Marcel Fengler, Thwack

[Mote Evolver]

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Practically every piece I read on Marcel Fengler presents him as the criminally underrated underdog of the Ostgut Ton stable. He’s not there just yet, we’re told, but he’s well on his way. While I can’t wait to see him finally break out of this cycle of proto-hype, I tend to agree with this assessment. The guy can do battle with the best of them as a DJ, but his records — spritely techno built up from tense, twitchy loops — have yet to feel truly essential. But on his latest release, the Thwack EP for Luke Slater’s Mote Evolver imprint, Fengler feels like he might finally be leaping out of the whirlpool. Bigger, punchier, and more self-assured than his previous string of 12″s for Ostgut Ton, the Thwack EP doesn’t just sound like the work of a hungry young producer; he sounds like he’d eat the whole party sub at the coming-out soiree we critics finally owe him.

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Fengler’s productions so far — most notably “Twisted Bleach,” his last big play at breaking through — have lacked the center of gravity that characterizes strong, successful techno records. This criticism can absolutely not be levied at “Thwack,” one of the most aptly titled A-sides of the year so far. Fengler’s bass drum just slams, allowing the kind of sandpapery microsample that’s previously done all the work on his records to instead rightfully act as ornamentation. Ironically for such a pulverizing techno record, Fengler’s stronger core lends the arrangement a good deal of space, lightening the load on each element and putting dancers on a faster track to peak time bliss. On the flip, Fengler again puts a twitchy loop at the center of his arrangement. While it lacks the structural sophistication that makes the A-side such a leap forward, “Sculptures,” a dead-ringer for early Los Hermanos, thwacks plenty hard. Fengler has always had his own sound, but at a label chock full of strong techno personalities, a producer still coming into his own stuck out like a sore thumb. Now that he’s released his best record elsewhere, I’m interested to see what kind of fire he’ll bring for his next home label project. Marcel Fengler, welcome to the big leagues.

Blaktony  on June 17, 2010 at 11:39 AM

I played this Mutha-Fuka 4x’s before i commented (LOUD!!!); Welcome 2 the big-room 4 real…. not 4 the faint of heart.

james  on June 18, 2010 at 6:01 AM

I don’t agree. He’s released great music for Ostgut – Twisted Bleach is brilliant and Friction is massive. His sets at Berghain strike the right balance between the sometimes too worthy purism of Dettmann and the OTT high jinks of Len Faki. Not sure what more he has to do to get this props really…

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