Ben Klock: Berghain 04
Ostgut Ton

Though Ben Klock's Berghain 04 has all the precision-tooled earmarks of an Ostgut Ton release, Klock's outing exudes a warmth and humanity that's sometimes downplayed on the label's other releases (e.g., Marcel Dettmann's recent self-titled album, which feels like it beats with a machine-driven rather than human heart). In addition, on his seventy-minute set, Klock, a Berlin-born DJ (resident at Berghain since its opening in 2004), producer (responsible for the recent debut album One on Ostgut Ton), and label owner (Klockworks, founded in 2006), appears to be as interested in funk and soul as he is hard techno. In simplest terms, the mix is sleek and streamlined, and free of breakdowns and dramatic shifts in mood or dynamics. Klock eschews delirious climaxes for aerodynamic cruise control, and ensures that a thudding bass drum is never out of the picture for long.

After a beatific prelude of vaporous ambient design (154's “Apricot”), the mix shifts the focus to skeletal techno in DVS1's “Pressure” with a simple organ motif repeating relentlessly alongside claps and a minimal beat pulse. The mix gains force with the arrival of Dettmann's pumping makeover of Junior Boys' “Work,” the rumbling house swing of Martyn's deep bass banger “Miniluv,” the jazzy chug of Levon Vincent's “The Long Life,” and the controlled euphoria of Mikhail Breen's “Veracity.” Minneapolis-based DVS1 (also a Klockworks artist) lights up the skies with the swinging house rave of “Confused” and its chunky synth stabs and syncopated handclaps, while shout-outs to Detroit and Chicago in “De Cago” clearly reveal where Rolando's head is at—not that it would be hard to guess, given the tune's slinky pulse and spacey synth treatments. With surging synthetics powered by a pounding kick drum, Klock's own “Compression Session 1” is a trippy and banging affair too. The final third of the album finds him working in some dub-techno via the chrome-plated thump of Roman Lindau's raging “Keppra” and The Echologist's “Dirt,” as well as gyroscopic techno-funk in the form of Tyree's “Nuthin Wrong” (whose dizzying vocal cut-ups help make the tune stand out). Adding to the solid release's appeal is the fact that of its nineteen tracks nine are previously unreleased and six are exclusives.

July 2010