Marcel Dettmann: Dettmann
It’s probably the wrong time of year to be writing a post about dark and minimal Berlin techno. Yet there’s a part of me that will always equate this music with sunshine: a warm evening of hidden delights at Tresor and a single arm burnt from punching the air to Shimmy DJs at Ashton Court are at least two reasons for this.
Marcel Dettmann is a resident at Berghain in Berlin. By all accounts this club plays to the ‘purist’ techno crowd. This description conjures up images of awful po-faced sincerity. Yet at the same time it induces in me a nostalgic glow for a time I fretted about having the cash to buy another in the Red Planet series. Thus if Dettmann’s eponymous album is anything to go by I must and will get there someday (ash clouds permitting).
The thought of listening to 12 tracks of machine built grooves might not have many readers rushing to the shops, but you’d be missing out. I guess many would prefer a seamless mix in the hope that the sense of pace and progression you get from hearing a DJ do his stuff live would somehow translate to the living room. However, it seems that Dettmann has built this album with that in mind: things start more abstract and more off-kilter with ‘Quasi (Intro)’ and ‘Argon’, before the four-to-the-floor kick-drum emerges on ‘Screen’ accompanied by what sounds like one fucked off insect eddying in the background. ‘Motive’ shifts the mood deeper with its menacing and muted cacophony of beats. ‘Drawing’ then adds an ambient air before the dark funk of ‘Irritant’ really gets your bits skipping to its clattering high-hat. From then on in, through to the vertiginous noises and close-up crackles of ‘Viscous’, you’re locked in.
Well, you will be if, like me, you realise just how much you’ve missed stuff like this. Rediscover it here.