Review: Reactions to the news that Marcel Fengler was going to mix Berghain 05 focused on the fact that he is the club's most overlooked resident. This is to do Fengler a disservice and to understand the club in the narrowest context possible. If anything, the trajectory Fengler follows here defines the broad brush strokes played out in the Berlin club. There's the eerie intro which moves from Dettmann's vocal version of Emika's "Count Backwards" into Peter Van Hoesen's spacey, bleeping "Axis Mundi". Classic sounds always form an integral part of Fengler's approach and this is evident on Octogen's widescreen yet menacing electro reshape of Terrence Dixon, the wiry 90s minimalism of Ratio and in the alternate version of Secret Cinema's chord-heavy early 90s classic "Timeless Altitude". In between these sounds, Fengler proves his technical prowess, moving effortlessly from the drones and broken beats of Dr Walker's take on Byteone and the Regis version of Tommy Four Seven's "G" into straighter, albeit bass-heavy techno and house from Duplex - remixing Gerd- and LB Dub Corp, who delivers a new, multi-layered take on Fengler's own "Thwack". Put simply, Fengler has that rare talent that most DJs lack - he can put together seemingly disparate tracks without losing the flow. The club he resides at provides Fengler with a blank canvas and this mix is his masterpiece.
Review: One of the greatest things about Berlin club Berghain is that once you make your way past the autocratic glare of the door staff, you are free to act as you want. There are no rules and everyone is treated the same. This sense of egalitarianism may be fleeting, but the club's residents have succeeded in applying a similar aesthetic to their mix CDs. Well-known producers appear beside unknowns, while artists lauded for a particular sound veer off into new, uncharted territories. This approach is audible on this sampler for Marcel Fengler's forthcoming mix. Belgian producer Peter Van Hoesen is known primarily for his bass-heavy, heads down warehouse tracks, but on "Axis Mundi", there's a palpable change. Van Hoesen's usual deft production touch ensures that the arrangement features razor-blade percussion and a lithe rhyhtmic sensibility, but "Mundi" is all about the woozy, trancey melodies filtering their way to its centre. Likewise, Jonah Sharp and Move D's "The Labyrinth" marks a departure of sorts, with the duo's tasteful, jazzy keys teased out over a rough, glitchy backing track. Vril's "UV" is the most obvious sign that Fengler and Ostgut want to maintain the same egalitarian approach as Berghain: this artist, who hasjust two EPs to his/her credit on Giegling, drops a slamming, dubby techno track that simultaneously challenges the bass power of Shed's Wax project and the loose, echo chamber tones of Modern Love. Like Berghain, once they past the litmus test, every artist is an equal.
Review: Delsin has been a purveyor of deep electronic music for the best part of two decades - and as this compilation demonstrates, 2018 was no exception. It moves in sound from re-issued electro classics by Lost Trax and VC-118A - the latter's chilling string-led "Sepia" is particularly beautiful - into Yagya's brittle deep house/techno and the gentle dub techno of Vril. Even on the more uptempo tracks, such as the throbbing acid of Artefakt's "Falling Into The Light" and the robotic, clanging rhythms of Yan Cook's "Dead Satellite", there is a subtlety and depth of sound absent in most labels' identities. Here's to another twenty years.
The Invariants - "Ritzy" (feat Elkan) - (6:53) 123 BPM
Claro Intelecto - "Hurt" - (4:39) 130 BPM
Sentomea - "Ease Of Life" - (10:09) 117 BPM
ShlAmmo - "The Quest" - (6:00) 120 BPM
Gunnar Haslam - "Kerallel" - (8:54) 123 BPM
Vril - "Lazar" - (8:04) 164 BPM
Cameron - "Construct" - (5:05) 117 BPM
Review: Despite being operational for almost two decades, Delsin has a higher hit rate than nearly any other techno label. This is audible on Cameron 10, an eight-track compilation from the Dutch imprint. The Invariants deliver deep, atmospheric techno for the floor on "Ritzy", while Artefakt's contribution, "Anemic Cinema", is a reflective broken beat affair. Delsin has coaxed a track form Claro Intelecto, who delivers the bass-heavy but mysterious electro of "Hurt". Newcomers also get a platform, with Sentomea dropping the slow-burning dub house of "Ease of Life" and Shlomo impressing on "The Quest", a tunnelling techno groove that also features hushed angel chants. If that wasn't enough Giegling's Vril and Gunnar Haslam complete the package with bleep-laden and lo-fi tracks respectively.
