Release: 27 January 2017
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Berghain residents Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann link back to Ostgut Ton’s label launch in 2006 with their first studio collaboration in ten years and the extended Phantom Studies, on occasion of the one hundredth O-TON 12“ EP release.
With Phantom Studies Dettmann|Klock channel their first joined releases Dawning (2006) and Scenario (2007) from over a decade ago with their first co-production in ten years. On this extended, 40-minute 2x12" EP Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock parlay their deep personal alliance and musical repertoire through emphasis on new functional Techno as much as hypnotic, melodic and soulful music by thinking outside the box. The seven new, original tracks reflect these attributions by communicating to the needs and expectations of both DJs and home audio listeners, but not neglecting one over the other.
The opening track “Phantom Studies” perfectly combines this spirit with one leg on the floor and one on the couch: the brittle beginning is soon outpaced by a subtle kick, meandering, mesmerizing harmonies, hi-hats and clave sounds as well as bells that join the ranks of Techno music's vast past. Very much a musical piece, evocative and powerful. This aesthetic is present throughout this record, interconnecting home with club settings: “The Room” is likely the darkest piece, decelerated, drone- heavy, menacing and pitch black with Marcel Dettmann on vocals; “Prophet Man” is a laid-back, pulsing Dub Techno piece with plenty of synth pads left and right, nestling a spoken-word sermon by Ben Klock – but not as dead serious as you may think, hence the giggles; “The World Tonight” puts shimmering, frisky synth melodies into the focus while the kick adds some muscularity and ecstasy.
Of course there's something for club use: “No One Around” is a prototypic tool, relentlessly pounding at 134 bpm with an uncompromising sudden start / end; Clocking in at 124 bpm “Bad Boy” lives up to its name through multifaceted hi-hat patterns and swirling synth progressions; “The Tenant” closes out this release with distorted, bending, brazen Acid textures, noisy, dazing vocal samples atop a steady kick drum, completed by a fitting valediction: “Good night!”
Phantom Studies underlines Dettmann | Klock's mutual musical vision – be it in regards of their twelve-year residency at Berghain or challenging dancefloors around the globe.
Release: 10 February 2017
Born and raised in the deep south of Italy Massimiliano Pagliara made his way to Berlin in 2001, quickly diving headfirst into the German capital’s club scene (particularly Berghain’s predecessor club, OstGut) until he started DJing in 2003. By the time of his joining with Ostgut Booking agency in October 2015 Massi had already constantly delivered – the DJ and producer has left a strong mark on House music throughout the years with energetic, playful and deep sets behind the decks, two acclaimed solo albums on Live At Robert Johnson and various collaboration projects. His residency at Panorama Bar therefore was a no-brainer – but the musical link by one of House music’s finest with the club’s label was still missing. Now Massi steps up with four new tracks and his first release on Ostgut Ton.
Heavily influenced by classic Chicago House, Electro and early Disco music Massi’s new EP serves as a cross-section of his musical interest as a producer and sonic palette as a selector. Working with vintage studio gear, analogue synthesizers and classic drum machines, his Time And Again EP is as warm and soulful as it’s lush and bursting with strength.
While the title “If I Try To Forget I Will Miss You Even More” on A1 may hint to romantic and bluesy off-dancefloor music, the opposite is true: the Italo Disco-meets-House track takes a flamboyant development throughout its 7-minutes, is spot-on from the first to last note with glorious synth arpeggios and catchy melodies. Far from mourning ex-lovers but rather for meeting new ones. This EP’s eponymous track on A2 starts with a machine-like rhythm until impelling synth harmonies kick in – loose yourself in the crowd, in a moment, over and over, “Time And Again”.
“To A Faraway Place” connects to this feeling, but starts off on a darker tone – then after the first 60 seconds the mood swings, steadily pushing up and forward until this warm synth- and percussion-driven House cut reaches its climax at about 5 minutes in when a compelling melody takes over. Tune! “A Passing Day” on B2 closes this EP with introverted and slowed down vibes, this calm anchor feels perfectly crafted for dramatic moments within a set and serves well as the closer of this four-tracker.
Release: 3 March 2017
Where to start besides pointing out that Fiedel's debut solo release on Ostgut Ton has been long in the coming, and that it’s a glorious one at the same time. The Berlin-Brandenburg native was there when the wall came down, started DJing in the 1990s at Subversiv, began producing with Errorsmith as MMM in 1996, held a residency at OstGut from 2000 on, continued doing so at Berghain since 2004, runs his own labels Fiedelone and Fiedeltwo, used to work at Hard Wax record store and is a mainstay at Wax Treatment and Killasan Soundsystem.
