In July, 2008, Paul “Scuba” Rose and Spymania Records’ Paul Fowler organized their own night at Berlin’s Berghain, a massive, acclaimed club situated downstairs from Panoramabar. Rose’s live set that evening accompanied efforts from prominent dubstep and UK bass music purveyors Mala, Shackleton, Distance, and others. The since-revered Sub:Stance was born, and if the 68-minute mix is any indication of the powerful-and-eclectic experience the night offers, Berghain regulars are among the most fortunate in the land.
The Sub:Stance mix on Ostgut Ton, the label run by Berghain’s owners, is a mindblower — as anyone who’s ever downloaded a mix from Scuba before might have guessed. For a guy who’s never collaborated with another musician (outside of issuing other people’s records on his Hotflush label), Paul Rose is a consistently skilled sound aggregator as a DJ, blending divergent productions with a scientific sense of cohesion. He appropriately sets things off with a lush, ambient introduction from Hotflush’s Sigha, whose crackling dubstep/techno hybrids appear on Sub:Stance four times. Unreleased efforts from Rose are also here; the impossibly urgent, echo-heavy “Last Stand” is stylistically quite distant from the slick grooves and backward-spiraling trim of Joker’s “Psychedelic Runway”, but through headphones, it’s as if better closure doesn’t exist. Even if you’ve tired of Joy Orbison’s 2009 monster hit “Hyph Mongo”, its role as a vibrant burst of house following the murky glitch from DFRNT, AQF, and Badawi is set in stone — this blend of dark atmospherics and well-lit warmth comprises the set’s finest moments, and outdoing all of Sub:Stance‘s nuanced pairings is no small feat.