Onur Özer: Watergate 01

Onur Özer's mix is a not-so-subtle advertisement for Berlin 's Watergate Club which officially opened five years ago by the river Spree . Hard to argue with the talent involved: two Vakant cuts by Özer himself (whose affiliation with the club began with a residency at the Dumb-Unit/Vakant parties) as well as steamy contributions from Cabanne, Sammy Dee, Cassy, Ralph Sliwinski, Dinky, Sensitiva, and others. The album's a largely groove-centric affair dominated by jacking house pulses and a strong emphasis on percussive textures and bass thrust (Hector & Star's “La Raza” a perfect example), with scenic twists and turns, peaks and valleys, and even jungle strolls (Jason Blakemore's “Suspicion”) the order of the day.

The seventy-four-minute mix eases into position with Dewalta's low-riding “Salgaro,” whose atmospheric blend of conga-laden throb and scattered noise flourishes makes for an understated and atmospheric intro. Spanish guitar strums bolster its Perlon-styled vibe, just in time for Cabanne and Sammy Dee to push the mix further in that direction with “Keep Going” and “Purple Hummer.” The Arabesque and Turkish sounds of Özer's Istanbul background seep into the mix in the rapid-fire string playing in Jens Zimmermann's otherwise percussive-heavy “C30,” and Patrice Bäumel's “The Roar” does exactly that, with the mix revving its engine for two minutes before starting off on the next leg of its journey. A soulful female vocal loop memorably boosts the delirious thrust of Cassy's “April” but the peak comes with the divine swing of “Hard Loving” whose funk-house attack William Kouam Djoko slathers with a gravelly voice-over (“Not so long ago I thought about your smile…”).

August 2008