Review: Berghain resident Patrick Graeser returns as part of the Ostgut Ton family, with his second full length opus. Much like his 2014 debut Code, Graeser has honed a hybrid musical approach that stands out in a world of uniform 4/4 techno - as heard over the years on MDR, Music Man and of course his own Answer Code Request imprint. Gens is a diverse yet cohesive affair, between the more straight-ahead tracks like "Knbn2", "Cicadae" or the particularly seething "Sphera" (which are breakbeat driven, bass-heavy and UK inspired), there are some mentalist IDM journeys ("Ab Intus/Audax") and even breathtaking ambient moments like "Orarum" and "Mora". Brilliant stuff.
Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: On his first solo album in five long years, Berlin techno heavyweight Marcel Dettmann is in scintillating form. The six tracks that make up "Test File" are in some ways typical of his output, in other ways surprisingly atypical. Compare and contrast, for example, the title track's buzzing, mind-altering, percussively dense Berghain techno intensity, and the deliciously low-slung, atmospheric and dubby "Torch", where Dettmann dips the tempo and looks towards post-dubstep rhythms, post-punk and gnarled electronica for inspiration. Or, for that matter, the smooth and atmospheric dub techno hypnotism of "Error (1st Take)", the head-nodding dark-room house haziness of "Autumn 77" and the blistering peak-time techno assault of "Ascending". All hit the mark impressively and bear the hallmarks of Dettmann's signature style, even of their aims are impressively varied.
Review: Martyn's last physical album came out all the way back in 2014, when the term 'post' had still yet to gain notoriety and a meaningful relevance to the music industry. It is now 2018, and it's clear that Martyn, the Dutch bass legend, has a new story to tell, and it's thanks to Ostgut Ton that he's able to tell it. Voids is a magnificently deep and treacherous LP, often relying on abstract shapes to give the techno its edge, much like on "Voids One" and the following "Manchester". Aside from the beatless thrills, though, Martyn drops an impressive amount of hybrid burners, such as "Mind Rain" or "Why" - both representative of the blending of sounds that has taken electronic music by the scruff of the neck. It's a more pensive, more exploratory Martyn, and we love it.
Review: Ostgut Ton's first significant release of 2020 comes courtesy of Phase Fatale, an industrial techno-focused alias of New Yorker-in-Berlin Hayden Payne. "Scanning Backwards" is the producer's second album and is every bit as muscular, forthright and mind-altering as you'd expect, though the presence of clear EBM and industrial funk influences also ensures a healthy dose of rhythmic funk beneath the growling electronics, riotous riffs and slightly panicked Nitzer Ebb style melodies. Highlights are plentiful and include the metallic dancefloor paranoia of "Blinding By Oath", the pitched-down, wall-of-sound creepiness of "During The Freezing Process", the Test Department-does-ambient vibes of "Proxy Contact" and the throbbing intensity of "De-patterning".
Review: Earlier in the year, Luke Slater offered up one of the most full-throttle and mind-altering Planetary Assault Systems releases of recent times, "Straight Shooting". He opts for a similarly mind-altering, forthright fusion of sci-fi sounds and jacking techno rhythms on this fine double EP, which marks the British veteran's return to Ostgut Ton after a three-year break. It was apparently inspired by his experiences in Berghain and on tracks like "Red" - all looped bleeps, computerized rhythms and hazy vocal samples - and the thrusting, acid-fired tribal stomp of "Whip It Good" you can definitely hear the influence of the Berlin club space. It's there, too, in the wonky broken techno/electro fusion of "Kamani" and the feverish "Peru Drift", which sounds like a 21st century take on Jaydee's "Plastic Dreams".
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - "One Being, One Orientation, One Power" (6:12)
Review: For the ninth volume in their ongoing compilation series, Berlin clubbing institution Berghain has handed over the reigns to man-of-many-aliases Dominick Fernow, an experimental electronic music hero known for his work as Vatican Shadow, Prurient, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and Exploring Jezebel among others. His choices are universally inspired, from the spoken word loops of Genesis P-Orridge and ghostly, mind-altering dancefloor hum of Los Angeles Death Cult, to the lo-fi techno of Ron Morelli, the acid-fired intensity of Volvox and the dust-encrusted industrial throb of full-throttle cuts by JK Flesh and Alberich. The double-vinyl set also includes a number of twisted modular loops and occasional forays into noise-soaked ambience. Impressive stuff all told.