Review: The brilliant Answer Code Request follows releases for his own imprint and Marcel Dettmann's MDR label to make his Ostgut Ton debut with the Breathe EP, which delivers three cuts of his individual brand of weighty, breakbeat-inspired techno. Each of the three tracks sees him in particularly ravey form; "The 4th Verdict" combines a chugging synth line with minimal Mills-inspired percussion, while "Ghostes" offers a suitably spectral vision of club techno in its cavernous chords and heavy breakbeat rhythms. The title track however must be his most euphoric to date combining headspinning chords with taut drums - another killer from ACR.
Review: While Berlin's Answer Code Request certainly comes from a techno mentality, the producer has shifted his focus to what Shed, and the rest of his compatriots, have eventually gravitated towards. This new LP for the capital's Ostgut Ton label, is more bass than tech, and we think that this is extremely well-suited to the man's loose, freeform take on German dance music. In fact, this is more UK than anything, with the majority of these tunes breaking the all-too-predictable 4/4 trance for something much more in line with the likes of Hessle Audio or Night Slugs. However, this is very much an Answer Code Request flex, with what undertones of German industrialism seeping their way through the percussion and structure of the grooves. What a corker - recommended!
Review: When two of techno's most respected names collaborate, it's no surprise that the outcome is a trip through a primal, experimental landscape. "Physik 44A" is an abrasive, slamming track, its grimy acid bleeps and stop-start metallic rhythm pushing the listener down a punishing path. "Physik G321V" isn't quite as harsh, but it still sees Freund and Schmidt mess with conventions. A double bass rumbles away and gradually, the duo introduces a series of tones that get more and more intense as the arrangement progresses. Even the presence of a vocal buried deep in the mix cannot detract from "Physik G321V" being on a par with Schmidt's Acid Evolution album.
Review: While it may not seem as familiar as other artists, Sam Barker's relationship with the Berghain / Ostgut axis is long-established. Working together with Andy Baumecker, he has released a series of albums and Eps for the label, while his own imprint, Leisure System, has hosted nights at the hallowed Berlin club. Now flying solo with Debiasing, he reveals a more contemplative edge to his sound. "Cascade Effect" and "Look How Hard I've Tried" are led by atmospheric chords and gentle bass tones, while on "When Prophesy Fails", he offers up a similar, albeit slightly more frosty melodic sequence. Clearly there is a lot more going on to Barker than dance floor techno, and even the warbling rhythm of "Filter Bubbles" is complex, intricate - but always intriguing,
Review: On his debut solo LP for Ostgut Ton, Leisure System co-founder Sam Barker turns his focus toward the psychology behind the musical decision making process, with solutions for 'quantifying pleasure, abolishing suffering, and the ethical use of drugs and nanotechnology' - being just some of the themes over its nine tracks, with a strong aesthetic of dub techno throughout. From thought provoking IDM cuts like "Posmean" or the particularly cavernous "Gradients Of Bliss", right through to moments of emotive techno-soul as heard on the title track and the transcendental ambience of "Wireheading" - 'Utility' is a non-ironic musical approach to a whole spectrum of utilitarian and transhumanist ideas.
Review: One of the many oddities in the English language is the array of collective nouns to describe the word "group". Sam Barker and Andreas Baumecker's second missive for German techno juggernaut Ostgut Ton "A Murder Of Crows" is one such example. "Part 1" opens with a cavernous four-four groove similar to Tommy Four Seven's 2009 Man Like Me remake. White hot snares and rattling percussion fizz to a heady climax enveloped by a throbbing slug of a bass line. Piercing 909 hats, Marcel Fengler thwacks and demonic synths add to the furore. The dank and techy basement beats of "Part 2" align itself with something you would expect from Untold or Hessle Audio, not German techno. Barker & Baumecker's booming kicks, nerdy percussion and ravey synth wobbles distance Ostgut Ton from the concrete and Berghain-centric sound synonymous with the label.
Review: Turns is the second album from Sam Barker and Berghain resident Andy 'Nd' Baumecker and shows that the pair have evolved and matured. "Encipher & Decipher" is rooted on the dance floor, but flows to the sound of ghostly synths and spellbinding bleeps. The pair also deploy this musical approach in slower settings audible on the reflective opener "Senden", while "Nocturnal" is an uptempo but chord-heavy groover similar to Aril Brikha. Some references to an electronic, experimental sound linger though; this is audible on the glitchy beats of "Club Entropicana" and the bass-heavy "Turnhalle", but overall, Turns is a musical, melodic affair.
