John Osborn is one of the few artists who have succeeded breaking through and maintaining his position as a worldwide renowned DJ and producer without a by comparison hefty discography. Perhaps it is because he has been cautious, planning his output meticulously, not letting anything excessive slip through, guarding the finished product carefully. Or perhaps it is because he is one of the most prolific selectors out there (there is for sure a distinct sound coming to mind when you talk about a “John Osborn DJ set”). Perhaps it is both of these qualities.
Berlin based Osborn is the founder and creative director of DRED and TANSTAAFL RECORDS. The latter a label founded (with October) in 2011, which also branched out in 2013 into sublabel TANSTAAFL PLANETS. Together the two imprints exist as home for 14 releases in total – whereof four bears Osborn’s name as producer. Excellently produced house EP’s of solo- and collaborative work. John’s impressive productions again are of a very distinguished sound; all diverse, whether bouncy or more warped, they still contain his signature dark, deep, metallic resonating, dubby sound. You definitely hear his UK roots in there too: nuances of jungle, bass and experimental electronic music soaked up at warehouse parties from his youth.
John’s latest project is his own imprint DRED. Founded in 2017 and hinting to the industry that times have changed, a new chapter has started. Here Osborn is in sole creative control, calling all the shots without interference or compromise. John says himself that “’TANS’ and ‘TANSPLAN’ were always purely about the dance floor. DRED will be about music for thought and movement”, showing that DRED has another significance for him. The first three releases by S:VT, Tom Dicicco and Pablo Mateo came out last year. 2018 has more in store, with the first release being Reformed Society’s “….”. John will also appear on each record with his own interpretation of one of the original tracks, showcasing his talent as a remixer.
John Osborn has over the years been a reoccurring DJ at Berlin institutions such as Tresor, Cookies, Panorama Bar and the Sub:stance parties at Berghain, places where he has been able to sharpen and spread his sound. When John is behind the decks you see and hear someone who is just as passionate about the music as he is about the technical aspect of the work. Switching from vinyl to CDJ’s (he still buys records, only now he digitalizes them for club use) a new aspect of DJ’ing opened up for John, he uses words like “surgical”, to describe how much he truly enjoys using their full capacity. Having collected music since 1992 John Osborn can deliver almost anything within his field, however he is at his happiest when playing his trademark style of playful hypnotic deep house. A sound undoubtedly connected to his own productions, where the focus always lies on the dancefloor, whether it be peak time or a more floating afterhours moment.
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