Welcome back to our record label series, where each month we invite a guest to guide us through their favourite tracks in a given back-catalogue.

This month we’re diving into Munich’s Ilian Tape, who’ve been churning out club slammers since 2007. Started by the Zenker Brothers, the labels output has been prolific, gaining a status as one of Europe’s leading underground dance imprints. The labels sound is a loose take on techno that’s also heavily indebted to dubstep and drum n bass, avoiding puristic categorization in favour of free-wheeling soundsystem artillery.

Our guide this time is London-based DJ/producer re:ni, who released her debut EP, Revenge Body, on the label in early 2022. re:ni also runs re:lax alongside Laksa (another Ilian Tape regular), which began as an NTS show and club night, and has now spawned it’s own record label. She’s been at the forefront of the London scene for a few years now and is the perfect guide for the extensive Ilian Tape catalogue.

“The Zenker Brothers were the first people outside of friends who I sent my music to,” re:ni explains, “Across their productions and DJ sets, Stenny, Skee, Marco and Dario each expertly deliver their own twist on the labels trademark collision of techno, breakbeat and bass and it’s been great to see them indulging in more sub-heavy, raucous UK outings from the likes of Laksa, Walton and Pessimist. Plus there are some label debuts coming at the end of the year from a couple of my favourite artists, so hold tight for those. Utmost respect to the IT family!”

Laksa - Camo Trousers

“It would be blasphemous to not kick things off with a Laksa tune. Arguably one of his rowdiest tracks to date, ‘Camo Trousers’ is ruff, rude and an exemplar of Lax’s characteristically groovy drum programming. Fasten your seatbelts for that 2nd drop before the 3.29min mark, cos jheeze.”

Atrice - Gr. Impact

“Hard to pick one as the whole release is killer; I really love the percs and brooding, gqom-y atmosphere on this 150bpm cut. Makes for a perfect mid-set breather.”

Andrea - Clouds

“Baby’s first IT record! I remember buying this 12” after coming across the label at a record fair in Peckham. This would probably be my tune of choice if I was to introduce someone to Ilian, the dreamiest of pads soaring above ballistic breakbeats, it epitomises the label’s classic sound.”

Stenny - Consumer’s Tool

“This bouncy 2016 banger from Stenny is a chopper’s delight with those razor sharp snares. It’s giving Shed shelving a pinger at a garage rave.”

re:ni - Spirits

“This was the first tune of mine I heard being played in a club when Beneath dropped it at No Symbols. My favourite from my EP.”

Jichael Mackson - A Snake In Da System

“Vintage Ilian in all its rolling glory, with hats sizzling and dancing above a gorgeous dubby soundscape.”

Laksa - Dust

“The beauty of playing records, which I’ve noticed I miss out on more since going digi, is the joy of rediscovering a forgotten or overlooked B-side. Hearing Eris Drew playing ‘Dust’ in room 2 at Corsica completely brought it to life for me. Burial-esque in its melancholic atmosphere, this one is built for angsty late night strolls around South London.”

Stenny - In A Distant Light

“Hard to pick a favourite from his stunning debut LP Upsurge. These days there seems to be a fixation with club music being faster and harder (and IMO lacking emotion) to which this tune is a tonic. Somehow it works whether opening, midway or closing a set - a bit of a blueprint for the vibe of my label re:lax.”

Zenker Brothers - Enjoy Reality

“There’s a knack to writing a tool which provides character as well as functionality, which I'm yet to master. The Zenkers on the other hand deliver this in abundance. With its irresistibly bouncy groove and marching snares, ‘Enjoy Reality’ has lit up the dance many a time for me.”

Skee Mask - Start Up Trak (Edit)

“I could really do a separate feature of all my Skee highlights, but opted for a classic gem in case anyone reading is new to the label, cos it’s an essential. Sit back and let those pads take you to nirvana.”

re:ni will be playing the Ilian Tape night in Berlin on the 4th of November for any of our Germany-based readers. Also check out her recent tape mix Precious Artefacts on re:lax.

For any London heads, Ilian Tape will be taking over The Cause on the 15th of December alongside the likes of Djrum, Mantra, Mia Koden and Forest Drive West.