Review: Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann are Ame. Anyone whose heart is beating for deep house, Detroit techno and soulful dance music in general could hardly avoid the records of the Karlsruhe based DJ/producer duo, even more so after their 2005 uber hit "Rej". "Fiori" is minimalism in the vein of Philip Glass that morphs into a majestic seventies psychedelic sound. The club edit has turned out to be much more DJ friendly with its compact length. With its streamlined arrangement and percussion and beats adjusted to the demand, "Fiori" hasn't lost any of its stupefying magic. A top Ostgut Ton release.
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.
Review: What do you get when you combine Raster-Noton with Ostgut Ton? A gnarly two track Physik 1 EP from scientists of both labels: Atom TM and Tobias. "Physik 44A" is an energetic bleep-a-thon of twisted electronics and curlish synths, while "Physik G321V" is a linear, dubbed version of the former, with Tobias' trademark sound coming to the fore through shuttling snares and murky hi-hats landing in sequence between brooding drums.
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. 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. 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: 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 B2.
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 gray-scale 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 Nodge.
Review: Born in Berlin, raised Frankfurt, Brtschitsch, who also produces and runs the label Taksi with Andre Galluzzi, has just decided to move back to his old home town. These two tracks here clearly show themselves influenced by Brtschitsch's visits to Berghin/Panorama bar, where Paul, as he puts it in his own words, was finally able to quench his thirst for inspiration again: I see, "'Twirl' as a perfect soundtrack to the moment, when the shutters open up at Panorama bar and daylight floods the room. 'Under' on the other hand is a deep and atmospheric track trying to underline the vastness and large scale of the Berghain." Of course this doesn't mean both tracks couldn't work the other way around or at any other place: "Twirl" and "Under" are universal and useful scorchers fusing a certain summery, trancey fleet-footedness with the right amount of dancefloor punch making this EP a strong aspirant for the perfect open air record 2006.
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 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: The second volume of Berlin institution Ostgut Ton's ten year anniversary release; and as said before; yes there'll indeed be ten of them... So get excited! This particular volume features Berghain resident and label mainstay Marcel Dettmann offering us "Encode II". Once again this is A grade techno by one of the modern greats; what more can we say! Regular guest at the club and Dial artist Efdemin serves up "Unten Links" a driving and adrenalised groove based around a nice arpeggio, rapid fire woodblocks and evil samples. New addition to the family Kobosil gives us "Saldae" a restrained yet furious stomper with doomy strings and sonar blips.
Review: Ostgut Ton reach the midway, or Funf, point of their programme of 12" issues from last year's mammoth Zehn boxset which draws for the contributions from DVS1, Answer Code Request and the Dutch connection Doms & Deykers. DVS1 is up first with "Ecks", a blinding little DJ tool rife with skittering drums and trademark touches of psychedelia, whilst Answer Code Request's "Zeitspielraum" has a touch of the Underworld classic "Rez" to it. Plenty of broken drums too, naturally! Martyn and Steffi have the keys to the B-side and they use the space to lay down their own breakbeat house epic "Whirling" which bodes well for the mooted Doms & Deykers album that is supposed to be out this year.
Review: Ostgut Ton continue their eclectic flow of records in 2013 with Stepmode, a new plate from Ryan Elliot, his second EP on the Berghain affiliated label having served up the Rocksteady EP back in 2011. If there was a way to step to the EP's hurried title track, it would be a quick shuffle thanks to snappy snares, cut up vocals and an off kilter bassline associable with Perlon. The same synthetic vocal buzz from the A-side also haunts the B-side, "Still Steppin", which sounds like a frenetic, bugged out and lo-fi version of Motor City Drum Ensemble's "Raw Cuts 4".
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. Until now that is as the Basement Trax Vol 1 12" 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 which are submerged deep in the mix and smeared greedily across the channels chased by whip cracking percussion. The flipside accompaniment "Btx2" is a tougher version with the tribalistic percussion gradually consumed by the vastness of Faki's string arrangements and 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: Born and raised in the south of Germany, this DJ and producer relocated to Berlin three years ago. He has been a techno activist for over a decade now, and definitely the man for the minimal dancefloor.
