Clubs, like artists, often become worldwide, household names posthumously – in the wake of their untimely closure. Berlin’s techno institution Berghain has always been an exception to this rule, as one of the few venues in the world to attain a mythic status in the global consciousness and maintain it for an incredible 16 years. But when Berghain closed in March 2020, it seemed as though the club that was already too good to be true might be forever lost, or at least forever changed. Fortunately, Berghain has been restored to its former (indoor) glory since October 3, 2021. Any pre-pandemic regular who has ascended the legendary staircase or performed on the podium in recent weeks can affirm that the club has done the impossible once again. Many say that nothing has changed – and those who disagree say “it’s better.”
Berghain’s prestigious in house label, OSTGUT TON, has recently released an homage to nightlife’s revival in the form of a compilation called Ostgut Ton | Fünfzehn + 1. Originally scheduled for the label’s 15th anniversary last year, the compilation is a series of tracks created by Ostgut Ton artists and close affiliates, who were wrestling with memories of music and space that was suddenly inaccessible. The result is a series of sometimes literal and sometimes abstract musical homages to the dancefloors that Ostgut’s artists have influenced, and been influenced by.
The tracks have been organized into five separate 12” vinyls, each dedicated to a different floor of the club – and each a sonic tribute to a different breed of Berghain vignette, representing the broad spectrum of moods, movements and encounters accrued in its hallowed halls. Though Ostgut Ton | Fünfzehn + 1 is a rumination on the relationship between the label and its parent club, the tracks – like Etapp Kyle and Ben Klock’s homage to serendipitous meetings in “Friend of a Friend” and the erotic euphoria of Len Faki and Honey Dijon’s “Temple of Love” – speak to a more universal nightlife experience. The compilation’s delayed release date allows us to enjoy its contents not as cathartic expressions of current uncertainties, but with joyous sense of relief. In light of the digital release last week – and ahead of vinyl drop next month, 032c asked some of Ostgut’s dynamic duos about their headspace during the “+1″ period of creation.
Roi Perez x Avalon Emerson
Roi Perez and Avalon Emerson: We both are big fans of Panorama Bar and play there regularly. When the space didn’t physically exist for us, it was even more satisfying to encourage our minds to imagine a sound that represented Pano the way we see it: something joyful, yet cheeky. We started the song in December 2019 but didn’t master it until a year and a half later, after countless versions, tweaks, and reconsiderations. We only were in the same room at the very beginning. After that, it was all over Zoom. Streaming studio time across continents and time zones was wacky and fun. We also couldn’t road-test it until recently, so we were working from a very conceptual and memory-based frame of reference. In the end, our points of influence and DJ spirits came together in a way that felt as fluid as a B2B set in Panorama Bar. We hope people can hear and feel that too.
Jessica Ekomane x Zoë Mc Pherson
Jessica Ekomane and Zoë Mc Pherson: The idea of our duo was to become a single instrument, and the result is a track influenced by both of our backgrounds within this set up. The rhythms programmed in Jessica’s Supercollider software trigger Zoë’s modular synthesizer, voicing a gabber influenced sound with a twist – all on a Cameroonian scale.
Lakuti x Tama Sumo
Lakuti and Tama Sumo: Our track was influenced by Panorama Bar in particular, and the nights that the club has generously and kindly allowed us to program since 2015. We were thinking about that feeling when the energy is locked tight into one room on Friday nights, when Berghain isn’t open. On those evenings, we have a free flowing music policy, where a jazz record can sit very comfortably with a techno, disco, or African track and so on. It’s also an homage to the self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet,”Audre Lorde, whose writing – alongside the works of Toni Morrison, Angela Davis and James Baldwin – brought us much needed sanity in a world that felt like it was crumbling around us.
JASSS x Silent Servant
JASSS and Silent Servant: Our initial response was to make something that could convey emotion. The Berghain dancefloor has always allowed people to have an experience that is very specific to each individual. Sadness, happiness, fear, anger, and surprise can happen simultaneously – and music soundtracks those changing sentiments. The track comes from a kind of repose and anticipation, or a kind of linear tension, as if gravity or some sort of force was about to suck you in. It’s not uncommon to fantasize about Berghain’s speakers blasting your track, or a track you really like, so in this regard we did think about the room in a semi-nostalgic manner when recording.
Martyn x Duval Timothy
Martyn and Duval Timothy: We have been in a collaborative dialogue for a few years, which has been built up by sharing music we care deeply about, such as records by Mal Waldron. We’re both interested in creating a sound that fuses solo piano with bass and sub-bass in a pared back arrangement. “Reset Walking” is an effort to create that. It’s a new sonic space that nods back to artists like Waldron and Dilla, and to our own respective backgrounds. When we talked about a title, we both agreed that the walks we went on during lockdown felt like the moment in which we shared the same feeling of physical endurance and meditation that’s explored in the track.
Listen to Ostgut Ton | Fünfzehn + 1 HERE