Marcel Dettmann, MDR 04

Artwork by Lucy McRae and Bart Hess

[Marcel Dettmann Records]

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As the dark prince of the Berlin club scene, Marcel Dettmann has quite a buzz about him these days. Though he’s been a resident DJ at hotspot Berghain since it opened the first time, he’s a relative newcomer to recorded work, releasing his first tracks in 2006. Now, hot on the heels of his Berghain 02 mix CD comes the latest limited-edition four-tracker on his own imprint, and from the sounds of it, that buzz could soon become a deafening roar.

Kicking off with the beatless “Clime,” Dettmann sets the stage for a dark, rattling trip through on a runaway train car. “Clime” pulses along with industrial noises, deep aquatic tones, and throbbing low frequency waves, full of menace and restrained fury. That fury, however, is fully unleashed seconds later as “Lattice” comes roaring out of the speakers. With a relentless kick drum leading the way, “Lattice” takes you screaming through the stormy Berlin night, heavy rain pelting the train car until finally reaching a deafening climax, jumping the tracks, and finally righting itself on the straight and narrow. Breathtaking and intense, “Lattice” goes toe-to-toe with the black helicopters of Audion’s mighty “Mouth to Mouth” and comes back with a sneer, asking, “Is that all you’ve got?”

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On the flip, the glitchy bounce of “Shatter Proof” soon gives way to a thudding off-center lope that echoes around in circles before finally dropping the bottom out and revealing its sticky, dirty underbelly. “Corebox” is the most straightforward groove here, with a simple four-to-the-floor beat and clunking acid-warped riff — punctuated midway by what sounds like duct tape being torn from flesh — working themselves into a lather over the course of six-plus minutes. Strange and strong, “MDR 04” delivers some seriously powerful gut punches. While he is still more known for his DJ sets than his productions, with a few more releases under his belt, Dettmann will surely find it difficult to keep more and more labels from knocking at his door.

Joe  on August 6, 2008 at 5:07 AM

Not only are the sounds monumental, but the tracks are an absolute joy to mix too.

He’s having a cracker of a year.

chris  on August 6, 2008 at 5:20 AM

lattice is one of the best tunes of this year. this ep is just so massive.

Sam  on August 6, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Calling “Lattice” a “tune” is a bit of a stretch, IMO. This track is an exercise in sound design (which Dettmann juuust pulls off), and the type of thing that could really work *only* if played out on a really excellent sound system – on anything less it will just be monotonous thudding…

hutlock  on August 6, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Totally disagree, Sam. There’s a lot more to “Lattice” than just monotonous thudding; that much was clear playing it on my stereo at home. I won’t argue that it is an exercise in sound design, but that sort of point is just attempting to put things in slots that they don’t really need to be put into (much like referring to anything/everything as “just a DJ tool.”) Sure, there isn’t much melody on the track, but so what? It works well for what it is and I judged it on its own merits.

krul  on August 6, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Fuck baumels’ roar. This is the tool for the summer 😀

hutlock  on August 6, 2008 at 12:05 PM


krul  on August 6, 2008 at 1:08 PM

oh, and spam or not. keep an eye on these guys ->

Sam  on August 7, 2008 at 10:03 AM

Hi Hutlock – don’t get all bent out of shape! My point was that this type of track needs a great sound system to be fully appreciated (in a club environment that is – at home decent speakers should work fine, as would good headphones). Too many times I’ve been out and heard a DJ spinning this type of subtle, sound-designy stuff, which sounds just great in their headphones, but on a bad club PA loses all of the “ambiance” that gives the track shape. The result often times is that the track loses impact and DOES become just dull thudding. This is the problem I have with “tracky” and “tool” oriented sides – and granted my personal taste is for the less “tracky” stuff out there.

hutlock  on August 7, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Well, that’s the part I disagree with, I guess — I don’t hear it as “tracky” really. It changes up a bit more than that, no? But in any case, not getting bent outta shape, no worries! I’m all about discussing and disagreeing as long as someone is bringing a proper take (which you totally are!) We’re allowed to like different things for sure — variety is the spice of life!

littlewhiteearbuds  on August 7, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Thanks for the head’s up, Krul. And thanks to all of you for discussing this so vigorously! LWE <3's comments/discussion.

Joe  on August 8, 2008 at 4:25 AM

i can see what sam means about things becoming dull thudding on bad speakers though. at glade they had funktion one setups – which the previous year had sounded incredble – but they’d set them up ALL WRONG on most of the stages, so there were echoes all over the place, the bass was one big fuzz…so even pretty lightfooted tracks were just turned into hulking walls of BLAH.

i’d have dreaded hearing ‘lattice’ in those circumstances.

mega  on August 12, 2008 at 12:44 AM

‘lattice’ is next level 2 me

its transcendal

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