Review: Ostgut Ton return to Fokus, last year's accomplished debut album from Marcel Fengler with a suitably high profile remix 12". Offering a more well rounded and experimental display of Fengler's production palette than the functional techno he's issued in 12" format, Fokus has a definite highlight thus far and it's interesting to see who has been chosen to rework tracks from it. Shed and Dave Clarke are naturally the headline draws here and their respective takes on "Jaz" and "Sky Pushing" are as full throttle as one would expect but it's nice to see Solar One boss Robert Witschakowski get the exposure his work as The Exaltics deserves with a killer throbbing Italo-techno rendition of "King Of Psi".
Review: For whatever reason, Marcel Fengler does not yet enjoy the same international profile as his Berghain colleagues Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann. Hopefully, Enigma will help to change that situation, with Fengler showing diversity that his more purist peers lack. This is evident on "Rapture", where an insistent techno rhythm leans towards the loopy approach of the late 90s/early 00s. "Razkaz" is the most typically Ostgut track on Enigma, a dense, repetitive track based on granite beats and steel girder percussion, but woven between these somewhat austere elements is a playful ethno sample. The EP's title track delivers what we think is Fengler's finest moment to date: "Enigma" snakes and pulses fluidly with nods to electronic disco, but the eerie strings and those typically dense percussive drums give it the requisite dance floor rigidity. Caught somewhere between human spontaneity and machine-led precision, Marcel Fengler's latest release proves itself to be enigma wrapped up in a techno riddle.
Review: There are two defining aspects to Marcel Fengler; firstly he retains a more humble profile to his more celebrated fellow Berghain residents Klock and Dettmann, and secondly original material from Fengler may be an infrequent proposition, but it's almost always worthy of your attention. This latter aspect is certainly true of the three track Frantic EP, a worthy return to Ostgut Ton, following last year's Berghain O5 mix and a clutch of notable EPs. Commencing with the title track, Fengler draws on a canny complement of insistent loops and sumptuous synth arrangements, while the rugged drum patterns make "Frantic" seem all too appropriate a title. Flip over for the alien techno funk of "6 In A Row", a track which masterfully swings between the thick groove and fast fingered smears of neon synths, while the glistening beauty of "Mosaique" offers some nice contrast to the previous onslaught.
Review: Heavyweight techno servings from the tip of the top, the undisputed king of contemporary techno sounds; Berlin's Ostgut Ton. This latest head-banger of an EP comes from Terrence Fixmer and a fine - and irritatingly apt - collection of remixers to mould his classic "Aktion Mekanik Theme" track into different shapes. First up is Kobosil's 44 version, a ringing and twisted face-melter with enough siren action to blow your speakers out and catapult you into next week. On the flip, we have Norman Nodge's more bleeped-out NN take, while Marcel Dettman's own Leitmotiv version slithers its way across the arrangement without any concrete kick drum or percussion, opting instead for the totally abstract and noise-ridden drones.
Review: In a DJ and production career approaching two decades, Terence Fixmer's music has appeared on some real bastions of European techno - International Deejay Gigolo, Speedy J's Electric Deluxe, Prologue, CLR and Jealous God being just five. Last year saw Ostgut Ton added to that list, with the label giving the Belgian's iconic 2003 production "Aktion Mekanik Theme" a pleasantly-surprising reissue augmented by some high profile remixes (Nodge, Dettmann, Kobosil). Beneath The Skin adds further steel to that relationship and is a fine Ostgut debut for Fixmer, with the title track a devious muscle rippler of a modern EBM/techno hybrid DJ tool. Wait for those sirens to come in! "Trace To Nowhere" pairs up breathing vocals with alien-like acid squeaks over a stripped back techno patter whilst "Devil May Care" takes the lysergy into more foreboding territory. The tension eases as "Immersion" closes out the 12" on a more ambient techno tip.
