Uwe Schmidt (aka Atom™) has been a significant player in the world of electronic music for the past 25 years, yet he remains somewhat of an enigma among the general electronic-music-listening public. This is partly due to him employing well over 50 different aliases, over hundreds of releases, over multiple genres (some of which he single-handedly invented). But in the industry, he is a producer’s producers—one whom others look to with admiration and inspiration. His repertoire spans quite a range, from unconventional sonic experimentation and sound design to more commercially accessible productions under his LB and Senor Coconut monikers. His mode is to ignore what is generally deemed “acceptable,” and simply produce listening experiences that stand out from the crowd. And this attitude and approach to music production couldn’t be better reflected than it is with his exclusive-to-Beatport Sounds to Sample pack, released today. For example, he’s taken a particularly creative approach to naming his loops’ time signatures, calling them Shuffled, Straight, and Weird Clocks, rather than the usual beat/bar or BPM format.
“It’s always easier to come up with some sort of classification in order to be able to focus and to structure one’s workflow,” Schmidt says of his choice of nomenclature. “Other possible classifications came to mind such as BPM, or even ‘style’ descriptions, yet those would not have reflected the way I tend to see music. Especially when producing a ‘functional’ collection of loops, I thought a simple, descriptive, and understandable classification was necessary. What most determines the functionality of a static drum loop is in fact the question of whether it is stiff, shuffled, or even ‘free’ or unquantized. All those are possibilities.”
No stranger to sample packs, bits and pieces from Schmidt’s 1992 set Cloned:Binary have appeared on seminal releases from Ricardo Villalobos and Luciano. But it’s his original, extremely varied productions that have garnered him the most praise over the years, whether solo or in collaboration with the likes of Burnt Friedman (as Flanger), Tobias Freund, and tons of others. Below we take a look at a few different incarnations of Schmidt’s music over the years.
Here we see just a touch of Schmidt’s playfulness in his bossa nova guise, Senor Coconut, as he covers Trio’s 1982 hit “Da Da Da.” Whether it’s the women in bikinis serving Tiki-mug cocktails or Schmidt’s own killer dance moves, you can’t deny both the level of production and the ability to poke fun at oneself, which encapsulates Schmidt in a nutshell.
The Senor Coconut live performances are something to behold. After his outdoor performance at Mutek Montreal in 2010, Schmidt chats about the development of Senor Coconut though his evolving tastes in electronic music.
Here’s a taste of Schmidt’s more experimental side, Atom™, and the type of visuals that usually accompany his productions and performances under that moniker. A series of black and white patterns morph and twist along to his track “Wellen und Felder,” which was released on Raster-Noton.
Check out this hour-long collage of live analog-techno genius, recorded with Tobias Freund. It’s a testament to Schmidt’s abilities with machines, destroying a dancefloor with funk and soul, through screechy acid lines and deft sampling. The likes of an 808, 909, MC 202, 303 clone, and an MPC 1000 are all crafted together and made to sing like few can do.
A stunning cover of John Lennon’s classic “Jealous Guy,” performed under Schmidt’s LB moniker. Vocoded and injected with warm bleeps and playfulness, this version of “Jealous Guy” manages to keep the emotion and message of the original while still embodying Schmidt’s unique style—the art of truly nailing a cover.