To many, Ben Klock is techno. Given his lengthy CV, this is hardly surprising. LWE sat down with Klock in New York to talk about the ’90s, the warmth of Berghain techno and his dad’s experience at the club.
Sigha’s latest, which arrives on his own newly launched Our Circula Sound imprint, builds on the attention grabbing yet keenly subtle sound he’s developed across several records for home base Hotflush Recordings.
Expectations greatly inform our record buying habits. What do you expect from Marcel Dettmann? If previous releases are to be believed it’s stripped down, no nonsense techno. What about from his friends Norman Nodge and the either incognito or actually-a-newcomer Wincent Kunth? More or less the same thing, and that is exactly what’s on display here with four remixes of Dettmann material which didn’t make the album.
If Luke Slater’s Temporary Suspension reminded us anything, it’s that the rough techno waves being made by your Dettmanns and Levons are not without precedent, and that techno veterans are keen to be still be part of the sound they, in many ways, defined. For every Delta Funktionen or Frozen Border looking to offer their new take on techno there’s a Regis, Robert Hood or James Ruskin picking up the 909 again and getting back to work. Ostgut Ton chose Hood and Kenny Larkin to remix Ben Klock; and so, in a sort of antisymmetry, they choose some of the most influential producers of the past couple years to remix one of the 90’s more influential figures.
When you’re a label as well respected as Diamonds & Pearls, audiences tend to expect a lot from each new platter. Add boldfaced names like Tobias Freund and Efdemin, the pair responsible for the first of D&P’s Phantasma series, and expectations could’ve burst through the ceiling. Yet after “Vol. 1” struggled to satisfy as anticipated (largely down to a surprisingly lackluster Efdemin cut), the Phantasma series took a dip into relative obscurity. To be sure, this was listeners’ loss as “Vol.2” offered “Choices,” a resplendent Matthew Styles and Dinky collaboration and “Machupichu,” a Pier Bucci joint of nearly equal quality. “Vol. 3,” however, is unlikely to suffer a similar fate with Marcel Dettmann on one side and a Prosumer/Tama Sumo collaboration on the other. As the latter has already evinced in the mix (Panorama Bar 02, to be specific), this is a record many DJs won’t want to leave home without.
There’s a certain beauty to more commercially viable artists putting their songs up for remixes, especially when the artists are already teetering on the outer edges of said commercialism and the remixers in question are firmly ensconced in decidedly more underground musical pursuits. A house producer, for example, will largely stick to calling in similar artists to re-rub their tracks, while a slightly more mainstream act will generally gather together a more diverse range of producers to reinterpret their original compositions. Fever Ray haven’t necessarily traveled through every genre of dance music to assign remix duties for “Seven,” but they have chosen an interesting ensemble of talent to perform these duties.
After a banner year in 2008, releasing his first mix CD to widespread acclaim and seeing his profile rise a hundred-fold, Marcel Dettmann has let none of his newfound fame go to his head. He is still innovating, which means that he’s still doing things according to his own rules. The summer’s Deuce record with Shed largely ignored trends and instead demolished them, roughing techno up to a point beyond what many were familiar with. “MDR 06” is his first solo record since the last contribution to his own shadowy Hardwax-distributed label. Following an extremely stripped back and paranoid (not to mention flat out devastating) remix of Fever Ray’s “Seven,” “MDR 06” doesn’t so much continue Marcel’s sound as refine it.
In discussions of his solo and collaborative productions for Ostgut Ton and his own MDR label, his biting remixes for folks as disparate as Modeselektor and Sandwell District, and his infamously expansive DJ sets, club music commentators invariably accuse Marcel Dettmann of being a purist. But purism — as a stance on techno — implies pretension, and you’d be hard pressed to meet a man who puts on fewer airs about this music than Dettmann. At his headlining appearance at New York’s famed Bunker party, he may have threaded the needle from Tan-Ru’s “Assembly” (his fitting tribute to the late Ian Loveday, who passed away in June) to Newworldaquarium’s “Trespassers” and touched on countless rare techno sides in between. But if Dettmann — casually clad in jeans and an MDR t-shirt and handing out high-fives to all who approached him — played professor in any regard that night, it was only delineating how one brings down the house and keep revelers enraptured straight through 6 a.m. A few hours before all this madness commenced, I sat down with the famed Berghain resident for a chat on dubstep, Deuce, and what this whole techno thing means to the man who has lately come to personify it.
Where is the original version of “Variance”? What about “Variance II”? Who is N/A (or is the artist’s name just “not available”)? Thing is, the original artist’s name doesn’t really matter; the only name that does is Sandwell District. They’ve always had a penchant for facelessness, and with the recent release of the “Variance Edits” over two pieces of vinyl they’ve gone a step further into anonymity. But you always know where you stand with Sandwell District, and here they give you exactly what you ordered: “True. Techno. Music.”