Next week sees the release of Fünf, a 2xCD compilation celebrating the fifth anniversary of Ostgut Ton.
Ostgut Ton is the in-house label of Berlin’s Berghain and Panorama Bar, managed by Nick Höppner and home to releases from the likes of Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Shed and Prosumer. For Fünf, Ostgut Ton asked their core artists to contribute specially made tracks. To provide them with inspiration, British artist Emika made and collected a huge array of field recordings sourced from Berghain, including the humming of lighting rigs, vibrating backstage mirrors and countless other unlikely resonances. The artists – including not just the aforementioned but also the likes of Tama Sumo, Marcel Fengler, Norman Nodge, Soundstream, Luke Slater and Dinky – used these sounds to colour their compositions, which in the main adhere to the sinewy house and square-jawed techno aesthetics that define Panorama Bar and Berghain respectively.
We’ve got three of the most distinctive tracks from the compilation available for you to stream below, a week ahead of release. Fiedel, who is one half of the mighty MMM and also one of Berghain’s longest serving residents, weighs in with a rare solo production, ‘Doors To Manual’. A clanging, banging monster of a track, its rhythmic jaggedness recalls early grime and the latter day rudeboy syncopations of Lil Silva and the Night Slugs family, but the overall effect is somehow still very Fiedel, very Berghain, very Berlin. Len Faki‘s ‘Kraft Und Licht’ is somewhere between pensive, cinematic dubstep and cavernous warehouse rave, with some of the most epic dancefloor builds we’ve ever heard, and Shed’s ‘Boom Room’ is a shapeshifting techno floorfiller in the vein of his Equalized and WAX material. Three tough tracks from three of the world’s finest producers; what more encouragement do you need? Stream the music below, and then read the following Q&A with Emika about the origins of Fünf and her experience of recording the “natural” sounds of Berghain.
We’ve got a copy of the Fünf album to give away; to be entered into the draw to win it, simply email your name and the word ‘funf’ to email@example.com.
How did you first meet Nick and become involved with Ostgut Ton?
“I first met Nick when I did a collaboration EP with MyMy called ‘Price Tag’, and we became friends. Prior to this I had been going to Berghain most weekends, the DJs, music, club space and party people inspired me every time and I always went home feeling connected to my own inner music and dreams. There is a certain sensation one can’t really put into words, which develops when you dance in the dark for hours surrounded by amazing music and people This sensation became the fuel for much of my creativity, more specifically, my idea to do field recordings in the club. It wasn’t until Nick developed this into the Ostgut Ton anniversary compilation that I became directly involved with Ostgut Ton.”
Where did the idea for Fünf (and your role in it) spring from?
“I had dinner with Nick and his wife and told him about my field recording idea, we all talked about it, and it developed into the idea for Fünf. My role in the project was recording and editing the sounds into a library which grew to be 4GB in size. The editing process took several weeks; cutting and categorising the sounds was a big task. I spent a lot of time planning how to record the sounds in the most natural way possible, I did not use any post-production on the recordings, and I focused on how they could be used in a musical context. I made sure there was a large collection of percussive sounds for example.”
Were you pissed off when you heard about Matthew Herbert’s One Club album (recorded using field recordings made in Frankfurt’s Robert-Johnson club)?!
“No, not at all. I am more intrigued and curious about the ebb-n-flow of ideas and creativity happening today. I confess, your question called for me to Google his project as I didn’t know the details, and from the press I can find, it sounds totally different. My focus was always to create a big sound library, which the Ostgut Ton artists could use however they liked in the creation of their own music. My only concern was how make good quality recordings which would inspire them. A lot of dance music typically evolved from the use of machines and technology, not from field recordings, so it’s interesting to hear what music evolved from the sound of the club itself.”
What was the strangest or most surprisingly interesting sound-source you found in Berghain?
“1. The entire light rig. The strobes and other lights are controlled and sequenced by the light desk, they have strange mechanical conversations, combined with the rhythmic patterns of the strobes = an interesting sound source. Playing this recording back through the monster PA was pretty awesome.
2. There is a huge mirror backstage which I recorded using Contact Microphones as the mirror vibrates from the sound of the party.
3. The cooling rooms in Berghain store hundreds of bottles and the ventilation system here makes unnerving bass frequencies.”
What are your favourite tracks on the compilation? Did any artists really amaze you with how they used the sounds you recorded?
“Marcel Dettmann’s two tracks, Substance, Prosumer, Soundstream and Boris, are my personal favorites. The whole compilation showcases each artists signature aesthetics and originality, it’s a unique release which is the thing that really amazes me. They are a very talented collective of artists!”
What else are you up to at the moment? You’ve been working with Pinch, right?
“Correct! I featured on his track 2012 for the Scientist Tectonic compilation. I used to go to his night at The Black Swan when I lived in Bristol, through him and his friends I was introduced to dubstep. He is one of my producer heroes and a massive inspiration. Every time I hear his music I am very jealous I didn’t make it myself. He sent me the 2012 instrumental and I recorded the vocals in Berlin, it was all pretty off the cuff and of the moment. Lately, I have been Counting Backwards…6..8..9..1..1..0…8..0…which is the title of my next EP.”