the time this came out. His output on Beautiful Granville Records just took the dancefloors by storm. Everyone was playing his stuff in pbar at a time when pbar was such a magical place. Tears of joy – I don’t think i ever played this track, i found his own work far more captivating, but it is still very beautiful. Love his LP on Rush Hour also… yeh big Tevo fan
Samo DJ – Drunkenstein
This one is madness. I like the start of it and would use a loop of this in a warm up set for sure but it opens up into a world of crazy town haha. It makes me feel a little anxious listening on my sofa if I am honest haha – but I can imagine that it really could melt minds during the days when the sun is shining. It has a driving chug to this that i really like and would enjoy dropping in the right setting.
John Osborn’s latest release, Sirius808, is out now via DRED. Buy/listen to the release here