Norman Nodge/Samuli Kemppi, Berghain 02|Part II

Photo by Eric Phillips

[Ostgut Ton]

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Each new release from Ostgut Ton builds on an already impressive list of accomplishments, of which becoming an underground multimedia empire is only one. Graduating from 12″ singles, double packs and compilations to albums (Prosumer & Murat Tepeli’s irresistible Serenity) proved the still fresh-faced label’s keen A&R eye (not to mention terrifically talented roster) spanned formats with ease. Only a few months later and Ostgut is ready for the next rung on the ladder. Marcel Dettmann’s forthcoming mix CD, Berghain 02, features four previously unreleased tracks from Shed, Tobias Freund, Norman Nodge and Samuli Kemppi. Ostgut has wisely scooped these up themselves and released them as two split singles, building anticipation for what could well be one of the year’s best mix discs. While “Part I” and “Part II” are both fine releases, for the purposes of this review I’ll focus on the latter’s lesser known pairing of Nodge and Kemppi.

Like a painting which requires observers to stand close to drink in all that’s happening, Norman Nodge’s “Native Electric Rhythm” appears a simple and charged techno track and reveals finely tuned layers upon closer inspection. Much of its melody is implied rather than overt, found along the edges of the scratchy rhythm etched into the tune’s burbling low end. Nodge imbues visceral tension just below the surface of the track which occasionally seeps through in the form of bursts of fizzling electric current, as if listeners’ ears came too close to the power line they were carefully monitoring. Only the fourth song Nodge has ever released, “Native” keenly refines the sound of his debut to an equally brain-tingling and body-moving end. Helsinki-based Samuli Kemppi offers his own techno nuance with “Vangels,” though his version displays its details on its sleeves rather than just beneath them. Its tough exterior of accented bass, scuffed synth stabs and delayed pings lays the groundwork for tangled chime syncopations to unwind and cast an foreboding glow upon dancers.

There seems to be no end in sight for Ostgut’s string of top notch releases, and thus far their ever-expanding roster has proven to be unusually solid proving ground for emerging talents like Norman Nodge, Samuli Kemppi, Tama Sumo and Shed (to a lesser extent). If there’s anything these taste-makers can’t do, I haven’t found an example yet.

Joe  on May 9, 2008 at 12:02 AM

The more I hear about Berghain 02, the less I can bear to wait.
That is, to both hear the mix and to go there myself.

chrisdisco  on May 10, 2008 at 11:25 PM

i happen to be listening to ‘vangel’ as i type this. i think samuli’s track is the standout of the whole mix. really amazing track. actually, all the new cuts on this mix are bang on. the nodge one is fantastic and ‘mo 1’ by T is another highlight.

you are bang on about ostgut. very, very impressive label and crew.


Little White Earbuds » Little White Earbuds May Charts  on June 3, 2008 at 10:02 PM

[…] Norman Nodge, “Native Electric Rhythm” [Ostgut Ton] (buy) 07. Lee Jones, “As You Like It” (Recloose remix) [Aus Music] (buy) […]

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