Various Artists: Fünf

Various Artists
Ostgut Ton

Composed by various label players, Ostgut Ton’s Fünf is a label anniversary album built exclusively from a four-gigabyte sample library of field recordings made inside the legendary Berlin clubs Berghain and Panorama Bar. It’s been criticized elsewhere as a cold album, too austere to break apart and consume in pieces, and that’s a fair point: Fünf is both of those things, and taken individually its tracks are quite obviously not your standard 909/606-made percussive romps. Fünf, though, isn’t intended to be anything other than its club-cobbled self. The album sounds like Berlin; it sounds like an empty club, too. Thanks to the careful mixing work of its contributors, it can sound very much like the techno for which Ostgut Ton is known.

Shed’s “Boom Room” stomps with all the Detroit references of his regular work. Ben Klock goes with much the same style, taking “Bear” through a mechanized batch of sequences, the techno analog to Mistabishi’s “Paper Jam”. Emika, the cavernous sample library’s sound designer, offers up “Cooling Room”, a strange and Lynchian exploration of rooms, jangling chains and locks, an aural tunneling through the clubs. Conceptually, it’s an interesting collection, as promotional as it is. One can only hope all this effort will prove memorable past Ostgut Ton’s next anniversary.

RATING 5 / 10