Luke Slater – Berghain Fünfzehn [OSTGUT127]

Berghain Fünfzehn sees Luke Slater creating new compositions from the Ostgut Ton back catalogue, chopping, looping tweaking and deploying sounds into a mix that is both a playful retrospective of the label and future-facing vision for mixing and dance music. On April 17, seven exclusive tracks from the Berghain Fünfzehn DJ mix will be released on two 12”s and for streaming/digital download. De- and reconstructing the Ostgut Ton discography, Slater’s vision encompasses not only sampling but live electronics and improvisation, resulting in a broad spectrum of heady and liminal dance music: from ultra stripped-back mindfuck techno, vocals and blasts of distortion to breakbeat excursions, minimalistic acid, and rave polyrhythms. In other words: the arc of the label through Slater’s singular hallucinatory prism.

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Luke Slater – Berghain Fünfzehn [OSTGUT127]

Phase Fatale – Scanning Backwards [OSTGUTCD48/LP34]

Scanning Backwards, Phase Fatale’s second full-length album is music about control. Using the connection between weaponized sound and psychological manipulation as a conceptual foundation, Hayden Payne explores the ways in which music – and sub frequencies in particular – are used to influence thinking and to synchronize emotions and behavior: from military technology to sound systems and the physicality and sexuality of queer techno culture. Known for his innovative post-punk takes of dance music, the Berghain resident draws on his background as both a guitarist and sound engineer to create a heady mix of broken rhythms, noise-, and shoegaze-inflected techno, often at slower tempos. The result is music with space and pace to expand, highlighting the intense rushes of frequencies found in both sonic warfare and functional dance music. Over eight tracks named after a combination of historical and fictional narratives from literature and science fiction, Payne’s rhythmic excursions explore different manifestations of sound as power – specifically within the context of seeing Berghain as an instrument itself. This is also reflected in the album artwork, taken from an early flyer for the SNAX party series and an obvious ode to the fetishization of power dynamics.

Continue reading “Phase Fatale – Scanning Backwards [OSTGUTCD48/LP34]”

Phase Fatale – Scanning Backwards [OSTGUTCD48/LP34]

Planetary Assault Systems – Plantae [OSTGUT123]

As Planetary Assault Systems, Luke Slater is an innovator of psychedelic mindfuck techno. Across a lengthy catalogue that stretches back into the 90s, the music’s bleepy, polyrhythmic loops are as recognizable as they are genre-defining. Plantae is Slater’s first release as PAS on Ostgut Ton since Arc Angel (2016) and covers the spectrum of PAS’s different strains while remaining grounded in Slater’s uncanny funk and knack for developing oblique melodies and rhythms over longer stretches. Deepness and hypnosis come as much through duration as sound design. For Slater, Plantae is made for Berghain, where he is a long-standing resident. In his own words: “I’m sure it’s no surprise that when it comes to putting together a release on Ostgut Ton, PAS takes on its more mind-altering, otherworldly quality by natural cause, quietly reflecting the dark sweaty nights and days at the club; at the point, the common neural coupling, of us all together. PAS has been part of Berghain and Berghain part of PAS for a long time.

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Planetary Assault Systems – Plantae [OSTGUT123]

Efdemin – New Atlantis [OSTGUTLP031]

“New Atlantis” is the fourth full-length album by longtime Berghain resident Efdemin aka Phillip Sollmann. Long drawn to utopian musical traditions, Sollmann took inspiration for New Atlantis from Francis Bacon’s unfinished 17th century novel of the same name, which describes a fictional island devoted to social progress through the synthesis of art, science, technology and fashion. In the story, Bacon imagines futuristic ‘sound houses’, which contain musical instruments capable of recreating the entirety of the sounds of the universe; a 400-year-old prophesy of today’s digital sonic reality. Over eight tracks, “New Atlantis” oscillates between fast, kaleidoscopic techno, multilayered drones and acoustic instrumentation, fusing for the first time Sollmann’s deep dancefloor productions as Efdemin with his sound art and experimental music projects.

vinyl / CD

Efdemin – New Atlantis [OSTGUTLP031]

Answer Code Request – Gems [OSTGUTLP28]

Answer Code Request returns with his sophomore album Gens on Ostgut Ton, entering darker but equally bass-heavy territory. Today the musical vision offered by Berghain resident Answer Code Request, real name Patrick Gräser, has proved far-sighted. While at first glance electronic music in 2018 seems increasingly balkanized, borders between genres have once again become fuzzier. Now, on his follow up LP Gens, Gräser looks beyond the bass euphoria of Code toward darker horizons and a desolate atmosphere befitting of current global circumstances. It’s electronic music free from genre constraints – one where a broad palette of broken rhythms, varying speeds, different colors and sound design draws listeners into a synthesized world of its own.

vinyl / CD

Answer Code Request – Gems [OSTGUTLP28]

LSD – Process [OTON109]

This debut single from previously unseen outfit LSD is remarkable for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the trio is made up of legendary UK techno producers Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell and Dave Sumner AKA Function. Given their collective history of making thumping, mind-altering techno, you’d expect Progress to be both heavy and trippy. That’s certainly what you get from opener “Process 1”, where psychedelic electronics and cascading, otherworldly noises rise above an armour-plated techno groove. They push the envelope even further on “Process 2”, a track blessed with restless cymbal lines and weird, off-key electronics. In comparison, the similarly intense “Process 3” seems deep and woozy, though the incessant, 1990 style bleeps and “LFO” style synths guarantees a suitably hallucinogenic feel throughout.