Review: Machinedrum, Blawan, the collaborative Third Side project and new name Kobosil remix tracks from Barker & Baumecker's brilliant debut LP Transsektoral. Up first is Machinedrum, who replaces the broken beats of "No Body" with a bassy four-to-the- floor hum-drum, starry synths and a compatible resonance that successfully maintains Barker & Baumecker's previous garage vibe, and upstart Kobosil removes any melodious element from the original "Silo" and reworks the drums suitably for peak time Berghain action. Blawan's re-command of "Crows" sees ritualistic drums swagger clumsily in and out of time to orc war-horns that sound like they're rung in the midst of battle, while Third Side then turns "Schlang Bang" inside out by buckling down on a single looped-up sample. Sometimes remix additions can be a little underwhelming, this ain't one of them.
Review: The debut album from Barker & Baumecker has been a long time in the making, but its timing couldn't be better. With techno at a point of divergence, as producers like Untold and Blawan make the move from the UK end of the bass spectrum into straighter 4/4 fare, Transsektoral seems to offer a Berlin perspective on the same theme. Although the stark, often dramatic atmosphere is that of an Ostgut Ton record through and through, the whole thing is peppered with broken rhythms and lurching bass (see "Crows"), and even some inventive R&B sampling reminiscent of the Tri Angle family. Of course it also makes its concessions to the Berghain purists with the spluttering, acid toothed techno of "Trafo" and "Silo", or the relentless "Buttcracker" but all things considered, this is one of the most vital albums Ostgut Ton have released since The Traveller - which is high praise indeed.
Review: 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!
Review: It's always a good day for techno when new Steve 'master of the loop' Bicknell material arises, just like it's done here on the first sampler for Function's Berghain 07 mix. "Odyssey #1" is a distorted gyration through fizzy atmospheres and chocked bleeps, while Post Scriptum's rolling "Human Timescales" is a cross between the Hauntologists sound and the beats heard on Tobias' Leaning Over Backwards album, also released on Ostgut Ton. There's some transatlantic vibes on LB Dub Corp's "So Much", while the emerging Blue Hour sees his zapping drum track keep the sustain on his synth locked for the entirety of the track.
Review: This sampler from Norman Nodge's new mix CD shows that the Berghain resident spends a lot of time searching out music that no one else has. The upshot of his approach is that Nodge creates a mood like no one else. From the mix opener, the grayscale ambience of Birds Two Cage's "Gase", through the menacing builds of Mark Broom's "Vault 5" to newcomer Patrick Graser's "From Foreign Territories" - an insistent, bleep-heavy groove to rival Sleeparchive at his most austere - this taster release proves that when it comes to setting a menacing, spooky tone, no one can match Norman Nodge.
Review: It seems Function is a fan of Cassegrain & Tin man material as he's just signed them up for his next release on Infrastructure New York. For this second Berghain 07 sampler, Function's appetite for boomy, acid techno is whetted by the collaboration's "Oxide". Meanwhile, former flatmate Ed Davenport, aka Inland, delivers "Sca Fell", a subaqueous workout that would get the Mike Parker seal of approval. DVS1 throws down some trademark warehouse beats with some caustic stabs to boot, while Steve Bicknell delves even deeper into the abyss than he did on the first sampler, with a track that's as menacing and frenetic as what Drexciya can be.
Review: Marcel Dettmann drops one of the most anticipated albums of 2010, with his eponymous debut on Ostgut Ton. And it's everything you'd hope for (and expect) from a Berghain resident: dark, cavernous, atmospheric - utterly brilliant. The highlights are numerous, from the thunderous, atmospheric electrical storm that is "Argon" to the Basic Channel-esque hiss and crackle of "Drawing" and the looped percussion on "Reticie" that sounds like Dettmann has been dragging a bag of marbles around one of the unused rooms at Berghain. Techno, welcome to 2010.
Review: Originally released on the Berlin producer's second album, "Seduction" is less abrasive and more thoughtful than his usual fare. Over understated, tribal beats and eerie textures, Emika provides some indistinct but endearing vocals. Dettmann's own remix as Deuce is also thought-provoking rather than upfront. Over a pulsing bass and hissing percussion, he adds in screeching synth lines to add to the sense of drama. There's no danger of Dettmann or Ostgut alienating their techno audiences thanks to the remixes. Berghain resident Ryan Elliott turns "Seduction" into a rolling, driving groove, featuring a droning underbelly, insistent claps and the vocals buried deep in the arrangement. Anthony Parasole's version is impressive too, its jagged rhythms fused with what are in his hands screeching, deranged vocals.
Review: Marcel Dettmann returns with yet another EP full of dusty atmospherics and brooding minimalism. The dark synth line of "Range" wallows around sketchy percussion and filtered pulsations while the density of "Islo" ups the energy in a hectic mess of Dadub-esque drum patterns. Machine gun snares strafe the Berghain-y kicks of "Push" as otherworldly vocals breath pitched down variations of the track's title. "Allies" is Dettmann's take on party techno, but tailored entirely for flinty concretions and sturdy pylons - an absolute Berghain classic.
