An Inside Look at Lilly Palmer's Techno Imprint, Spannung Records
Nov 21, 2022
Ana Monroy Yglesias
2 min read
When the COVID-19 pandemic upended everyone's lives in 2020 and made room on our calendars, many people tried out new hobbies and creative and professional endeavors. For German techno DJ and producer Lilly Palmer, it was the perfect time to start her own label, Spannung Records.
"In German, Spannung has two meanings. On the one hand it means voltage, and on the other hand it means tension," she told Gray Area in 2021. "I love this wordplay because tension can be either positive or negative. But it also reminds me of the job of a DJ—you're always under tension."
Adding another layer of meaning to the name, she met her boyfriend, Dutch producer Egbert, because of his track, "Electrify." Like many dance music producers' imprints, it began as an outlet for her own music, as well as that of Egbert, and also for their collaborations together.
In 2022, it's grown to include other techno artists' music as well, so far giving a home to works by A.D.H.S., Frankyeffe, and Warp Brothers. Since it's her label, Palmer is selective with what she releases on it, although she's very open to listening to anything she's sent.
In terms of what she's looking for, "It should be techno and I should be able to play it in my sets," she explained to Gray Area. "It can be less hard [than my music], it can be softer. Sometimes I have really melodic tracks to end the set. But in general, I would call it raw, underground techno."
The first release came in May 2020: Palmer and Egbert's timely rework of Warp Brothers' 2000 hard trance classic "We Will Survive." They transformed it into a spacey, acid techno heater. The most recent release came out in July, a speedy, frantic techno track called "Paranoize" from Berlin's A.D.H.S.
With Spannung, Palmer opts for single releases over EPs as she feels the second track tends to get overlooked, which is disappointing when you've put so much time and love into all of them. If she's going to release two tracks from an artist, she'd rather do two separate single releases than put them out together as an EP. This makes sense for dance music, yet it's somewhat unique to Spannung.
Keep an eye on Palmer and Spannung for more fresh, intricate techno tracks ranging from hard to melodic.