After spending much of the '80s as a DJ and promoter of funk and hip-hop, Axel Bartsch began to organize techno parties around Germany in the early '90s. His first proper productions appeared in early 1994 on his own Syndrome Audio imprint under the guise Digital Age, and a duo of Bartsch and his longtime collaborator Asem Shama released records on such other imprints as Bush, Planet of Drums, and Head in the Clouds before Frisbee Tracks signed the duo under the alias Vanguard. It was also during this time that Bartsch began to make a name for himself DJing in clubs under the guise DJ Aki, playing throughout Europe and releasing a series of dancefloor classics under the title of Drumfiles on the Spielzeug label.
But Bartsch's biggest success would come in 2004 when Vanguard's remake of Queen's "Flash" stormed up the U.K. and German dance and pop charts, as well as becoming a pop phenomenon all over Europe. In early 2005, Bartsch began to record albums under his own name for the esteemed Cologne label Kompakt, appearing on a split single with Canadian producer Mathew Jonson on the label's Speicher series. He also established his own label, Sportclub, in late 2005, which presents a decidedly more minimal approach to his productions than previously released. Most recently, he recorded another EP, A Light in the Dark for the parent Kompakt label, that was met with a great reception on the club circuit. ~ Rob Theakston