Marcel Fengler, Thwack Remixes

Photo by Elizaveta Porodina


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Marcel Fengler’s original “Thwack” is one of the most mercurially monstrous things the German producer has yet unleashed, an utterly distinctive flurry of flashbang handclaps and white-hot snares. Released last year on Luke Slater’s Mote-Evolver label, it’s no surprise that the track would be cherry-picked for the remix EP treatment, and its rather late arrival is well timed with the looming release of Fengler’s Berghain 05 mix CD. But timing politics regardless, Thwack Remixes easily stands on its own two feet.

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First up is fellow Berghain associate Norman Nodge, who provides the EP’s highlight with a sped-up rework that gently tweaks rather than demolishes, putting the emphasis on a jacking rimshot progression that sends it leaping into the air every few bars. But like Nodge’s recent The Happenstance EP, there are other ideas here afoot than just austere techno, and the track’s extended breakdown leads it into a heady froth of simmering percussion, constantly on the verge of ignition until a massive sub-bass line fissures through the bottom and takes the track on a massive upheaval. It’s the kind of queasily powerful move that feels like it’s indiscriminately blasting right through whatever structure was left, and the fact that Nodge’s “Thwack” rework manages to somehow rebuild itself after such a low-frequency assault is proof to his expert handling of hazardous techno materials.

While Nodge’s might stand head-and-shoulders above because of its cunningly controlled chaos, the other contributions hold their own. Label head Luke Slater contributes two remixes, an electro-infused arpeggiated techno workout as Planetary Assault Systems — which sounds like his recent Temporary Suspension album with the movement confined to microscopic distances. His turn as L.B. Dub Corp comes as a digital bonus and values space and inaudible low frequencies over crashing clangor, a nice breather after three slabs of unforgiving techno. That leaves us with ambient techno producer Mike Parker, who chooses a more direct route than some of his recent material, melting “Thwack”‘s elements down to thick liquid and gleefully watching them slosh and squelch in a punishingly repetitive pattern. Befitting of the source material, it’s more aggressive than tracks like “Subterranean Liquid,” but different enough from the others to nicely round off a satisfying package of remixes. Like any EP with four remixes of the same track, your mileage may vary, but safe to say there’s at least one here for anyone who might consider themselves a techno head in 2011.

Pete Srdic  on August 2, 2011 at 6:10 PM

ohhh yeah, the PAS rmx is the biz. Great stuff. Slater is on fire lately.

chris  on August 2, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Mike Parker has made some more ambient stuff, but I definitely would not be describing him as “an ambient techno producer”.

Vincent  on August 3, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The Mike Parker one really is hit or miss. Apparently Mote Evolver decided not to release the L.B. Dub Corp remix digitally and have it appear exclusively on the Berghain 05 compilation by Marcel Fengler but you can still buy it at Boomkat. Interestingly when this appeared exclusively on beatport that remix was NOT for sale. So my guess is Boomkat forgot the memo and didn’t pull it off their site.

richard  on August 16, 2011 at 4:03 AM

Chris – how about a bleep techno producer for Parker?

I love his record on Prologue, but not so mad on this a bit samey and boring

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