Review: One of Panorama Bar's most recognisable residents, Steffi, celebrates her introduction to Ostgut Ton's Panorama Bar mix series with the album's sampler. First Up is Fred P with his deep and melodious "Project 05", while Juju & Jordash's "A Stab In The Dark" features more of the live techno-poppy-electronica heard on their Techno Primitivism album. Detroit heavy hitter Big Strick turns in a dust covered "Heyday", which features a cluster of drippy bleeps and heartfelt leads that sound like they were made by analogue poltergeists in a waterlogged, but sun drenched studio.
Review: There's a definite "no-nonsense" feel about this latest Tobias EP on Ostgut Ton. Simply titled Remixes, it sees a quartet of producers turn in typically locked-in re-interpretations of classic Tobias tracks. Matthew Jonson and The Mole join forces to turn "If" into a ten-minute chunk of broken tech-house - all bubbling electronic rhythms, relentlessly bumpy acid lines and crackly late night textures. Peter Van Hoesen takes a trip back to the early '90s with his spiralling, acid-flecked rework of "Cursor Item Only" (think Brown Album era Orbital, with a little more 4/4 techno grunt), before Blue Hour deliver a pulverizing version of "He Said" that's by far and away the EP's most bowel-bothering moment. It's no-holds-barred techno and then some, with one almighty sub-heavy bassline.
Review: Berlin’s Berghain / Panoramabar is now one of, if not the most infamous club in the world. Although spending the entire of this review discussing the club would not even begin to scratch the surface of its impact on clubbing culture, this release is about its label offshoot, Ostgut Ton. Andre Galluzi (one of the club’s residents) set the imprint on its way in 2005 with his pivotal, dark and edgy Berghain 01 compilation. Five years later, the German returns to the label for the first time to deliver a two tracker of cutting edge, percussive techno. Joined by close colleague, Dana Ruh, the pair dive deep into dizzyingly hypnotic territories to bring a slice of the notorious club’s dancefloor to record. Dana, who runs the Broquade platform, highly respected for exploring elegant sound inclinations, is already poised for further collaborations with Galluzzi.
The title track is an understated cut whose attitude and personality lies within the strength of insistent drum patterns, long rolling arrangements and its straight forward approach to the task at hand. Flourishing relentlessly forward, fluttering, tribal-like vocal utterances smear the top layer of sound, adding to the exotic and mysterious vibe. On the flip, "Mauersegler" continues the highly percussive journey but delves deeper into wild terrain, carving itself out a much more urgent path. Tripping delay effects and soft voice manipulations drag the listener further down into this undulating slice of next wave minimalism. Lost in a spinning world of drums and deep grooves, spell-bound listeners are reminded once more what Galluzi, and his resident Berlin club for that matter, can do to even the most fortified minds.
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 My My 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, 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. Excellent stuff.
Review: Long associated with the harder side of techno - on the evidence of his recent mix and pretty much any of his longer club sets, unfairly so - this release sees Berghain Ben Klock attempt to show a more musical flavour. The first version of the title track sees airy, spacey Detroit chords copper-fastened to a typically dense Klock drum pattern, with both seemingly disparate elements acting in unison to create a climax that's as epic as Berghain's Gotham City architecture. A similar approach applies on the second version: it features the same snappy drums and crackling percussion underpinning Klock's previously undocumented lush leanings, but despite this, it would be wrong to assume that it's merely a continuation of the first version. Tellingly, there are also dark, droning tones and hints of the ruthlessly utilitarian approach of his colleague, Marcel Dettmann - and these nuances are also audible on the third and final track, "Static Test". Although there is a building chord sequence, it sounds like a distraction to the main event - a rolling, functional techno rhythm, powered by whiplash percussion and an underlying hint of menace. Top release.
