Review: Collaborating across continents, Gonno and Panorama Bar's Nick Hoppner deliver their second EP for Ostgut. It's an esoteric affair, with "Bangalore" opening the release in deep, atmospheric mode. Unravelling to the sound of ominous bass, layered textures and percussive bursts, it's an expansive, hypnotic serving of modern techno. "Love Lost" is quite a different proposition; it sees the pair drop a slinky rhythm track that provides the basis for sweet, acid-soaked melodies and dubbed out vocal samples. "Start Trying" is different again: they pick up the pace to deliver a warbling Detroit style groove, populated by cool bleeps and shiny synths.
Review: Don't you just hate it when remix EPs come filled with dull, similar-sounding reworks? Happily, Ostgut Ton is above all of that. Their choice of producers to remix cuts from Nick Hoppner's recent album, Folk, was inspired, and the results are uniformly superb. There's a brilliantly analogue-sounding rework of "Relate" by Chicago's The Black Madonna that doffs a cap to Jeff Mills, acid house and early British rave, and a trippy, dub techno-influenced, Berghain-friendly take on "Come Closer" by Lilt. On the flip, Dutch veteran Aardvarck makes "Grind Slow" sound like a mixture of instrumental industrial pop and hypnotic techno, before Herva steals the show with a rather brilliant, ambient-meets-experimental dub revision of "Rising Overheads". The latter may not be dancefloor dynamite, but it's really rather good.
Review: German producer Nick Hoppner has long been part of the Ostgut Ton family, releasing his first material for the imprint way back in 2007. Here he finally delivers his debut album, Folk, a set whose title hints at the warmth of his attractive, melodious and often sumptuous blends of atmospheric techno, deep house and organic-sounding instrumentation. At its' best, the album is simply superb, delivering cuts that feel equally at home seeping from home stereo systems as booming club sound systems. In this category we'd put stand outs "Come Closer", the classic sounding "Out Of", and the dub techno inspired basement hypnotism of "Rising Overheads". It is, though, all good, with Hoppner proving adept at the very specific demands of the album format.
Review: Earlier this year, Nick Hoppner stepped down from his role as Ostgut Ton label manager, handing the reins to Jenus Baumecker without a hint of self importance or grand standing. The reasoning behind this decision was apparently so Hoppner could dedicate more time to creative pursuits and this has delivered some swift results in the form of Red Hook Soil, a three track EP for the label he no longer oversees. The release is Hoppner's first for Ostgut since 2011, though he's been active in the interim period gracing Kompakt Extra and Echochord with aplomb. All three tracks on the Red Hook Soil see Hoppner in a four-four mood, with the title track venturing into uplifting, and in parts, melancholic fields of production that share a similar, only more textured feel to 2010's "Brush Me Down" from the EP of the same name. The release continues with strains of Italo on the verging-on-epic "Bait & Tackle", though Hoppner does move into tougher techno territory with a dryer and regimented track in "Decal".
Review: The Ostgut manager Nick Hoppner flexes his production muscles on Seaweed. In its original form, the title track is a chugging affair, its throbbing groove driven by a forceful bassline. The overall sound is dark and foreboding and even the break down is brief, only providing temporary relief from the relentless, heads-down rhythm. Meanwhile, Scott Monteith aka Deadbeat shows why he's one of the finest artists working in the dub-techno sound. His remix of "Seaweed" plunges to even greater depths than the original, its masterful sub-bass underpinning heavy claps, eerie chords and subtle filters that peak and ebb gracefully through the arrangement.
Review: Nick Hoppner is one of the key figures in the Ostgut operation, but isn't noted for putting out a lot of music. Clearly favouring quality over an excessive release schedule, the former MyMy member draws on the classic sounds of house and techno for Peck. The title track is the more current sounding, its heavy drum shuffled accompanied by weighty claps, a soft-focus filter and a lost 'aaaah' vocal sample. "She Parked Herself " is a totally different proposition; featuring the kind of emotional strings that featured on classic progressive house records by artists like Jaco and Slam, while its plunging bassline and rattling snares sound like the deep house of 90s producers like Jamie Read. "Swivel Flick" meanwhile is less derivative but also makes a play of that era's propensity for atmospheric pads and resonating bass riffs.
