Review: As befits one of techno's most revered labels, Tresor 30 is a comprehensive collection that takes in a breath-taking array of artists and sounds. The compilation features classics, such as Underground Resistance's "Final Frontier", remixed here into a clubbier shape, the spellbinding deep techno of Juan Atkins' "I Love You" and Jeff Mills' timeless banger, "Late Night", one of Tresor's signature tracks. These eternal works sit alongside contributions from newer artists: in particular, Afrodeutsche's "Can't Stop" is a wonderfully dreamy affair, while RRoxymore's "Multiplicity" teases new twists from percussive techno. Thirty years after its inception, Tresor is showing no signs of slowing down.
Review: Next up on Fjaak's label is a real treat for techno fans, with Norman Nodge releasing his first new material in a number of years. Though it is limited to one track, "The Raid" sees the Berghain doyen do what he excels at: over a pounding kick and merciless percussion, Nodge drops splintered riffs and looped vocal samples. Rifts & Dajusch's "Dubiety" is a similarly moody affair, but the pair draw on menacing chords and a driving rhythm to make the same impact. Lastly, Fjaak themselves make an appearance, with the trio's "Candide" resounding to rolling break beats and a dense bassline.
Review: To accompany Heiko Hoffmann's photography book of the same name, Above Board has compiled some of the best tracks to feature in Berlin clubs from the early 90s to nowadays. No Photos features the dramatic Detroit techno of 3MB's "The 4th Quarter" , while Mijk van Dijk and Tanith's 9-10-Boy project and Alec Empire's "SuEcide" capture the wide eyed rave of the early 90s. The compilation also features signature Berlin techno tracks - ss any record more closely linked to Hardwax/Berghain than the Maurizio Remix of Vainqueur's "Lyot"? -while the hypnotic bleeps of Sleeparchive's "Elephant Island" is a true minimal classic. Like the book, No Photos is expertly curated and executed.
Review: On their latest EP, Berlin duo Fjaak continue to give back to the venues that they performed at pre-pandemic, with the proceeds from the sales of SYS02 to support a number of well-known clubs. First up is the world-renowned Tblisii party "Bassiani", with an acid-seared banger, while Dublin's wild "District 8" is honoured with a raucous, hardcore-influenced break beat techno affair. The pair's tribute to "Flash" is just as euphoric, as a pounding techno affair is shot through with surging chords, while "Basement" is more measured, but only marginally so, as vocal samples are fused with atmospheric synths to create the kind of uplifting sound that'll prevail once these clubs re-open.
Review: Pinch welcomes Berlin duo Fjaak to his Tectonic label with a deathly assault of wayfaring basslines, annihilistic drums and future-retro acid. Leading with the title-track WH?T, Fjaak's approach to a Tectonic EP leaves no holes unbarred and at a swift three and half minutes long it's a no-nonsense ride to the top. Pinch's version adds a second wave of brutal hybrid form techno and dubstep to the EP with his remix - the kick drums are seriously massive - with acid techno tunneling through a textural abyss of atmospheres in "XoXp0rt" that's given a breakbeat makeover in the Cocktail Party Effect remix. Seriously heavy; approach with caution.
Review: In these uncertain times, Fjaak can be relied upon to provide some much-needed entertainment. On the seventh instalment of the trio's self-titled series, "It's Time Again" is sure to bring some joy. Fjaak have borrowed a sample from a well-known hip-hop track, which they then layer over ominous rave chord stabs and a pounding drum pattern. Meanwhile on "Highrise49", they deliver a great party techno tune, with the detuned filter breakdown breathing an added dimension to their stomping kicks. There is a more cerebral side to Fjaak's music, and on this release it's audible in the shape of "Myrcene", a haunting ambient soundscape featuring tortured vocal shrieks.
Review: Hot on the heels of other similar initiatives, it's now the turn of the Fjaak trio to weigh in with support for their clubs. All revenue from SYS01 will go the four clubs that the tracks are named after. Representing Berlin, "OHM" is a tough but deep chord-soaked affair, powered by heavy kicks, while on "Lehmann", named after the Stuttgart club, a harder, steely techno sound prevails. The direction shifts radically on "City Club", with the Stuttgart club portrayed using a stab-heavy, old school house groove, but it's back to tougher fare again for the firing, chord-stabbing finale, with "Pal" dedicated to the Hamburg club of the same name.
Review: The sixth release on Fjaak's own self-titled label sees the techno collective do what they are best at, namely delivering no-nonsense techno shot through with their uniquely idiosyncratic streak. "Underdawg" is a tough, jacking affair that sees the trio inject the arrangement with some cartoon samples and break beat samples from 90s hardcore tracks. On "Breath", the trio replicate this freewheeling approach; over tough drums, they deliver a looped, one-note piano key and more robust break beats. After these typically unconventional techno tracks, what better way to unwind than with the swirling ambience of closing track "Light Up"?
