Ben Klock – DGTL Amsterdam
Who would have thought that Ben Klock would drop a set under 130 BPM? Repping the Resident Advisor booth at this year’s DGTL Amsterdam, the Berghain resident delivers a masterful ‘House Set’. DGTL has spread its wings to deliver finely curated festivals under its branding in places such as Barcelona, Madrid, Sao Paolo, Tel Aviv and as far west as Santiago, Chile. DGTL is known for its cutting-edge ability to blend Music with the Arts. This year’s installation collaboration with Ace & Tate is proof. Seeing as Klock himself is also renowned for his amalgamation of live production and music, as seen in his Photon parties, the set he provides here is one for the ages.
Though it’s been labelled as a ‘House’ set, it can be more accurately described as diluted Techno. Ringing up the curtain with a dark tense beginning, the magician DJ seems to lock a chastening groove over the dancefloor. Dropping Marco Shuttle’s ‘The Moon Chant‘, the Berliner follows up with cuts from the stellar New York label L.I.E.S., as well as Mandingos ‘Another Dub On Earth‘. Succeeding comes DJ Hell’s drum-focused 1998 classic ‘Jack The House’, a nasty malapert track that will send the most rigid of dancers into lunacy. Laying down full on breaks near the half way mark, things go full alien EBM on the Identified Patient’s ‘The Female Medical College Of Pennsylvania‘. Close to the wrap up Klock goes full Berghain mode with Biemsix’s ‘Clear‘ serving some sublime Dub Techno. The German veteran then finishes off with Kevin Yost’s irrepressible, time-transcending track ‘It’s Getting Bigger‘. For those familiar with the Techno titan, the set may feel more flaxen than his usual raucous sound. We see this is a testament to Klock’s savoir faire.
Massimiliano Pagliara – Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen
Establishing an equilibrium between the downtempo and the groove is feat not easily attained. Maintaining intensity at the expense of a higher BPM requires high level of prowess. Young Marco, John Talabot & DJ Koze are just some of the producers we’ve covered who deserve accolade in this respect. Although the speed of the track can arbitrary (after all Marcel Dettmann savours playing Techno at a lower BPM), certain producers make the conscious choice to release their originals in such form. Massimilano Pagliara is another, with his 2009 Live At Robert Johnson release ‘Sometimes At Night‘ establishing him as a connoisseur of slower tempo production that maintains the vibes of a memorable party. ‘Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen’ is a 2014 release coming from his ‘With One Another‘ LP. Paying ‘homage to the past while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of dance music into the future‘, it is a deserving introduction to a DJ who finds comfort in his own lane.
The symphonies of Pagliara are often characterised by their Mediterranean flair. ‘Harmonize‘ is a prime example of his use of mellifluent strings that carry the legacy of Italo Dream House. His love for vintage drum machines is put on display here as the loops sounds unrefined by processing. The analogue bassline used looks to be revived in his recent release ‘Feel Like‘, coming from his latest LP. The DJ professes to becoming “addicted to machines” upon buying his ‘first analog synth, a Roland SH-101‘. Massimiliano’s track titles are often poetic in tone, with ‘Flying Away From You‘ & ‘As The Night Breathes’ being some of the names amongst a richly lyrical list. The elegiac melody of ‘Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen’ reflects such undertone. The cadence and the contagious rhythm, however, prevents the track from being desolate. As the Juno main chord pads enter with relentless rhythm, the listener becomes fully immersed in the musical world of Massimiliano Pagliara. Continue reading
Marcel Dettmann – Vertigo (Wincent Kunth Remix)
Our first introduction to Marcel Dettmann came in the form of his 2008 seminal mixtape, Berghain 02. A business card of sorts that presented a snapshot of Klubnacht, showing that whoever turns up will be left in a state of obsequiousness. Featuring an unreleased T++ cut as well as bangers like Risque Rhythm Team’s ‘The Jacking Zone‘, Shed’s ‘Warped Mind‘ and Tadeo’s ‘4‘, the mix rubber-stamped Dettmann’s fabled status in the underground scene. Not long after an album followed, released by Ogstut Ton. In conversation with The Quietus Dettmann mentions his love for EBM and all styles of electronic music, which is seeped into his debut LP. On the remix package, however, were 4 tracks, paying homage to originals that never reached the record store shelves. Two coming from his good friend Norman Nodge, two by the mysterious Wincent Kunth. With his bio on the MDR Records webpage being just a photo, you won’t find much else about him apart from learning that the producer hails Switzerland, and is a close associate of Dettmann. Being more elusive than a post-Communist era Yugoslavian leader wanted for war crimes, Kunth’s remix of ‘Vertigo’ let’s the music speak on his behalf.
