Part nine of ten in Ostgut Ton's tenth various artists compilation and they're pulling out the big guns now to celebrate proceedings with a big bang. Star resident Ben Klock has taken quite a long hiatus from production but he's still got it, as shown on the tunnelling and cyclical cut "Sirens". Fellow resident and Detroit ex-pat Ryan Elliott serves up the soulful and emotive "Smith Lake" which is brilliant and reminds us of Exos or "Dead Eye" era Baby Ford. Finally resident party animal Len Faki surprises many with the ambient mix of his undisputed anthem "Rainbow Delta" and it is absolutely sublime; you can just drift away to this one, you'll see!
Long associated with the harder side of techno - on the evidence of his recent mix and pretty much any of his longer club sets, unfairly so - this release sees Berghain Ben Klock attempt to show a more musical flavour. The first version of the title track sees airy, spacey Detroit chords copper-fastened to a typically dense Klock drum pattern, with both seemingly disparate elements acting in unison to create a climax that’s as epic as Berghain’s Gotham City architecture. A similar approach applies on the second version: it features the same snappy drums and crackling percussion underpinning Klock’s previously undocumented lush leanings, but despite this, it would be wrong to assume that it’s merely a continuation of the first version. Tellingly, there are also dark, droning tones and hints of the ruthlessly utilitarian approach of his colleague, Marcel Dettmann - and these nuances are also audible on the third and final track, "Static Test". Although there is a building chord sequence, it sounds like a distraction to the main event - a rolling, functional techno rhythm, powered by whiplash percussion and an underlying hint of menace. Top release.
Ben Klock's contribution to the Fabric series marks his coming of age as a DJ. The Berghain resident is known for his marathon, often pounding sets, but Fabric 66 sees him condense many of the elements that he covers over a twelve-hour period at the club into just over 70 minutes without losing his flow. From the spiky, bleepy rhythms of DVS1 to the midnight stepping rhythm of Burial's landmark "Raver", fellow Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann's visceral "Allies" and the big room percussive groove from Planetary Assault Systems, the mix takes in many of techno's diverse hues and shades. That Klock also manages to throw a few curveballs into the mix, like Rob Hood's gospel house as Floorplan or Mathew Jonson's neon trance, speaks volumes for his abilities.
Quite a number of techno fans will go weak at the knees when they spot this expansive collaboration between longtime friends and occasional studio partners Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock. It's their first combined release since 2013. Every one of the 7 tracks are full of high quality, atmospheric, late night techno workouts, from the creepy riffs and off-kilter drums of "Phantom Studies", and the horror-influenced post-dubstep shuffle of "The Room", to the raging, mind-altering dancefloor heaviness of "Bay Boy" and sparse, minimalist techno closer "The Tenant". Given their abilities as producers, we'd expect nothing less than superbly produced, club-ready cuts. Predictably, Phantom Studies delivers that in spades.
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