Review: The 72nd installment of Speicher marks the first release by Ostgut boss and Panorama Bar resident Nick Hoppner for the Cologne operation. Thankfully, his contribution has been well worth the wait, and "Ipso Facto" is a heavy, pulsing groove, where spacey synths wash in and heavy claps provide the basis for a series of more subtle bursts of percussion. It's the kind of woozy but robust techno and house that characterise Hoppner's DJ sets. On the flip, Auntie Flo aka Glasgow producer Brian D'Souza drops "Sun Ritual", a loose tribal groove, underscored by seductive, oriental bells and chiming guitar riffs - a more laid back alternative to Hoppner's approach.
Review: Work is Nick Hoppner's second album for the iconic label that he manages, but despite this reversal of roles, it shows his considerable talent and versatility when it comes to making music. "All By Themselves (My Belle)" is a dreamy pop track, while on "Clean Living" he adeptly mixes deep house synths and floaty melodies with a churning Chicago bass. "In My Mind" is a stripped back affair that breaks into soaring melodies, while on "Hole Head', he veers into broken beats and jazzy chords. "The Dark Segment" continues Hoppner's voyage into the abstract, featuring broken beats and eerie sound scapes, while he heads back to the dance floor with the flamboyant Latino chords and pared back rhythm of "Forced Resonance". It's an assured second album from one of Ostgut's secret weapons.
Review: It's a case of gamekeeper turned poacher as Ostgut boss Nick Hoppner appears again on the label, following his 2015 debut album, Folk. This three-tracker is like a distillation of his time spent in the Panorama Bar booth. The title track is a hypnotic, techy groove, covered in warm, hazy chords and redolent of classic David Alvarado's Sun Children material. On "Still", Hoppner keeps it deep, but injects some trippy acid undercurrents. The closing track, "Out of Sight", is the most dance floor friendly, with Hoppner opting for a lithe, swinging rhythm as a backing for his warm, sun-kissed chords and melodies.
Review: A second sampler for Ryan Elliott's newly dropped Panorama Bar 06 mix opens with "Take It Slow", a rugged house jam of the finest order from The Oliverwho Factory and proceeds to take in cuts from former label manager Nick Hoppner, Deadbeat, Dettmann and Sushitech mainstay Makam. Individually the standard of these exclusives is remarkably high and it will be interesting to see how Elliott has slotted them all together for the free to download mix. If we had to guess, Deadbeat's superb glistening house burner "Woah" would make an appearance towards the end thanks to his high tempo, whilst Dettmann's swirling layers of ambience on "Light" feel very much like a set opener.
Review: You have to admire Ostgut Ton's ambition. While celebrating a decade in dance music with a compilation of exclusive, previously unheard music is now standard practice amongst leading underground labels, few would have the balls to release it with such a killer tracklisting as Zehn. Across the 30 tracks (count 'em!) you get a who's who of Berghain and Panorama Bar associates delivering a quite outstanding selection of left-of-centre techno and deep European house, with Marcel Dettmann, Boris, Virginia, Steffi, DVS1, Martyn, Tobias and Ben Klock all featuring. Highlights naturally come thick and fast, from the spacey electronics, heady textures and hypnotic rhythms of Function's "DX3 Analog Bass Seq", and the rush-inducing, string-laden house warmth of Matthew Styles' remix of Dinky's "Planes", to the picturesque intelligent techno of Doms & Deykers.
Review: Electronic music is often defined as being apolitical and entirely self-serving, but in this time of existential crisis for Japan, it shows that dance producers not only have a conscience, but care deeply about the country. There have been a number of initiatives already within electronic music to raise funds for Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims, and the act of helping is the overarching concern here. However, hopefully when you do decide to purchase this Kompakt compilation, you will get the added bonus of ghostly ambience from Marsen Jules and Ezekiel Honig, playful, offbeat house from Efdemin, eerie minimal house from SCSI-9 and Nick Hoppner, and Anontelli's playful electronic pulses - as well as feeling good about supporting a beleaguered nation.