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Rolando – 5 To 8 EP review

Berghain and its residents may be the epicentre of the techno and house universe right now, but they never forget to acknowledge who and what they have been inspired by. Indeed, while Ben Klock’s mix CD for sister label Ostgut Ton last year showcased new school talents like Martyn, Jonas Kopp and Roman Lindau, it also featured a long-lost Tyree classic as well as giving tacit recognition to Detroit’s influence on modern-day Berlin techno with contributions from Rolando.

While the “Knights of the Jaguar” creator has focused his efforts in recent years on house music, “De Cago” sees him re-explore the middle ground between these styles and fittingly, there’s a solemn vocal intoning ‘Detroit…Chicago’. This is a familiar trick and one that has gained currency as a lazy crutch in recent times. Thankfully though, in Rolando’s hands it becomes an effective weapon as he filters it in DBX-style and it also helps that he underpins it with a dense, drummy groove and chilling, atmospheric chords.

“Junie”, which provided the outro to Klock’s mix, opts for a radically different approach. Like Carl Craig’s more introspective work – “Landcruising” springs to mind – Rolando favours a mid-tempo arrangement, with the somnambulant pace providing the ideal backdrop for orchestral strings and a sombre bassline. The sum of these parts proves yet again that Detroit artists still have the ability to surprise and inspire, 25 years after the city birthed techno.

Richard Brophy