Review: Dystopian unveil their most comprehensive release yet, en eight-track compilation featuring music from label regulars and newcomers Gotzkowsky, Ron Albrecht and Vril. Recondite, the Berlin label's highest profile name opens the compilation with a straight-laced but dirty techno production that sounds like a classically inclined Innervisions track dragged through the mud. Don Williams throws down some pumping four-four beats like DJ Slip's classic "Every time It Takes Awhile" on steroids, while Gotzkowsky and Alex Do venture down a gurgling bleep hole of techno. Distant Echoes was responsible for the label's release before this, and here the shady producer delivers more gloomy, industrial deepness. Vril lightens things up with his famous chords, although a little disorientating this time, while man of the moment Rodhad goes big with a synth line you'll never forget. Ron Albrecht then completes the EP with a slab of Fachwerk-like techno, swapping funk for hard-nosed beats.
Review: After a prolific 2020 with releases on Bad Manners and a collaboration with Rodhad on his WSNWG label, Vril returns to Delsin. The Dutch imprint was one of the first outlets to release his material, so his return is timely. The title track is a brooding, atmospheric piece with celestial synths and low-tempo bass pulses at its heart. Delsin has tapped some respected names to remix the track; Voiski sticks to the original track's tempo, with a mid-tempo rhythm underpinning the emotive, textured sounds. Meanwhile, Vril teams up with Bad Manners boss Marcel Dettmann to drop slinky break beats and euphoric synths on their version of "Seele", while the His Master's Voice remix is the most intense version, led by a booming bass and pounding broken beats.
Review: Originally released on cassette on Giegling last year, Anima Mundi, Vril's second artist album, now gets a full release. Tracks like the expansive, rolling "Statera Rerum" and the more low-tempo but equally seductive "Haus" guarantee that Mundi is a dub techno lover's dream. However, it would be wrong to assume that this is all that Vril is capable of. "Manium", "Ilojum" and "Riese" are glacial ambient tracks that shimmer effervescently, while the title track and "Infinitum Eternis Anime" are pitched somewhere between these spectrums, their stop-start rhythms and dubbed out sound scapes showing that when it comes to atmospheric electronic music, few modern artists can rival Vril.
Review: Vril's back catalogue contains releases on storied imprints such as Semantica and Giegling, and now he makes his debut on Rodhad's label. The title track is an understated affair, revolving around and out of kilter drum track and hypnotic, low-slung stabs. On "Paradiqma", the approach is even more abstract, as shuffling electro drums provide the basis for wave upon wave of hypnotic chords. "Tzonqul" meanwhile dispenses with beats all together for hazy electronic textures that ebb and flow gently. The label has also tapped His Master's Voice to remix the title track. The resulting pounding dance floor tool will probably get the most attention here, but it shouldn't overshadow Vril's fine original material.
Review: Eight slabs of chunky German dub techno coming up. After debuting on Delsin last year with the three-track Vortekz 12", Vril's second record away from the Giegling camp, the Dutch label have secured a prize release from the reserved German artist in his second album. It's a more club orientated listen compared to last year's Torus LP which suits the Delsin aesthetic just fine, and for techno bombs DJs will launch into clubs this year check out "Portal 6" and "Portal 7". For a cut in line with the vibes heard on his work for Staub see "Portal 1", while for something deeper and a little housier go to "Portal 3".
Review: Born in Hannover and formerly a hip-hop producer, the mysterious Vril first surfaced in 2010 with an EP of boomed-out dub techno that inaugurated Giegling's now defunct Staub series label and tickled the fancy of Herr Dettmann who licensed "V3? for an appearance on his 2011 Conducted mix for Music Man. Last year's Flux EP for Semantica meant Vril was one of the few artists integral to Giegling that has appeared on a label outside of the Weimar-based operation, and the producer's dalliances further afield will continue with the Vortekz EP for Delsin. The three-track EP arrives hot on the heels of Delsin's 100th release celebrations and sees the label start 2014 with a bang. Amusingly, Delsin have revealed that Vril's material caused some of the expensive mastering equipment at that "well known mastering company in Germany" to crash during the mastering sessions - the first such instance in over 20 years of business.