Panorama Bar resident Nick Höppner gets to “Work” on his second solo album on Ostgut Ton, connecting the territories of House music with the ease of Alt-Pop. Work as in labor. An axiom that fuels the capitalist system just as the Techno/House scene economy says that one needs to keep oneself busy to make a living. As a musician, things are complicated of course. It’s a long way from the romantic idea of creating music simply for the sake of art to becoming a full time musician. Those who have accomplished this feat often find themselves in a professional loop of writing the music, producing it, promoting it (with an info text like this), releasing it and then hopefully selling it. After leaving his full time job as Ostgut Ton’s label manager in 2012, Nick Ho¨ppner went fully freelance, focusing on his musically diverse, deep and dynamic DJing in and outside Berghain’s Panorama Bar, but more importantly spending more time in the studio. The result was his critically acclaimed debut album Folk (Ostgut Ton, 2015), various 12′ releases and remixes, and now his sophomore LP, Work, which, more than ever, lays out his refined production skills and his talent to work the machines until they reveal their inner ghosts: nine new songs that now dodge the dance floor, then fully embrace it.
vinyl / CD
The Fantastic Planet EP sees Höppner collaborating with Japanese DJ and producer Gonno on three bouncy, club-enabled tracks, steeped in early 90s House and UK Electronica vibes.
Its been zehn years, ninety-two 12”; EPs, twenty albums, fourteen DJ mixes, seven Unterton releases, two compilations, one 7 single and one cassette. Within this time, Ostgut Ton has grown as a label not only in terms of catalogue numbers and musical variety, but also in terms of experience, professionality and as a musical haven for Berghains and Panorama Bars residents.
A second 12″ sampler for Ryan Elliott’s soon to drop Panorama Bar 06 mix opens with “Take It Slow”, a rugged house jam of the finest order from The Oliverwho Factory and proceeds to take in cuts from former label manager Nick Hoppner, Deadbeat, Dettmann and Sushitech mainstay Makam. Individually the standard of these exclusives is remarkably high and it will be interesting to see how Elliott has slotted them all together for the free to download mix. If we had to guess, Deadbeat’s superb glistening house burner “Woah” would make an appearance towards the end thanks to his high tempo, whilst Dettmann’s swirling layers of ambience on “Light” feel very much like a set opener.
Earlier this year, Nick Hoppner stepped down from his role as Ostgut Ton label manager, handing the reins to Jenus Baumecker without a hint of self importance or grand standing. The reasoning behind this decision was apparently so Hoppner could dedicate more time to creative pursuits and this has delivered some swift results in the form of Red Hook Soil, a three track 12″ for the label he no longer oversees. The release is Hoppner’s first for Ostgut since 2011, though he’s been active in the interim period gracing Kompakt Extra and Echochord with aplomb. All three tracks on the Red Hook Soil see Hoppner in a four-four mood, with the title track venturing into uplifting, and in parts, melancholic fields of production that share a similar, only more textured feel to 2010?s “Brush Me Down” from the EP of the same name. The B-side is met with strains of Italo on the verging-on-epic “Bait & Tackle”, though Hoppner does move into tougher techno territory with a dryer and regimented track in “Decal”.