The old hand of Berlin's Techno scene now presents himself fresh and in top form with his first full-length O-TON record, following up on his already intense contributions to our compilations Fünf (2010), Various (2013) and Ostgut Ton | Zehn (2015) with an even stronger three-tracker. Fiedel's production style breathes the spirit from the early days of Techno music: blending genres and techniques, not focussing on a narrow musical narrative, combining Techno, Acid, Electro, Jungle, Boogie, Dub music and Broken Beats. Substance B is the logical consequence of being an avid vinyl-focussed DJ, experienced producer and a meticulous sound engineer: a compelling sound for a modern age.
The eponymous “Substance B” (on A) starts with a clear statement: play this out in a big, dark room, focus on the subs and tear off the roof while you're at it. Departing from a clear idea which path to follow in the studio Fiedel constructed this high-energy, raving Techno belter around a doubled, heavy, bouncy bassline motif, with additional percussion and bubbling Acid lines slowly swelling until a jacking melody kicks in. Old school hasn't felt so fresh and current for a long time.
“Track 432” on B1 evolved and assumed shape based on a phone-recorded sketch – a technique Fiedel enjoys to use now and then to pin down ideas on the go. Sonically we're at the exact opposite end though: melody-wise this 7-minute lush, deep yet functional cut is reminiscent of shrill sirens, soon intertwined with cowbell jabs, all sitting atop a banging kickdrum and staccato-stabs from the drum machine. “S-Drive” closes this record on B2 with a tidied up and slower jam: its prancing, mesmerizing synth melody is the dominating element here, accompanied by a subtle kick and syncopated snare, hi-hat and other percussive components. Sounds best on wax.
Release: 17 March 2017
After Nick Höppner's debut album Folk (2015) and his collaborative EP with Gonno (Fantastic Planet, 2016) the Panorama Bar resident puts full focus on club music with a new, consistent 3-tracker while also hinting at his next studio album.
This EP's lead track comes in form of a deep Dub Techno aesthetic at an adequate 128 bpm while not neglecting warm and melodic elements. “Box Drop” stands in the tradition of Höppner's interest in musical detail rather than blatant functionality: aside from his recognizable kick drums and basslines Nick lays out plenty of harmonic layers and effects such as string arrangements, leading synth pads, now trickling then rotating sound patterns, making this cut as elegiac and frisky as it’s muscular and straightforward.
“Still” on B1 begins with a more mellow vibe but with the same interest in musical subtleness and melody. And while the track's start is more layed back, it's “still” a club track, slowly swelling and progressing until its break at 2 minutes in and onwards – slightly romantic yet very groove- focussed, a glorious piece of upbeat House music.
“Out Of Sight” on B2 sees Höppner working with female vocal samples whispering from the background while its sturdy bassline, synth bleeps and modulations, shakers and other percussion add to the overall warm and cosmic vibe.
By aiming for a strong musical coherence and dancefloor functionality Nick offers three facets of a familiar mood with the Box Drop EP – ahead of his stylistically and atmospherically more diverse studio album, due out in June on Ostgut Ton.
Release: 12 May 2017
“Some resurrect themselves after near-death experiences in politics, while others continue to appear politically alive even when they have actually died.”
In time for the 20th anniversary of his label Hospital Productions, Dominick Fernow offers the first release of his Techno-focused moniker Vatican Shadow on Ostgut Ton, following up on his Berghain residency and joining Ostgut Booking in 2016 with his Vatican and Prurient projects.
The Cocteau Twins/This Mortal Coil-channelling, beatless widescreen opener “They Deserve Death” and the two collateral club/dancefloor tracks “Rubbish Of The Floodwaters” and “Weapons Inspection” offset each other by reincarnating the tape manipulation that laid the foundation of Vatican’s first performances with analog hardware and minimalist midi-dissection. Produced in Los Angeles with Josh Eustis, Vatican Shadow’s Rubbish Of The Floodwaters EP casts a full spectrum picture of where the project was born and where it headed.
