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Cristian Vogel is one of the foremost names in dance-based experimental techno, releasing a flood of consistently challenging and unconventional techno solo and in collaboration with such noted artists as Dave Clarke, Neil Landstrumm, and Russ Gabriel. Chilean born, Vogel fled with his family to the U.K. in the early '80s to escape the dictatorial regime of General Pinochet.
A childhood spent hacking later combined with an interest in programmable music, which soon branched out to include experimental electronic music, and, eventually, techno. Vogel began experimenting with his own compositions in the late '80s, working with members of the Cabbage Head Collective (which included, among others, Si Begg and members of Germ), whose early self-distributed tape cut-ups contributed much to Vogel's nascent aesthetic. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Vogel's fascination for electronic composition led him in 1992 to study in an academic context, earning a degree in 20th-century music at the University of Sussex in Brighton. Fusing the techniques of earlier Detroit, German, and English innovators with insights gained through active study of composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Brian Eno, the results would often agitate his professors. But Vogel's knack for combining elements of flux and sound collage in a style of music normally concerned with rhythmic conservatism and strict repetition has placed him at the bleeding edge of roots-directed experimental techno.
Vogel's most prolific recording period began during the tail end of his academic career, when some of his studio investigations began leaking into the techno underground. Earning the respect of South Shore DJ/musician/record shop manager Luke Slater, Vogel's name soon made it to the ears of minimalist hardcore producer Dave Clarke, resulting in the massive Infra EP, recorded together at the U. of Sussex studio and released on Clarke's Magnetic North label. Vogel followed on the success of Infra with a pair of EPs in collaboration with Russ Gabriel, released on the latter's Ferox and Berlin labels, before landing recording deals with both Force Inc. and Thomas Heckmann's Trope imprint. In 1994, Vogel released his first full-length work, Beginning to Understand, on Force Inc. subsidiary Mille Plateaux, a focused, full-blown application of Vogel's experimental vision to the tropes of dancefloor techno. Close behind came a double-pack on Tresor (Vogel was the first U.K. artist to be courted by the legendary German label) and collaborations with Neil Landstrumm and Si Begg. In addition to his steady DJ activities, Vogel also releases his own and others' material through two personal labels — Mosquito and Quinine — and is often called upon as a remixer. In 1999, Vogel returned to British label shores, signing with NovaMute and releasing Rescate 137 in 2000.