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LSD – Process [OTON109]

Steffi – World Of The Waking State [OSTGUTLP027]

On ‘World Of The Waking State’ Steffi stretches her wings, having created the album in a period when she found herself free from the past and more comfortable in her own skin. The shift in her mindset led to a new freedom of exploration in her creativity, enabling her to write more experimentally and logically resulting in this new album. Gone are the classic drum sounds and conspicuous melodies of her previous works. Instead, Steffi’s productions unify disparate molecular details to forge a greater whole, reflecting a serious commitment to abstract electronic composition that manifests itself here as a totally inimitable collection of tracks. World Of The Waking State is a confident and mature work of complex rhythms and refined melodies. The overall effect is as subtle, unique and thought provoking as the artist herself.

vinyl / CD

Steffi – World Of The Waking State [OSTGUTLP027]

Function – Recompiled I/II [A-TONLP002]

Function retrospective landing on Ostgut Ton’s sublabel A-Ton. Essential techno selection. Recompiled I/II is the first of two vinyl-only releases of Function, which previously contained unpublished pieces as well as already out of print music. Function, one of the true techno-underground veterans, has been active as DJ and musician for over 25 years. He is a founding member of the Sandwell District collective, Berghain-Resident, operates the Infrastructure label and has been publishing Ostgut Ton since 2013.

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Function – Recompiled I/II [A-TONLP002]

Nick Höppner – Work [OSTGUTLP026]

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

Nick Höppner – Work [OSTGUTLP026]

Phase Fatale – Anubis [UNTERTON011]

Berlin-based New Yorker Phase Fatale debuts on Unterton after strong releases with respected labels Jealous God and aufnahme + wiedergabe. Originally coming from a Post Punk / Cold Wave band background Hayden Payne stated in a recent interview: “Techno resulted from a development of Wave and EBM genres and its movements. Punk and Techno share the same mindset, this connection has always been there for me.”

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Phase Fatale – Anubis [UNTERTON011]

Tobias. – Eyes In The Center [OSTGUTLP025]

Tobias. returns to Ostgut Ton with his third full length Eyes In The Center and expands the musical narrative laid out by his Helium Sessions EP (O-TON, 2016). The Berghain resident keeps exploring the vast modular synth-driven Techno, Experimental and Ambient territories on a journey in-between genres. Tobias Freund is long established as an influential artist and has – since the early 1990s – been working as a professional producer, sound engineer, label owner and strictly live musician. On Eyes In The Center Tobias. sticks to this mantra. The album, instead of following a stringent musical concept, channels a certain attitude and sovereignty fed by almost three decades of Tobias. expanding his skills in music production, in their entirety the 12 songs work as a raw, unpolished collage and evoke the spirit of (Post) Punk and the more experimental niches of electronic music. Think Chrome, Residents and Throbbing Gristle – but not Kraftwerk. Or think The Human League, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Der Plan, but think more in terms of musical attitudes and concepts rather than past sound aesthetics.

vinyl / CD

Tobias. – Eyes In The Center [OSTGUTLP025]

Massimiliano Pagliara – Time And Again [OTON101]

Massimiliano Pagliara debuts on Ostgut Ton with his new EP, Time And Again. 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.

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Massimiliano Pagliara – Time And Again [OTON101]

Dettmann / Klock – Phantom Studies [OTON100]

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 2×12″ 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.

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Dettmann / Klock – Phantom Studies [OTON100]

Planetary Assault Systems – Arc Angel [OSTGUT023]

With Arc Angel, Planetary Assault Systems departs to new musical frontiers by focussing on melody, but staying rooted in the purist values of techno that Slater shaped over his decades- and generations-spanning career. Techno album of the highest order.

vinyl / CD

Planetary Assault Systems – Arc Angel [OSTGUT023]

Matthew Styles – Metro EP [OTON098]

Matthew Styles is by no means prolific – just 12 releases in 10 years – but still manages to bring a distinctive touch to each production. In this instance, Styles’ first EP for Ostgut following an appearance on one of the Panorama Bar samplers, there’s a rough and bleary feel to each composition. This sensibility manifests itself in different ways; the title track is a stepping, broken beat affair laced with acid, while the contemplative “Wave 6” sounds like it was created by the Mike Huckaby-loved synth. The only out and out dance floor track, “Border”, is also notable thanks to its shimmering, sleek chords and rolling house beats.

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Matthew Styles – Metro EP [OTON098]

Terence Fixmer – Beneath The Skin EP [OTON097]

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 and 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.

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Terence Fixmer – Beneath The Skin EP [OTON097]