Although his decades-long career is as storied and diverse as they come, DJ Harvey’s name usually gets slated in the oft-misused “Balearic” category. It’s not an unfair categorization, but Harvey is Balearic like his comrades Rub N’ Tug are Balearic — that is to say, he might play slow and cheesy at times, but his sets are chiefly about going hedonistically across the board. Last year’s Locussolus LP mimicked this range of interests, matching druggy disco slow-burners with techy, tracky sleaze-house. It’s the latter that Berghain, his first release as Locussolus since that LP, draws upon. Supporters of the titular club constantly protest about how pigeonholed the Berghain sound is, and they may be correct; but dissociating that industrial pummel from Friedrichshain is as hard as extracting the NYC Peech Boys from the Paradise Garage.
With that in mind, the tightly wound bounce of the title track doesn’t sound much like anything Dettmann or Klock would play. It’s weirdly sluggish, led largely by a laser-like arpeggio that expands and narrows alongside flourishes of bass-line funk. Sporadic bursts of noise do hint at that sound, but the playful arrangement counters most of its potential menace. “Telephone” (Mediterranean Mix), meanwhile, does recall a club — Frankfurt’s Robert Johnson — or at least its associated Live At Robert Johnson label. The track is an infectious slice of disco-house, with its bubbly main melody underscored by a gritty bass line and fizzing keys. A wailing guitar solo and a cheeky female vocal that coaxes, “touch me on the telephone/I like it,” send the fun factor through the roof. As if any more proof was needed, Harvey knows a party.