Review: Dolly deliver their first 'various artists' collection and it's a four-track thing of underground wonder. Dexter opens with a crisp, spiky acid lick and a funky, almost tribal groove. Third Side weave a little jazz in the rich 303 tapestry while John Barera and Will Martin throw down tight layers of percussive funk. Finally the label boss Steffi steals the show with an acid and radar-ravaged analogue brew that's comes with a haze so think you genuinely can't tell if its 1990 or 2013....
Review: Jozif is part of the new wave of underground house DJs, and on this compilation he displays his ability to curate a fine range of house tracks, while always retaining a soulful touch. The selection starts with the sensuous vocals and atmospheric guitar strumming of Charles Webster's "Butterfly", before moving into the mournful pianos of Burnin' Tears' "Got a Reason" and the hissing percussion and reflective vocals of YokoO's "Blinded". There are some less esoteric contributions, in particular from Silicone Soul, whose lurching bass and heavy claps make for a welcome diversion. But in the main, this is a collection of emotional house, best embodied by the dislocated chant 'loneliness, emptiness no happiness, just sadness' on Steffi's "Sadness".
Review: All good things come to an end. Part ten of ten in Ostgut Ton's tenth various artists' compilation and they've recruited some of their superstar residents to give their very best. Marcel Fengler's restrained fury on "Fallin' (feat. Elif Bicer)" almost sounds like something off the soundtrack of a sci-fi film where dramatic elements face off with Bicer's angelic voice. Etapp Kyle's "Nolah" is another example of his well executed hypnotic techno with a nod to the master himself Robert Hood. Finally Steffi's "Loweborschtel" is the kind of surefire sub-aquatic electro funk and the standard in quality you'd always expect from the Dolly boss.
Review: German producer Redshape featured on Steffi's recent Panorama Bar mix, opening the selection with the deep ambience of his Palisade project. In this instance however, he focuses on the dance floor and "Focus" brings with it the menace and swagger we have come to expect from the man in the red mask. Waves of percussion hiss and itch, mournful tones play in the background and at the arrangement's heart is a bass that is by turns grinding, brooding and ominous. Steffi also contributes a track, "Attacke"; its claps are heavy and chords are eerie, but its pounding groove cannot compare to the Red menace.
Review: This sampler from Prosumer's Panorama Bar mix should dispel any doubts that the Ostgut stable caters exclusively to jaw-grinding intensity. Hunee's "Leaf for Hand in Hand" sounds like a return to UK house music of the mid to late-90s with a clubbier feel punctuated by a celebratory hook. Fused with a bleeding acid line, it nonetheless serves as a reminder of what a fruitful time that scene enjoyed. "Take U" by Soundstore a is more stripped back affair, focusing mainly on a buzzing bass, edgy beats and heavy claps - although there is some concession towards musicality thanks to some eerie synths - but "Sadness" by Steffi ensures that soul remains on the Ostgut menu. Over understated drums, Steffi lays down a sun-kissed yet somnambulant melody line and the kind of breathy vocals that Tracey Thorn would kill to emulate. These tracks make for one of the most uplifting house releases of 2011 - and reinforce Ostgut's reputation as a purveyor of the best contemporary electronic music.
Review: These days Steffi Doms doesn't release that much music, though what she does put out tends to be top-notch. Her first outing of 2020 is indeed a belter, with the three showcased cuts offering a polished, atmospheric and gently intergalactic take on deep house that's as cultured as it is club ready. Regular collaborator Virginia guests on fine opener "Reasons", adding effortlessly evocative vocals to an attractive bed of unfussy house beats, bold analogue bass, sustained chords and spacey synth stabs. "Fallin" is a dreamier and brighter affair rich in skittish machine drums, whistling chords, tactile pads and gentle piano motifs, while closing cut "November" is an ultra-deep chunk of poignant sci-fi house that's as warm and comforting as a much-needed late night hug.