Review: Dettmann's latest EP may refer to lingustics in its title, but there is no danger that what the Berghain resident wants to achieve will get lost in translation. With the exception of the spacey soundtrack and "Apollo" samples on "Barrier", this release is all about dance floor functionality and is as stark as the imposing architecture in the club he built his reputation on. That said, "Planning" owes a great debt to Robert Hood's visceral minimalism, as Dettmann sprays shards of percussion over jarring beats. The same incessant percussive approach is audible on "Translation One", but in this instance, it's the basis for a stab-heavy, filtered rhythm. Finally, Dettmann plays tribute to a Berlin artist on "Translation Two", with its spaced out but cold bleeps reminiscent of vintage Sleeparchive.
Review: Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann returns with a second album for Ostgut in the shape of the simply titled Dettmann II. Unlike Hollywood, this musical sequel to his debut self titled LP of three years packs just as hefty a punch and arrives with Marcel at his busiest. In addition to overseeing his MDR imprint and putting out a steady stream of EPs for Ostgut Ton, he's contributed two singles to Modeselektor's 50 Weapons as well as mixing an entry into Music Man's Conducted mix series. Hot on the heels of an entry into Bleep's techno-centric Green Series, Dettmann II arrives and follows a similar formula to his LP length debut. Expect a mixture of ambient soundscapes and minimalist experimental cuts going up against more uncompromising dancefloor material, and there's a high profile cast of supporting names involved too; Emika provides vocals on "Seduction" while multi-monikered Rene Pawlowitz and Levon Vincent have assisted in the production of the tracks "Aim" and "Outback".
Review: Let's not lie, how often do you see, or need, the words 'club version' alongside a Marcel Dettmann production? In this case, for the tracks "Spiritoso" and "Martellato" it makes sense considering the original two were disjointed, industrial-tinged scores for a conceptual performance which took place in Berghain. The first club version strips away the Panthu du Prince-style chimes and chirping bird effects and boils the piece down to a dusty beat with a resonating ambience, sinewave sweeps and the odd piano crash. "Martellato" in its original form is a haunting Phantom Of The Opera type production with this club version somehow transforming it into a watery and dubbed-out piece of tense, minimal techno.
Review: Throughout the MASSE soundtrack Phillip Sollmann & Marcel Fengler's DIN alias provided the Berghain ballet with the production's most challenging sequences. Those who enjoyed the track "RazKaz" from Fengler's Enigma EP from 2010 will warm to the subtle classical strings of "Euphorium", while bells similar to those heard on M.Bison's stage on Street Fighter II ring melodiously in an arpeggio that flickers like sunlight bouncing off the sea. "Aetas" is a production which fits in with the sketchy sounds of Tobias, and a poetic, spoken word vocal adds an extra touch of depth for a sublime cut of stony, deep, deep, house music.
Review: The eighth installment in Ostgut's ten-vinyl strong release series is sure to be a desirable item not just for fans of the Berlin label. All of the tracks on Acht take the listener down a disco-fied route. First up is Berghain resident Marcel Fengler and Efdemin as DIN; the pair's "Mono" is a crackling, pulsating groove that hints at industrial and noise influences. Fiedel's "Probe 806" goes farther in this direction with an electronic rhythm underscoring detuned rave sirens. Finally, there's Tobias' "Like A Drug". Its cut-up vocal sample and tracky backing, coupled with some buzzing acid, is tailor made for the shutter-opening ritual that is central to the Panorama Bar experience.
Review: The German-Chilean producer and the label arm of techno Valhalla Berghain seem like uneasy bedfellows, so does signing Dinky herald a new direction for Ostgut? On the evidence of "Take Me", it does. The title track starts with breathy chords and loose, organic drums, before giving way to jazzy, filtered riffs and then moves into an undulating electronic disco groove. "Polvo" is of a similar summery disposition: filled with sensuous vocal samples and sassy Rhodes keys, it is underpinned by the same kind of loose beats as the title track. It's far removed from the world of chisel-jawed techno and suggests that Ostgut may be mellowing out.
Review: New Atlantis is Efdemin's fourth artist album and takes its title from Francis Bacon's unfinished novel. In that work, there were musical instruments that could read all of the sounds of the universe. However, to start this album, the storied producer decides instead to go with the sound of the human voice on "Oh, Lovely Appearance Of Death". In spite of this bold move, he is soon back in his back in his comfort zone on the drum-heavy groove of "Good Winds" and the title track, where a sub-aquatic acid line is fused with woodwind sounds and dubbed out groove. While not as revelatory as his debut album, Efdemin, there are still wonderful touches here, such as the swirling sound scapes of "At The Stranger's House".