Review: The third release on Spandau 20 is a split affair, with the fledgling label drawing once again on its core artists. Claus Sch?ning, who featured on the German imprint's second release, delivers the chord-heavy, high-paced "Uber Sonic". Realised against the backdrop of a steely rhythm, it recalls vintage Force Inc techno from the 90s. Upping the intensity levels are Fjaak, with the Berlin duo dropping the howling analogue riffs and pounding rhythm of "Rough & Ready". It's not all visceral thrills however, and Rifts puts atmospheric synths on the agenda with the Vince Watson-style deep dance floor techno of "Sharp Lank".
Review: The second release on Spandau20 is a family affair. Fadi Mohem, who has previously released on Klockworks, gets down to business with the steely, percussive techno of "Nine". Shifting gears and changing tact, Balas delivers the broken beats, clanging hats and jungliest bass of "Desdemona", while Fjaak return to straighter techno thanks to the big-room chord stabs and pounding kicks of "Transmission", which has echoes of Dave Clarke's Red series. The sound shifts once again for Claus Schoning's "Wizard". In stark contrast to what went before it, it's an abstract, break beat track full of otherworldly squelches and atmospheric textures.
Review: Berlin wunderkind power trio Fjaak are back with the fifth installment on their eponymous imprint - strap yourself in for a wild ride on this one!. Features the furious and pummelling warehouse techno assault of "Phonox" reminiscent of '90s legends Devilfish, followed by the soulful hard jack of the 50 Weapons indebted "Midnight Take Out" (they are alumni of the label after all) and the industrial/dub techno experimental piece "They Can't Smell Us" - but unless they are hiding under a bar of soap we certainly can - this one's dirty!
Review: Fjaak are best known for their releases on 50 Weapons, but after Modeselektor shuttered their storied imprint, the Berlin trio went on to set up their own label. The third release on the label is everything that one would expect from them. On "Keep the Funk", a repetitive vocal sample intones the track's title as a pummelling drum track and rasping percussion play away in the background. It's tough, primal and highly effective dance floor techno. "XXL 14" is just as impactful: it also resounds to a pounding kick drum and searing hi hats, but on this occasion, the use of an insistent chord stab sets it and Fjaak 003 apart from all of the other white label techno releases in circulation.
Review: Both 50 Weapons and the Monkeytown massives would not be where they are if it weren't for the dedication and continuously high-calibre music of artists like Fjaak. The Berlin trio are total music junkies, preferring to spend their days with their heads in hardware manuals rather than in clubs or being seen at parties. We love that kind of dedication; it's what the underground community has always been about. Their new album, out on Monkeytown, of course, is self-titled and fully representative of their rugged, amorphous blends of bass and breakbeat science. In fact, there isn't a tune on here that could be categorized under one genre, and even heavy techno tunes like "Wolves" contain something new and curious, whether that be weird and wonderful melodies, or even a little injection of jungle juice. Techno viking Rodhad appears on the dark and mysterious glow of "Offline", but even that tune is drenched in enough experimentalism to render it utterly singular. Check and indulge.
Review: The penultimate 50 Weapons release pays tribute to the music of its home town, Berlin. Oddly enough, it plays host to the first release on the label by Rodhad. The Dystopian boss delivers "Oblivion", a raw and noisy analogue workout that calls to mind the sonic extremities of Landstrumm and Vogel, realised against a stepping rhythm. However, the real highlight comes from Fjaak. This Berlin trio, who received their break thanks to releases on 50 Weapons, drop "Super Smash". The track's wailing, diva vocal, techy chords and flowing groove may not be the most innovative, but it'll go a long way to ensuring that the future of Berlin techno is safe in Fjaak's hands.
Review: Modeselektor's label has provided a platform for Berlin trio Fjaak's tough club techno and they rise again to the occasion on Gewerbe 15. The title track is a thumping, abrasive workout, brash and noisy, but also displaying evidence of some maturity through the use of a churning chord sequence. "Rush" is more nuanced, but could hardly be described as understated either. At its heart is a heavy, stomping kick drum and a distorted rhythm, but the manner in which they weave a vocal snatch over the arrangement is reminiscent of Rene 'Shed' Pawlowitz doing a house project like Wax or EQ'D.
Review: Modeselektor's label provides a neat soundtrack for two sides of clubbing on its latest release. "Oben" (German for upper floor) is built for the kind of peak-time action its title suggests and sees Fjaak let loose with a slamming, relentless rhythm, heavy drums and a cut-up of the "Amen" break, while a detached vocal witters away in the background. By contrast, "Unten", which is German for 'bottom' - or, in this context, 'the basement' - is more considered. Cavernous, spacious kicks and heavy claps provide the basis for a chord sequence that flits and floats through the arrangement as randomly as conversations at an after party.
Review: According to their label, Fjaak live and sleep in their studio, but whatever about their methodology, it is clear that they are doing something right. The title track is a monstrous affair, based on a gargantuan stepping rhythm and tough breeze block beats as the trio shoot out Landstrumm-esque grating noise. In stark contrast is "The Wind". Deeper and groovier, it centres on breezy chords but retains dance floor clout thanks to the shards of hissing percussion. "Curious" sees Fjaak back to the same kind of territory as "Attack"; the only difference is that this time, the groove is straighter, but the grainy drums are just as relentlessly unforgiving.