Wincent so far has only released a four tracker on MDR named MDR 08. The beautiful ‘Relove (Edit)‘ one of four gems distilling a crystalline synth stab over a dubby bassline. Apart from that, Kunth’s catalogue comprises of unreleased tracks for Dettmann and Ben Klock’s Fabric mixes, as well as a collaboration with Dettmann for his DJ Kicks mix. Tense and atmospheric, they all diverge with no two tracks sounding alike. Boomkat describes Vertigo being ‘driven by lushly hypnotic bass sequences and etched with alleviated Detroit synthlines’. That word hypnotic most adequately describes all of Wincent’s cuts to date. His ‘Vertigo’ interpretation kicks off with a thudding sub bass glittered with assuage, rasping percussion over the top. Crafted with precision for for a mix in. Morbid and defiant, the rhythm of the added bassline to put simply is engrossing. It perfectly reflects the sullen glum nature of the EPs picture of the moon’s surface. Synthlines that billow like laboratory steam preluding the emergence of bio-hacked creature, limber ever so slowly. The end result is grim stuff. With the runtime being shy of 6 minutes, yes the track is a tool at best, but certainly one that’s abstruse. Continue reading
Ellen Allien – Take Me Out
The sub-genre of Electro can be seen as a conundrum. Its wide-ranging spectrum includes the bass-heavy interpretations of Aux 88, aquatic tones found in Drexciya productions and the Electroclash renditions of The Hacker. In an article titled “A Not So Brief History of Electro, Part One” Steve Mizek claims “the genre is as lovable as it is difficult to pin down“. A mother figure for the techno idealists of Berlin, Ellen Allien has a solid number of Electro-associated releases traced in her discography, including ‘Augenblick‘ & ‘Magma‘. In the same fashion to Seth Troxler, Allien carries the triple threat of DJing, producing and at times providing the vocals to her own tracks. As her 2009 collaboration with Apparat ‘Way Out‘ demonstrated, Ellen is a competent vocalist. Her 2012 EP ‘Galactic Horse‘ released on her label BPitch Control featured “Take Me Out”. A track for the fans of Juan Atkins‘ style, it is a “bone-dry, crunching” revival of 1980s Electro.
The interpretation offered here by Allien is much more minimal and lower-tempo. Co-produced with fellow Berlinian duo Skinnerbox it aims to take the listener into the deeper state with its hypnotic lure. Characteristically for the collaborators’ production, the track’s low EQs elements bring a pulsating thump. The sequencing of the drums transgress the 4×4 beat structure, similarly to Carl A. Finlow’s ‘Anomaly‘. Here, the production does not share the “psychedelic end of the electro” associated with Helena Hauff. In that extent the fairly linear chord-arrangements might lead some to describe it as “electro-pop”. Drenched with reverb, capricious bursts of strident synth piercing. Allien’s seductive female vocals merge with a low pitched duplication. This evokes a sense of flirtation, perhaps reflected between a synergised dance between two dancers who’ve come across each other on the dancefloor. For the track’s conclusion, the triplet arpeggios lead the dissolving kick into oblivion. Despite a 122 BPM, ‘Take Me Out’ maintains a sense of magnetic suspense throughout its 7 minute playtime. Continue reading
Yan Cook – Noisey Neighbours
My fellow Aussie mate upon having a sterling, energetic night out would often state that he’s feeling ‘cooked.’ Ironically, the chap being reviewed here runs a label called Cooked Records. And it’s probably because listening to any of his famed, finely-tuned Built-for-Berghain bangers leave punters feeling the same way my mate felt. Ukrainian Yan Cook delivers yet another belter with this fine release on Scottish techno legend Slam’s Soma Records. A 2018 release, ‘Noisy Neighbours’ certainly lives up to its name. Extending his production line to labels such as ARTS & Delsin, the man is just as adapt at slower cuts like ‘Plot‘ or his remix of Heiko Laux’s ‘Neutron’. This packs so much dynamite it’ll break the resolve of even the most rigid slouches on the dancefloor.