Special focus was put on this EP’s artwork, contributed by Berlin-based photographer Christian Vagt, taken from his Softex series. With Softex Vagt documents the military and police-run refugee camp located on the industrial diaspora near Thessaloniki. Vagt's photograph of Softex' concealing but sheer fence extends Vatican Shadow's recontextualisation of newspaper, military and religious quotes, cementing the sound storage medium of vinyl as a mixed media art object, colligating Vagt’s motif from Softex with Vatican Shadow’s ‘media blackout/silence’.
Release: 14 July 2017
Adding to previous 12“es on Ostgut Ton and his own RK label fellow Neuköllner and Berghain resident Kobosil offers four new uncompromising Techno club tools.
While all cuts on the 105 release share filthy, stone-cold, elemental rhythms – pounding, energetic and hypnotic 4/4 kick drum slaps – the devil is, like with all Kobosil productions, in the aesthetic details. “40000 L” uses gargling synth patterns and howling horns to dramatic effect; “Bei Nacht H (178)” contrasts the kick with a harsh, tinny drumbeat and menacing melody pad, creating a nightmarish vibe.
“Backmask N” on B1 offers heavily alienated vocal samples alongside rave-reminiscing synth stabs and staggered hi-hat percussion. “Derange” closes this four-tracker with grainy drone echoes and throbbing, sizzling synth pulses.
Adding to Kobosil’s full-floor-focussed sonic repertoire 105 shows him from his darkest and most vigorous side yet – this 12“ is a brute, in the most positive sense.
Release: 28 July 2017
Having remixed Depeche Mode and DJ Hell as well as releasing a new Fixmer/McCarthy single with Douglas McCarthy (of Nitzer Ebb), 2017 has already proven to be a productive year for Terence Fixmer. With the new Force EP, the Berghain resident follows up on 2016's Beneath The Skin EP (O-TON 97), offering four stylistically different but congenial Techno scenarios for club use.
The record's eponymous track on A1 doesn't think twice: the initial signal horn starts as sudden as the staggered kick drum rhythm, reoccurring throughout the cut's 6-minute playtime while sustained and oppressive screams from a synth, extra multifaceted EBM percussion and synth drones add to the overall sombre atmosphere of “Force”. The musical vibe distinctly changes with “Sidewalk” which puts more focus on synth melodies – like its predecessor a Techno cut per se, but with a stronger accent on hypnotic motifs.
On B1 “Melting Planets” emphasises the kick: clocking in slightly slower than the other three tracks – at 122 bpm – the bass drum here sounds extra vivid, ever-present and spot-on, just as if Terence was playing the drum kit sitting right next to you. With additional percussion and swirling melodies “Melting Planets” is a lulling, mesmerizing meditation in Dub Techno. “Striking Patterns” on B2 links to the best moments of Force EP's A-side, combining bone-dry bass drum hits and distinctive brazen, banging noises, pulsing synths pads and sizzling surface sounds.
Release: 8 September 2017
It goes without saying that space has always been central to Techno – both in terms of its cosmic and futuristic trajectory, as well as in the spatial dimensions of sonic elements. Etapp Kyle’s first full Ostgut Ton EP release sees the Ukrainian-born, Berlin-based Berghain resident emphasizing the connection between the two, while avoiding Techno’s overt intergalactic clichés.
By partially linking to his Continuum EP (Unterton, 2016), the results are four tracks of pristine, sci-fi minimalism, propelled by Ambient synths and percussive explosions in distant skies – more utopian than dystopian. Opener “Alpha” establishes the cosmic theme from the get go, with chord swells and a whirring, phasing spacewind panning across the stereo image. While a subdued kickdrum gets things started, it’s the rhythmic interplay between dynamic high-hats and halled-out rimshots that guide the track through space. From there, “Quantum” on A2 strips the voyage down to a glowing, unwavering arpeggiated synth line, interspersed with twisted, high-pitched bells and updated 909-esque snare patters.
Etapp Kyle’s deep, bleepy minimalism continues with “Source” on the flipside, where morphing hats and an atmospheric two chord progression lay the foundation for an interlocking array of rhythms. On closer “Ritual”, things take a different turn entirely, as a dirge-like drone resounds across a colossal sonic expanse. Eventually, ASMR-inducing vinyl crackle and miniscule syncopated rhythms fill in the galactic details. A booming, tribal timpani completes the kick-drums in each measure, while shakers hold a groove.
As a producer, Etapp Kyle manages to create atmosphere through an ear for detail and extreme precision. Here, his mix of minute, hallucinatory rhythmic elements and sonic spatial exploration project the tracks beyond the big room to Techno’s biggest room: the universe.