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Answer Code Request picks up where he left off with his album (Code, Ostgut Ton, 2014) and 12“ (Calm Down, MDR, 2015): With the Neume EP the Berghain resident offers three new tracks, meandering between restrained club contexts and brittle break beats, machinery and futurist soulfulness.
The eponymous track “Neume” starts off on A with shuffling rhythms atop a heavy kick, soon caught up by first surging then predominant drone motifs, flashing bleeps and piercing strobe sounds.
“Meta” on B1 clocks in instantly without any build-up: Its rhythm section sets the tone with broken beats while ACR slowly carves out more musical detail and textures: subtle command vocals from the machine room, swelling synth pads and other chilling, athmospheric means are subsequently being added until the track’s break where the emphasis shifts towards the kick, pads and synth melodies until the track’s sustained, smooth outro.
“Vis” on B2 is the EP’s most protruding track: classic UK Garage shuffle rhythms and Amen breaks are contrasted by a funky kick and dreamful pads, intertwined with additional sparse percusion, layered with what in the first instance sounds like chirping birds but then like sparking wires. Answer Code Request continues what he does best: combining the warm human touch with chilled alienated aesthetics.
Nick Höppner returns to Ostgut Ton after last year’s Folk album and a split release with Fort Romeau (Cin Cin, 2015). The Fantastic Planet EP sees him collaborating with Japanese DJ and producer Gonno on three bouncy, club- enabled tracks, steeped in early 90s House and UK Electronica vibes.
Höppner met Sunao Gonno on his first travels to Tokyo in 2008 where they clicked immediately: A similar musical upbringing from Post Hardcore to club music paved the way for Gonno and Nick where the language barrier would’ve been a stumbling block otherwise – firstly as a foundation for a personal relationship, later for an ad hoc three day stint in Höppner’s studio when Gonno visited Berlin for his DJ debut at Panorama Bar. Despite the limited time together, all three pieces evolved from initial jams and sketches to tidied up tracks, not only sharing a resembling emotion but also playful and detailed musical elements.
“Spocking Fivers” on A opens on a more jazzy and breakbeat note, with snapping fingers, various synth pads and percussion slowly building layer upon layer, up until a warm kick, some gentle melody and bubbling sounds take over. It’s a grower, in terms of running time and track development.
“Fantastic Planet” on B1 comes with a strong, continuous 4/4 bassline and organic percussion from start to end, further on dominated by hypnotic melody stabs and a swelling climax – a muscular yet detailed piece. Finally “As Above, So Below” follows more romantic and dreamy motifs, by using a more mellow downbeat theme it lets all squeaky sounds mesh nicely.
Tobias. explores space and gasiform substances with his Helium Sessions on Ostgut Ton. Following his recent image and sound collaboration with visual artist Valentina Berthelon as Recent Arts, Tobias. now delves into the idea of music reminiscing gas leaking into space with four new tracks.
While we all agree that there can’t be sound in a vacuum, Science Fiction taught us the opposite, that space can potentially sound hyperfuturistic, hostile yet exciting. And since the Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered the deepest sound in the universe near a supermassive black hole – why should analogue synth jams with the stars seem impossible?
With Helium Sessions Tobias. proposes an acoustic representation of the gaseous state of matter in space. “LAGEOS 1” on A1 already sets the tone with meandering drones atop a gnawing synth pad and distorted flickering percussion. The title refers to the satellite LAGEOS-1 which will continue to orbit planet earth in 5,860 kilometers altitude for another 8.4 million years (or 4.418064E+12 minutes) – we’ll let you do the maths of how often the 6:03-minute “LAGEOS 1” could be played until the satellite’s returnal.
“Nucleon” on A2 comes with a more dubby, deep and throbbing feeling, “Helios” on the flip features epic noise textures with shimmering melodic synth leads and a multi-layered break beat vibe, while “Spectrum V” on B2 closes this 12“ with another dub cut, detailed synth explorations and alienated vocal bits.
Helium Sessions offers four new zero-g tracks from Tobias. spread out over 27 minutes on this extended EP, his third full-length album will be landing in 2017.