Paul Ritch is a chief deliverer of such epic locked grooves, and this sounds reminiscent of his track ‘Pacemaker‘. A venomous Bass that’s focused yet slinky, it hovers in and out like a tunnel bore. The way it bounces back and forth just before the fourth bar makes it feel like the track is bounding forward. Raudive’s remix of Chrom’s ‘Cygnet Glacé’ is another proponent of such crafty tricks. Where Ritch used a skeletal approach, this is merely a foundation in the building. Rattling sonar soundscapes pulse, flexing the cerebral in the same way as Function’s ‘Disaffected‘ brings about that hurtling-through-space feeling. Eery recordings of evil alien like noises skirt across from left to right, adding atmosphere to a dystopian world that bathes in distant background sirens. Flickering hats come in and out before a sequence of modulated late 90s style hard trance stabs complete the picture. Continue reading
Matrixxman – Initiation (oRIGINAL MIX)
If you’ve ever seen one of Matrixxmans sets, you will know he loves to show the crowd why he’s got the word Matrix in his name. Certainly one for the journey, these are always unrelenting and pumping. Released in 2018 on Dekmental, ‘Initiation’ seems crafted as a perfect track for 5 mins into a set as though a space trooper has just accepted his mission to combat.
From the off, low end sepulchral bass chugs in like it’s engineered for the big room. Squelchy alarm like chords reverberate around the track severing as a warning signal, as though it’s an alarm bell rung by the Death Star in Star Wars. It’s sound it so piercing it will leave leaves the dancer shuddering with anticipation on proceedings of a set. Matrixxman is a fan of 90s sounds, and the melodic bleeps are reminiscent of Jaydee’s ‘Plastic Dreams‘ with it’s galactic leanings, as though one is peering out the side of the space station looking at the worlds beyond. Continue reading
Peter Van Hoesen – Face of Smoke
Face of Smoke by Peter Van Hoesen appears on Beatport Playlist ‘Berghain Mainroom Essentials’ and for good reason. The cavernous nature of this track seems perfect for Berghain’s aesthetic nature, minimal but barbarous. I first heard on the haunting and brooding Sandwell District’s Resident Advisor Podcast; it was a perfect fit with it’s sinister and shadowy nature. A snarling, yet perfectly engineered track it cannot be listened to on basic earphones to appreciate it completely.
Traversable Wormhole – Closed Timelike Curve (Marcel Dettmann Remix)
Marcel Dettmann’s remix of Adam X’s original track is what it is – a song so perfectly crafted for the dance floor. It’s more brash than a Trump-Kanye lovechild. Released in 2010 on Chris Liebing’s CLR label as part of a series of EPs, it really does make you feel like you’re in a Closed Timelike Curve, surrounded by a pounding bass.
Sedvs / Peel – Still On (Original Mix)
Trance is definitely back in the scene. Over the past few years, it has been creeping its way more and more into the sets of prominent techno DJs, who’ve previously played it with abandon prior to the minimal explosion of the mid-naughties. Like this track, more and more techno tracks are incorporating trance-like, euphoric elements, (Stephan Bodzin’s remix of The Beginning is a great example) helping bring more panned soundscapes to the minds of club goers. And its certainly clear as to why.