Review: Following on from her impressive third album, Steffi delivers a killer deep techno EP. The sound and mood on this two-tracker are similar to the tone that prevailed on World Of The Waking State. Inspired by classic UK and US techno from the 90s, "Exit the Ego" is a high-paced groove that resounds to insistent chord stabs, an upfront bass and even some vaguely menacing sirens. On "The Big White Bang", the Panorama Bar resident opts for a more introspective approach. While the groove is rickety and off-beat and the acid lends some sense of urgency, the overall mood is that of introspection - a common theme in what is Steffi's most rewarding artistic phase yet.
Review: By Steffi's own admission, State was recorded after she had 'freed' herself from a personal situation. This explains why the Dutch producer, who now feels more comfortable creatively, has made a third album that is more experimental than its predecessors. In places, it sounds influenced heavily by early 90s UK techno and electronics - in particular "All Living Things" is a dead-ringer for B12's Detroit-focused abstractions. At the same time, it still contains echoes of her previous albums. The warm, warbling bass on "Schools of Thought" could easily fit into the Panorama Bar's deep house releases. Counteracting this link to her past is the hyper-speed title track, where she channels Stingray's pacey electro funk, and the jittery, discordant techno of "Mental Events". It all adds up to an impressive, mature work.
Review: Dolly label boss and Panorama Bar resident Steffi returns with another single from her well received album "Power Of Anonymity". "JBW25" is a killer cut with its razor sharp synth melody and spooky pads accompanying a thumping, tightly programmed drum groove. If that wasn't enough, there are some awesome remixes on offer too. Shawn O'Sullivan and Katie Rose AKA Further Reductions turn in a fantastic version showing off their minimal wave/techno crossover style, as seen on last year's awesome album "Woodwork" on Cititrax. Then label mate and fellow Berghain resident Answer Code Request steps up with two versions; or visions, if you will. The first being a straight up, cyclical peak time destroyer. Wait until that breakbeat comes rushing in. The revision being a beast of a track. Broken and sub bass driven with a sinister squelching melody, then those huge dramatic strings come in!
Review: When announcing the release of her sophomore set, Steffi Doms told Resident Advisor that it was "much more about how I see the dancefloor these days" than her "conceptual" 2011 debut, Yours & Mine. While there are some IDM and vintage electro influnces - most notably on opener "Pip", throbbing electrofunk jam "Treasure Seeking" (a hook-up with old pals Dexter and Virginia) and the picturesque closing track "Fine Friend" - for the most part Doms sticks rigidly to the kind of club-friendly fodder with which she made her name. By and large, this means vibrant, Detroit-influenced techno, with the throbbing "Bag of Crystals" and sci-fi leaning "Selfhood" standing out.
Review: Arguably the most recognisable of Panorama Bar's resident DJs, Steffi follows Cassy, Tama Sumo, Prosumer and Nick Hoppner in cooking up the fifth batch of tracks to make the Panorama Bar mix series. Exclusive material comes from Big Strick, Fred P, Dexter, Juju & Jordash and Steffi herself, while other house cuts come from former drum and bass staples Endian (Commix) and Trevino (Marcus Intalex). Other veterans to feature in the mix include DJ Skull with his original '93 pressing "Don't Stop The Beat", while Steven Tang's Obsolete Music Technology chips in with "Latency". Newer sounds come from Fear Of Flying's BLM, US-based deep house producer Chris Mitchell, DJ Fett Burger and Will Martin collaboration with John Barera; one half of Boston outfit B-Tracks.
Review: Panoramabar resident and Klakson co-founder Steffi unveils her debut album, and as you'd expect from an Ostgut Ton release, it's an enjoyable collection of high-grade house. The Dutch DJ/producer is known for her love of quality analogue tackle (as anyone who has bought Klakson releases will confirm), and it's this jack-era ethos that's at the heart of Yours & Mine. "Arms", "Manic Moods" and "Mine" all throb to a Chi-town beat, with the latter's strings and percussion coming on like a lost TRAX flipside. Steffi also tries her hand at Motor City style machine soul, densely layered deepness and anthemic piano house - all with impressive results. It's notoriously hard to make a good quality house album that hangs together well, but with Yours Or Mine, Steffi has succeeded.
