Ben Klock – Compression Session review

Long associated with the harder side of techno –  on the evidence of his recent mix and pretty much any of his longer club sets, unfairly so – this release sees Berghain Ben Klock attempt to show a more musical flavour. Maybe his dealings with DVS1 through Klockworks have brought him to this place, or perhaps he’s just sick of being portrayed as a merciless, panel-beating merchant. Irrespective of the speculation about the reason for this sideways shift, the first version of the wonderfully named “Compression Session” sees airy, spacey Detroit chords copper-fastened to a typically dense Klock drum pattern, with both seemingly disparate elements acting in unison to create a climax that’s as epic as Berghain’s Gotham City architecture.

A similar approach applies on the second version: it features the same snappy drums and crackling percussion underpinning Klock’s previously undocumented lush leanings, but despite this, it would be wrong to assume that it’s merely a continuation of the first version.  Tellingly, there are also dark, droning tones and hints of the ruthlessly utilitarian approach of his colleague, Marcel Dettmann –  and these nuances are also audible on the third and final track, “Static Test”. Although there is a building chord sequence, it sounds like a distraction to the main event – a rolling, functional techno rhythm, powered by whiplash percussion and an underlying hint of menace.

Richard Brophy