Xhin : The Experimenter: Ominous And Cutting Edge Techno
Singapore producer Lee Xhin will hit Australian shores for the first time this month. His take on techno has been shown love from around the world and attracted support from across the DJ spectrum. Xhin's tracks have a pulsing and driving quality, at times turning dark and dubby in style and often experimenting with textures within the techno framework. On the other hand, his mixes explore the boundaries, often range far and wide across the musical spectrum.
Xhin has been writing electronic music since the late nineties and he independently released his first EP, Xycle, in 2003. It was a great move that brought him recognition from outside of Singapore. The following year he released his debut album, Supersonicstate. On the line from his home between tour dates, he shares his musical history. "I started playing the piano and guitar at a younger age. I was never into electronic music at first. I got into rock music in my teens and I was in several bands for a few years. That was before I discovered Detroit techno and IDM. Then, I decided to learn to make electronic music all by myself."
In 2006 Xhin was discovered by the German label Meerestief, and his remix for them of Five Green Circle's track Roman's BBQ set dance floors on fire across Europe. After releasing a number of singles and an album for Meerestief Xhin met the German producer, Lucy, and a great artistic relationship was formed. In 2009 he released a single on Lucy's label, Stroboscopic Artefacts, and last year Xhin achieved much more international notice with support from producers and DJs such as Luke Slater, Function, Speedy J and Jerome Sydenham. It's a great place for him to be and it has lead to increased bookings. "Usually the bigger names will have more listeners or a bigger audience and eventually my tracks will reach out to the people in a quicker way. The request for gigs around the world has rapidly increased."
After some experimentation Xhin has now started to perform using iPads as controllers: "After realizing I could not do much with vinyls when I started DJing, I moved on to Serato, then Traktor and now Ableton with just iPads as the core controllers. I would say it's about freedom. I can customize my knobs, faders and buttons to let me perform in my own comfort zone. iPad has never being the so called standard controller for me, it might work just the way I want it now but you know, technology keeps on evolving so we might not know what's next."
At the start of this year Xhin put out a collaborative release with Lucy on respected Frankfurt label CLR: "We got together and tried to make some tracks while I was still in Berlin after our Stroboscopic label night at Suicide Circus last year. 'LX' came along while we were having problems giving our tracks better titles!" he laughs. One of the great things about Xhin has been the variety of mixes that he has done. That diversity is something that he takes seriously: "Be it old school, new school or whatever school - as long as it is good music - I will try to play it out and mix it in a new way. That's my typical set."
The rest of 2011 is shaping up to be busy for Xhin with constant touring and a few releases: "A full length album is to be released on Stroboscopic, some remixes and maybe EPs for other labels. As for gigs, after this Australian Tour, I will be back in Europe for some more shows."
Xhin [SIN] plays at Miss Libertine on Saturday March 19.
BY SIMON HAMPSON