Review: Away from her more austere techno output, Steffi can known to be a big lover of unabashed party-time electro, and it doesn't get more exuberant and catchy than this collaboration with Dexter and Virginia in a departure from most of the output you'll find on Ostgut Ton. "Treasure Seeking" is a craftily penned crossover cut with as much pop nous as underground clout, with Dexter's squelchy sound-design looming over the mix. The "130 BPM" version gets a little more of that Detroit electro style looming over proceedings, while Diep delivers a straight-talking Motor City techno version loaded with plush string synths and stacks of energy.
Review: Steffi and vocalist Elif Bicer make a big impression with this charming, slightly old-school deep house tune on. The fun and playful vocal reminds one of 90s acts like St. Etienne, matching sweet-as-syrup female vocals with house grooves. Released on Ostgut Ton, the label behind the infamous Berghain/Panorama, this is definitely a groove for Panorama, where Steffi is a resident DJ.
Review: As remix packages go, this is pretty darn hot. Of course, most punters will naturally gravitate towards current hot property Lone and his rub of "Arms". As you might expect, it's typical Lone, starting off on a Mr Fingers-ish vibe before exploding into rainbows of vivid colour. Like most of his tracks, it's a veritable orgasm. Staffan Lindberg provides an excellent Sound Factory-inspired take for fans of bumpin' mid-90s NYC house, while The Analogue Cops head for the afterparty on their tottering take on "You Own My Mind". Seriously sleazy and low slung, you could imagine it crawling along the dancefloor in order to gawp up girls' skirts.
Review: The next release on Dolly finds Panorama Bar staple Steffi joining forces with her fellow Klakson captain Dexter for a salvo of forthright jams with plenty of electro attitude rubbed into their muscles. The pad notes in "Rosser" in particular shimmer with the vibrancy of classic Drexciya while the bottom end is no slouch in the funk department either. "We're Not Alone" takes on a lighter, optimistic tone with its soaring melodic refrain reaching skywards with the euphoria of a set closer at sunrise. It's left to the title track to finish the EP off with similar sonic characteristics channelled into a deeper house persuasion, although there's no holding back on the rich and snaking synth lines that run through the centre of the tune.
Review: Work is Steffi's first release on Ostgut in a few years, and it sees her hook up with long-standing collaborator Virginia. "Be True to Me" is a typical Steffi track: understated blips and lush synths unfold over a bubbling groove, with Virginia's soulful tones at the heart of the arrangement. However, the approach changes on "Sight From Above", where smoky beats support the vocal narrative. "Help Me Understand" and "Until You're Begging" both see Steffi reach back to the angular electro that her label Klakson became known for, albeit with vocals added. Meanwhile, the title track sees the pair head off into deeper waters, with a rumbling bass accompanying bruising drums and Virginia's soulful tones.
Special Request - "Codename Turbo Nutter" - (5:41) 85 BPM
Source Direct - "Vigilante" - (7:25) 113 BPM
J Majik - "The Lost Tribe" - (5:16) 162 BPM
Shackleton - "Drawn And Quartered" - (8:11) 136 BPM
Pinch & Trim - "That Wasn't It" - (2:45) 128 BPM
Daniel Avery - "Whilst We've Got Metal In Our Blood" - (4:02) 145 BPM
Mantra - "Embers" - (5:24) 127 BPM
B.Traits - "Mameya" - (6:08) 126 BPM
Groove Armada - "Wesley Nightshade" - (6:11) 118 BPM
Unkle - "Catch Me When I Fall" (Fabric Club mix) - (10:49) 115 BPM
Review: This second 20 Years Of Fabric compilation presents a new arranged selection of the defining network of artists that have come to call fabric home. Taking in deep and atmospheric loops from Groove Armada to the light and sprinkled chords of Call Super, the sound of the Farringdon trips through the live and acoustic percussions of Margaret Dygas, the devastating hardcore cuts of Special Request and pure strads of drum and bass by Source Direct and J Magick. More recent tracks include the epic classicalisms of B.Traits acid-flecked "Mameya" to the industrial and dubbed out techno from Marcel Dettmann and Imogen. And not to be overlooked of course are bonafide classics from Unkle, Shackleton, Cassy and Sascha with "Comet Chaser".
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.