Review: Fiedel is the latest Berghain resident DJ to contribute to its mix series and this sampler release captures the machine-driven energy of his varied sets. Electric Indigo's contribution, "Registers", is a cavernous, steely arrangement designed for maximum impact in the Berlin club's high-ceilinged main room, while Stefan Rein's "Panther" is more of a heads-down banger, charged to provide a boost to tired dancers. Fiedel makes a diversion with the off centre broken beats and odd but inspired combination of industrial drums and animal sounds on rRoxymore's "Tropicalcore", while Fiedel himself gets down and dirty with fellow resident Boris for the bleep-heavy, tone-shifting "Div'hain".
Review: Elliott may have left Detroit a number of years ago to pursue his dreams in Berlin, but the Motor City's influence still features heavily in his music. On the title track for his latest Ostgut outing, it bubbles to the surface on the brittle, metallic percussion and the malevolent bass that purrs its way through the arrangement. Of course there are other elements at play here, and the siren riff, flickering minor keys and looped vocal snippet have a decidedly European slant. Elliott's ability to weave these two seemingly disparate sounds together makes "Stepmode" so compelling. There is no such move on 'Still Steppin', but the interplay between its dubbed out drums and tropical melodies make it just as enticing.
Review: Newly ensconced down south in Auckland, Magik Johnson launches his new Neat Music imprint in a dust off with those twisted sisters from New Zealand known as MayaVanya. Echoing the current clubbing climate, "Don't Need No One" is an infectious post UK F rattler, chopping up diwali style handclap beats over layered bass undulations. Add vocals from Silva MC and Rugged Techniques and it's a perfect match. Johnson dons his Magik J alias for a rerub that transforms the track into Dirtybird territory whilst Nightshifters stalwart Rob Threezy adds his own futuristic Chi Town club angle to proceedings. Watch out for those hoover bass washes!
Review: Over the space of just a few releases, Etapp Kyle has established himself as one of techno's most promising new artists. Of course, it helped him significantly that those initial Eps came out on labels like Klockworks, Prologue, Unterton and now Ostgut, the mother label associated with Berlin club Berghain, where he has a residency. As Alpha shows, Kyle's approach to techno is of the non-purist variety. On the title track, the sparse rhythmic pulses of Klockworks collide with Detroit otherworldliness for an expansive track. "Quantum" is more direct and sees the Ukrainian artist use his loose sounding drums and percussion to undercut a darker approach, while clouds of filtered sound and eerie textures crash in over the doubled up drums of "Source". "Ritual" sees him complete the release with a hint of bass-heavy menace, not entirely dissimilar to Prologue's sound.
Review: With Berlin's clubbing HQ currently off limits it's pleasing to know Berghain's in-house label is still pumping. Nolove adds to the label's formidable run of EPs from Shed, Substance and Tobias, to albums from Efedemin, Barker and Planetary Assault Systems. Joining this hot streak is long associated DJ and artist with Ostgut, Etapp Kyle, and he realises his second release for the label following previous releases for underton, and Klockworks before that. For this four-track the artist goes spacey and percussive, with skittering white noise flickers and effects chosen over classic techno hi-hats and snares etc. "Polar" and "Unseen" present two cooler, cosmic freezes of subby, percussive drums and mellow overtones while "No Love" and "Eden" venture into more sparse, melodic and experimental territory. Hold on to love.
Review: Len Faki is no stranger to Ostgut Ton having mixed the label's third and possibly hardest sounding Berghain CD back in 2009. Whilst the Berlin fixture has remained resolutely busy since then, Faki has remained absent from the OSTGUT catalogue numbers. Basement Trax Vol 1 signals Faki's return to Ostgut colours in impressive and diverse fashion. Lead track "Btx1" is dominated by the heavily processed treatment of some orgasmic sounding female vocals submerged deep in the mix and smeared greedily across the channels chased by whipcracking percussion. The flipside accompaniment "Btx2" is a tougher version with the tribalistic percussion gradually consumed by the vastness of Faki's string arrangements, while the final version "Btx3" sees Faki present a swirling mass of ambient calm. How good would it be to hear this at 2pm on a Sunday in Berghain?
Review: Berlin's Len Faki returns to his resident label with Basement Trax Vol 2. which as the name suggests, provides banging, subterranean club tools for dusty basements and abandoned power plants alike, with some of his finest work since the tracks on his Berghain 03 mix several years ago. Who could forget The Obliteration of The Berghain and Rainbow Delta. The tracks on here are a return to form by an artist now considered one of the modern greats. The pounding kick drum workout of "B-PAX" is as well engineered as only a Berghain resident could execute. We predict the chugging epic "For Real" will be destroying dancefloors worldwide this summer. Finally the gritty, entrancing bassline faces off with mutant melody in yet another peak time journey on "Hainish Cycle".