Lee Van Dowski: The very name exudes style and intrigue—a country lord, perhaps, who at night throws open the manor gates to host all-night bacchanals legendary for their wine and song. And though the French-born, Geneva-based artist may not have a manor to his name, the rest isn’t far off the mark.
Born Renaud Lewandowski, Lee has earned a reputation as a kind of dark prince of uplifting electronic music—a trickster who spreads his mischief via long, undulating DJ sets and bewilderingly epic releases. No surprise to learn that Lee’s roots go deep. His musical prehistory may be similar to many of his generation: raised on rock and hip-hop, complete with the obligatory attempt to learn to play guitar followed by short-lived bands with schoolmates. But Lee was the beneficiary of his stepfather’s eclectic musical tastes, which spanned classical, jazz, funk, rock and even musique concrete and academic electronic music.
Lee got involved with the infamous Dragon Bal raves, where Miss Kittin got her start. He came to production beginning with an MPC2000 but translating the sounds in his head into its fat, blocky pads wasn’t as easy as it seemed. His ambitions took Lee to Geneva, where he earned a degree in music engineering, but it may have been his next job, working in a Lausanne music shop, that really signalled his entry into the world of electronic music. It was here that Lee would meet both Quenum and Luciano—and from there, as they say, the rest is a history between 2004 and 2013 you should know (great collabs and releases on Cadenza, Vagabundos parties, etc.)
Outside of Cadenza, Lee was also industrious, releasing a full-length album with Quenum on Soma in 2006 titled ‘As Told On The Eve Of…’ while further bolstering his production credentials on an impressive list of labels such as: MOOD (Nicole Moudaber’s record label), Wagon Repair, Cocoon, Bedrock, Suara, Soma, Rekids, Kling Klong, Intacto, Material, BPitch Control, Snatch!, Cabin Fever, Ilian Tape, Noir, Rebellion (sub-label of Crosstown Rebels) and Mobilee (the label presided over by Anja Schneider and Ralf Kollmann) that rang strongest for Lee when he was a looking to creatively challenge himself after his Cadenza years. Most recently, the Swiss maestro joined to Dave Seaman and Steve Parry’s highly esteemed imprint Selador, with the surprising “Mirage 4”.
In any case, his music career had been always steady and full of dancefloor weapons. To name just a few: surreptitiously entitled “050504” released on Mobilee (a deep tribal gem canned by Sven Väth that became one of the year’s biggest techno tracks after it was first debuted in Anja Schneider’s Essential Mix ; 6th most charted track of the year on Resident Advisor and hitting the tech house top10 for quite a while), for the same imprint “ELLE” (most charted track in RA’s top50; #2 on Beatport’s techno top 100 chart), and of course his latest LP released: “Cerca Trova”. Let’s don’t forget either “WWW”, this time via Cocoon. We stand as obedient soldiers if we talk about some of his remixes. For example, the one of the legendary “By the Kiss» by M83, euphoric sounding Pig&Dan’s “The Saint” (Elevate) or Dave Seaman’s “Nightfalls” (Selador), absolute top sellers on Beatport!
Lee Van Dowski represents tirelessly the passion for the music. It is moving always in exciting new directions that keep him at the very top of the pile… And definitely, he has lots more to come.