There's few names that have left their mark on electronic music throughout time like Terence Fixmer did. The French producer has been releasing music since 1993 most notably under his own name, but also with his music wise wide-ranging alter egos Eisbär, Cyborg, Gemini 9, Scanner and – together with Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas McCarthy – as Fixmer / McCarthy. It’s thanks to people like him that Electronic Body Music eventually traversed towards contemporary club contexts and now remains being a defining part of dancefloors in general, or a Klubnacht in particular. By combining the aesthetics of EBM, Electro and Industrial music with the rhythmics of Techno, Fixmer coined and occupied his very own musical niche as a producer and live act.
At Ostgut Ton we’ve always been intrigued by Terence’s production style, his use of hard synth lines, guttural vocal samples, sharp-edged hi-hats, or to cut the matter short: his deep, glowering approach to sequencer Techno with EBM jabs. Therefore it’s great seeing him continue this path with four new tracks on the Beneath The Skin EP, following up on 2015’s Aktion Mekanik Theme Versions that featured remixes of the Music Man Records classic “Aktion Mekanik Theme” by Ostgut Ton's Kobosil, Marcel Dettmann and Norman Nodge.
As aforementioned Beneath The Skin comprises the various musical facets of a Klubnacht: dark, pounding slaps and discomforting yet soaring synths (“Beneath The Skin”), Acid Techno modulations and lone voices in the dark (“Trace To Nowhere”), hypnotic synth progressions and ambient textures (“Devil May Care”) and finally some rest and soothing (“Immersion”).
Chances are you've already danced to one of his sets at Panorama Bar – Matthew Styles has been a regular guest DJ at the club for several years –, but you've probably also come across at least one record with music that went through the Englishman's meticulous hands. While Matthew has released great but small numbers of 12"es on various labels since 2007, his credits in mixing, engineering and mastering exceed his solo discography by far.
With the Metro EP we're finally offering a full solo release by Matthew Styles on Ostgut Ton, accounting for his consistent productional finesse, especially with his original track “Liquid Sky” (on Nick Höppner's Panorama Bar 04, 2012) and his 'Dub Mix' of Dinky's “Planes” (on Ostgut Ton | Zehn, 2015).
“I’ve never worked on a sequential set of songs that came out on the same record,” Matthew commented on this 12“. As with his productional approach in general, the Metro EP has a certain timelessness: “One piece is from 8 years ago, one from 3 years ago and another from around the time of the recent birth of my second son. I’ll leave it up to the listener to guess which is which.”
The eponymous “Metro” on A is an elated seven-minute, trippy, meandering analogue synth exploration in House and Cosmic Disco. “Wave 6” opens the flipside with a simple yet beguiling melody: 6 notes dancing completely beatless in 5/4 time, meandering repetitively and escalating towards a blissful – yet only anticipated – climax. “Border” on B2 is a solid addition to the long history of Dub Techno – smooth, steady, super layed back, but also offering many colorful melodic elements.
With Barker & Baumecker things are never black or white, straight and narrow, either-or, on/off – the two Berlin-based producers and DJs Sam Barker & nd_baumecker have a musical mind all of their own and share multifaceted musical interests not restricted to floor functionality alone – behind the decks they feel equally at home with House- and Pop-friendly vibes at Panorama Bar or the darker shades of bass music on the Berghain floor, they have sweet spots for Disco music in the Berghain Garten and experimental and ambient sounds in the Halle for Elektroakustischer Salon. Long story short: Barker & Baumecker love sonority, both in terms of various genres and high fidelity.
Preceding their album Turns – out via Ostgut Ton on 25 November 2016 – Barker & Baumecker return with a double faced two track 12“. “Love Hertz” is a blissful, uplifting, melodic and – at times – bluesy UK Bass-inspired cut, shuffling and playfully flicking throughout. The record’s alternate lead track “Cipher” on the flip side is a rework of a two-part track from the forthcoming Turns LP: while the album’s “Encipher & Decipher” puts focus on the home listening-aspect, this 12“es’ “Cipher” is made for the club. The track’s atmospheric build-up eventually turns in favor of a heavy, dark kick drum and multi-layered percussion, feeling at times as if the duo’s hammering onto Berghain’s steel staircase.
Barker & Baumecker are sound fetishists, carefully and scrupulously sculpting their clang on analogue synth machinery, all without turning to cacophony and always staying compositionally sound – established, grown-up club kids with attitude and love for music.