Various – Berghain 05 Sampler review

One of the greatest things about Berlin club Berghain is that once you make your way past the autocratic glare of the door staff, you are free to act as you want. There are no rules and everyone is treated the same. This sense of egalitarianism may be fleeting, but the club’s residents have succeeded in applying a similar aesthetic to their mix CDs. Well-known producers appear beside unknowns, while artists lauded for a particular sound veer off into new, uncharted territories. This approach is audible on this sampler for Marcel Fengler’s forthcoming mix. Belgian producer Peter Van Hoesen is known primarily for his bass-heavy, heads down warehouse tracks, but on “Axis Mundi”, there’s a palpable change. Van Hoesen’s usual deft production touch ensures that the arrangement features razor-blade percussion and a lithe rhyhtmic sensibility, but “Mundi” is all about the woozy, trancey melodies filtering their way to its centre.

Likewise, Jonah Sharp and Move D’s “The Labyrinth” marks a departure of sorts, with  the duo’s tasteful, jazzy keys teased out over a rough, glitchy backing track. Vril’s “UV” is the most obvious sign that Fengler and Ostgut want to maintain the same egalitarian approach as Berghain: this artist, who has just  two EPs to his/her credit on Giegling, drops a slamming, dubby techno track that simultaneously challenges the bass power of Shed’s Wax project and the loose, echo chamber tones of Modern Love. Like Berghain, once they past the litmus test, every artist is an equal.

Richard Brophy