Review: "Czeslawa" is a track Ben Klock tailor made for his sets at Berghain. As he says, "I wanted to have another hypnotic track for my sets which is not too much arranged". The track is a beast, slightly infused with acid, subtly grilling the dancefloor in a way you won't forget too quickly. This is pure techno for the wee hours of the morning. The b-side, "Warszawa", is more playful. The arrangement oozes with high spirits and a swing the makes this track a sure contestant for the primetime. When the snappy strings set in, both rave veterans and novices will embrace each other blissfully.
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: Berlin Young gun Max Kobsoil returns with more interesting techno perspectives on Ostgut Ton, his second appearance for the label since his debut LP We Grow, They Decline. No doubt influenced by his residency at the legendary Berghain, these four sonic weapons are strict and austere: overall sure to cause some destruction on the dancefloor. Beginning with the fierce industrial techno energy of "40000 L", the A side is completed by the abrasive body basher "Bei Nacht H" where its over driven kicks fight it out with nasty textures and grim atmosphere. On the flip, "Derange" is the most tunnelling and hypnotic cut on offer, that's sure to get some strobed out moments happening in that notorious warehouse space. After recent mayhem courtesy of his own RK imprint and releases on MDR, this is heavy stuff, so handle with care!
Review: It was only a matter of time before Etapp Kyle, Ukrainian's new techno king, made it onto the mighty Ostgut Ton. A flurry of releases for Klockworks and Unterton paved the way for these four new tunes on One of Berlin's most legendary institutions, and it's not hard to think about how well these murky bangers would penetrate the Berghain dancefloor. "Alpha" is a deep and cerebral techno spear with a heavy bit of dub bass at its core, and "Quantum" follows up with neat swarms of designer bleeps for the more mindful techno DJs. Over on the B-side, "Source" has all the characteristics of what we like to call 'mind-tech', or rather, the sort of gear to pulsate through the piste at the crack of dawn, which leaves "Ritual" to break the trip with a cavernous wormhole of minimal textures.
Review: Luke Slater's ever-vital LB Dub Corp alias makes a welcome return to Ostgut-Ton with its blend of catchier house dynamics and flamboyant motifs ahead of a soon to drop LP. In the case of "Turner's House" it's the catchiness of the lead synth that grabs you straight away, hopping as it does around a peppy scale as the drums playfully jack between different patterns. "Nearly Africa Dub" is a more subtle affair, reducing the rhythmic sparks down to a linear thrum and feeding the bass line in and out like a particularly teasing bait for the track. Finishing with the most daring track of the lot, "I Have A Dream" gives a vast cushion of organ swells and dubbed out broken techno to Benjamin Zephaniah to pontificate on modern culture in a wry and dry tone.
LB Dub Corp - "Roller" (feat Function - Len Faki interpretation) (6:28)
Function - "DX3_Analog_Bass_Seq" (6:40)
Substance - "Keine Angst" (5:53)
Review: Last year Berlin institution Ostgut Ton marked their ten-year anniversary with an extensive 30 track compilation housed across the width of ten 12"s and packed neatly in a rather fancy looking box set. Long since sold out, Ostgut have done the right thing by commencing a series of individual 12" reissues featuring all of the music for the label fans who missed out first time around. After Eins and Zwei, we arrive at Zehn / Drei which features a triplet of modern techno productions from four of the label's closest associates. Up top Len Faki remixes the LB Dub Corp and Function collaboration "Roller", adding a subtle few notches of intensity to the original, whilst Dave Sumner goes alone on the lead B-side track "DX3_Analog_Bass_Seq". Lastly Substance aka DJ Pete offers up "Keine Angst," a fleet-footed tribal stomper and jacking vocal samples.
Review: Martyn and Roman Lindau are first up on this series of EPs to coincide with Ben Klock's impressive Berghain 04 mix, and it's a must have for fans of deep techno steppers. 'Miniluv' sees Martyn delve into the traditional rhythms of 4/4, with an infectious chime groove sounding out over a shuffling etheral techno beat as lasers shoot out from the depths of the prodduction. Roman Lindau gets all moody on us with the industrial 'Keppra' the subtle patter of pads barely audible below the shuddering growl of the bass line. One of the best releases so far this year.