Thursday, 28 January 2010
Here is my latest RA review on Ben Klock's 'Tracks from 07' EP [Deeply Rooted House]
How do you distinguish between house and techno for an electronic music ingénue? Aside from indulging in hackneyed "house is a feeling" cant or drawing mindless parallels between Detroit's industrial heritage and its mechanistic "techno" music, the usual recourse is to play said ingénue some examples. "This," you say as you lower the needle, "is Frankie Knuckles." As the strings and wails and grunts of "Your Love" gently fade out, you cue up the next record, Ben Klock's "Tracks From 07, safe in the knowledge that Berghain's finest always delivers the techno goods. But wait, what's this? "It's house!" you gasp. But is it?
Leaving behind the terser environs of Ostgut Ton, or even his own Klockworks label, Klock opts to open 2010 with a genre-defying return to DJ Deep's Deeply Rooted House operation following on from his more overtly techno-centric Kerri Chandler remix. While you could hardly accuse Klock of bandwagon jumping, there is a definite change of direction on offer here. "Red Alert" opts for techno nomenclature, but the Star Wars organ stabs and cowbell jingle combine to create a dark, totalitarian house anthem, hand-stamped with the cavernous atmospherics Berghain's residents have made their own. "Viscoplastic" meanwhile shows Klock in similarly genre-defying Levon Vincent territory. A shimmering synth variation locks onto a growling hi-hat à la "Games Dub," dry-humping it for all it's got.
House was everywhere in 2009, rewriting the DNA of dubstep, funky, and anything else that crossed its path. In 2010, it also seems to have captured the hearts and minds of techno's most steadfast and recognisable guardians. Ben Klock: techno iconoclast. Who knew such blasphemy could sound this good?