Berlin-based Stewart Walker is a restless innovator. After making a
splash in the late nineties on definitive labels like Force Inc. and
Tresor, he’s had an inestimable impact on the development of current
club sounds, yet consistently chooses the less traveled road: working
as live producer in a world of DJs; injecting emotion into functional
electronic dance music; quietly building a label family of
unclassifiable artists on his own imprint, Persona.
After selling his guitar in 1993, Walker began assembling a synth-
based hardware studio while in university in Athens, GA. Inspired by
Jeff Mills’ Live at the Liquid Room he became obsessed with rhythm. A
string of recordings appeared on Matrix Records in Detroit – including
the 1997 single Amphetamine Sulphate – and later on Deepfried (Grand
Rapids, MI) and Tektite (Austin, TX). A year later, his first European
release Artificial Music for Artificial People was picked up by
Cristian Vogel's British imprint, Mosquito, and Walker hit the live
circuit. Armed with only an AKAI MPC2000 sampler and a DJ mixer, he
did what a DJ never could: move a club crowd with sounds shaped by his
own hands. This original approach was welcomed across Europe and in
Japan as well as his native US.
1999 saw Walker’s debut on Berlin’s Tresor Records with Nothing
Produces Stark Imagery, followed up by the now-classic minimalist
experiment, Stabiles, on Mille Plateaux. These productions proved to
be seminal in the development of minimal techno.
Walker continued to release on labels such as Minus and Force Inc.
until, in 2001, he set up his own imprint, Persona Records. Persona
released eleven records in the US culminating in the second landmark
album of Walker’s career to date: Live Extracts (2003). Live Extracts
captured the sound and atmospherics of Walker’s in-club performances
and was soon licensed by Tresor.
Persona restarted in 2005, this time in Berlin. Now based in Europe,
Walker performed in every capital and made incursions as far afield as
Australia and Russia. Soon after, he released the downtempo album
Grounded in Existence and a breakbeaty techno EP, Travel Plaza. These
releases showcased Walker’s increasing attention to nuance, dynamics,
Concentricity, Walker’s fourth full-length, was released in 2007.