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Various – Fünf review

The fascinating (and, when you think about it, wholly appropriate) concept behind Ostgut Ton’s fifth anniversary compilation was conceived by British born, Berlin based artist Emika. In a recent interview she revealed that on a night out at the label’s affiliate club Panorama she noticed the “metal panels on the walls resonating and the motors from the lights making noise”. And so, at that moment, Fünf was born. Some discussions with Ostgut Ton label manager Nick Höppner followed, and soon after Berghain and Panorama Bar’s family of artists were given a host of field recordings taken from within the club after hours – be it humming fridges, creaking doors or unseen footsteps – and asked to make a track using these sounds as their sonic foundation. The results are stunning, with a disparate yet inexorably linked sonic tapestry that ranges from subtle soundscapes (Emika’s “Changing Room” and Marcel Dettmann’s beatless “Shelter”) to dubsteppish techno (Fiedel’s “Doors To Manual”), minimal house (Dinky’s “Twelve To Four”) and straight up bangers (Shed’s “Boom Room”); indeed the latter reminds us how good Rene Pawlowitz is at making no-nonsense, unadulterated club tackle.

Elsewhere, Marcel Fengler shows his underrated production prowess on the growling “Shiraz”, while Prosumer’s “Daybreak” has the stripped back, thumping appeal that suits the house-cum-techno sound of his Panorama Bar residency. Höppner conjures one of the more sonically rich efforts in “ISP”, with layered percussion offset by mechanical groans, while Steffi constructs a groove on “My Room” that makes for a funkier house jam than most producers can conjure with unlimited sounds at their disposal. Others outside the immediate Berghain/Panorama family also make stellar contributions, with material from Hardwax employee DJ Pete aka Substance, Cassy, Margaret Dygas, Ryan Elliott, SCB (aka Scuba) and the aforementioned Dinky. Elliott’s “Abatis” is another standout, suggesting the young producer is a worthy baton holder in the famed Detroit-Berlin axis. Considering the relative paucity of sounds available here (yes, they were given four gigabytes worth but there are only so many sounds a building can make), the results here are as rich and varied as you could possibly hope. Think of it as a little slice of Berghain/Panorama for you to call your own – picky bouncers not included.

Aaron Coultate