Higher than the Funk

Format: CD
Release Date World: Monday 18th May 1998

1968 Frankfurt by Sea. Stefan Hantel is born to the world and the first rhythm he feels is his mother’s heartbeat. Thousands of beats and hours of clubbing later, Stefan Hantel, alias SHANTEL, releases his album "Higher than the funk" on K7 records, which demands more than a brisk introduction for this multi-instrumentalist. A retrospective – After growing up in Frankfurt, Stefan Hantel went to Paris to study graphic design. In 1991 he opened a club called ‘Lissania’ in the Frankfurt red light district, which he soon renamed the ‘Lissania Essay’. In the blaze of the city’s thumping techno clubs, SHANTEL built up a musical adventure playground for his later domain, from downtempo to a flowing blend of pop and New Electronica. Bands like Whirlpool and DJs like Kruder and Dorfmeister first launched their idiosyncratic mixes in the ‘Lissania Essay’, and SHANTEL’s own influences there such as La Funk Mob, Massive Attack and Karl Lagerfeld were aptly described in Jockey Slut with the words "electronic ocean of the next century".
In 1995 SHANTEL’s first album ‘Club Guerilla’ finally appeared on the Frankfurt label Infracomm!, capturing the quintessence of these four clubbing years, and defined by ‘Spex’ as ‘a highly successful definition of private house music’. This was followed by the’Auto-Jumps EP’ in 1996, with remixes featuring the track’ Bass and several cars’, representing SHANTEL’s first collaboration with Studio K7. Viennese DJ duo Kruder & Dorfmeister used this track on their DJ-Kicks! album. Two more EPs on his own Essay Recordings label earned him not only Howie B.’s approval but had also secured him the opening set for Bj√∂rk’s Frankfurt gig the previous year.
Viennese photographer Bettina Komenda and Frankfurt graphic designer Markus Weisbeck were responsible for the extraordinary artwork of these releases, as of that on the current album.
1998 Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv. The album ‘Higher than the funk’ comes out, with appearances by singers Liane Sommers and Andrea Palladio, as well as Richard Dorfmeister co-producing certain tracks, and is released by Studio K7.
The response has already been outstanding – Higher than the Funk has just been chosen as one of the best 15 albums of the year by U.S. ‘Spin’ magazine, and was nominated by U.S. dance industry magazine URB as the ‘Downtempo album of the year’.
Alongside excellent reviews and features in the English music press including Dazed and Confused, NME, Wire and The Face, SHANTEL has done successful DJ gigs in America, Germany and Israel, where he appeared regularly at the decks as well as recording new tracks.
A remarkable album from a remarkable talent.