Marcel Fengler: Berghain 05
Ostgut Ton

Marcel Fengler's raw mix, the fifth in the Berghain club's mix series, is ice cold, a glacial set of future-techno machinery that's heavy on propulsion and lean on melody. Fengler keeps the rhythm-focused mix firing on all cylinders throughout, with nary a moment of rest surfacing during the relentless seventy-seven-minute storm. It's a technological marvel of clockwork precision that clearly puts the machines in the driver's seat, and another thing distinguishing Fengler's dynamic set is the generous number of exclusives and previously unreleased cuts it features, specifically about half of the album's nineteen selections.

Marcel Dettmann's spacey vocal edit of Emika's “Count Backwards” locates the set's point of origin in the upper spheres before the locomotive blaze of Peter van Hoesen's “Axis Mundi” brings us down to terra firma with a thumping 4/4 that locks the mix firmly into place for the ride to come. Fengler pretty much keeps his own work out of the setlist, the exception being “Sphinx” and an L.B. Dub Corp remix of “Thwack.” It's also nice to see Terrence Dixon's artistry spotlighted, in this case a slamming Octagen remix of “Tranquility,” whose thrumming techno-funk groove forms a smooth segue into Byetone's “Plastic Star” and Regis's apocalyptic mix of a Tommy Four Seven throwdown, “G.” The intensity drops ever so slightly—not unwelcomingly—for the dubby, atmospheric techno of Secret Cinema's “Timeless Altitude,” and though the mix could hardly be labelled dub-techno, a dubby production character nonetheless seeps into Claude Young and Takasi Nakajima's “Think Twice” and Reagenz's “The Labyrinth.” Things turn seriously trippy when voice cut-ups somersault through a Duplex Southside mix of Gerd's “Time and Space,” but the mix's arguable high point arrives halfway through when Seiji rolls out the delirious snap and tight bass thrust of “More of You,” with its blinding synth chords heating the track's swinging house rhythms.

Though Fengler's mix follows a clear narrative arc, with a gradual build leading to maximum intensity and eventual wind-down (via 20:20 Vision's classic sparkler “Future Remembrance” and Convextion aka E.R.P.'s “Vapor Pressure”), his brand of deep techno is generally euphoric in spirit and jacking in drive—qualities never more evident than during the set's second half when blazers such as Puresque's “001A,” Ben Sims' “Slow Motion,” and Vril's “UV” bring the thunder.

October 2011