- In celebration of its tenth anniversary, Watergate have commissioned 27 exclusive tracks for a two CD set that showcases the many shades of house and techno that you can expect to hear at the Berlin club every weekend. Label compilations associated with clubs like this can't help but act as referendums on the clubs themselves. It's almost impossible to separate the music from the venue. But in Watergate's case, it's hard to see why you would want to. The venue's enviable reputation has been built on a consistent booking policy that has seen some of electronic music's biggest names pass through its doors.
Not every clubber though. Watergate, like many Berlin clubs, employs a door policy that ensures the crowd stays "underground." (Uli Wombacher, one of the club's owners, pointed out last year in our Real Scenes: Berlin film that if you have too many people that "haven't experienced this culture, it kills the vibe.") Whatever your feelings on the matter, you only need to look at Berlin clubs without door policies to see what happens when demand outstrips supply. That said, it's undeniable among those living in (and visiting) the German capital that at some point in the past few years, Watergate has lost some of the luster that made it one of the world's best clubs. The bookings remain strong, the line that extends down Falckensteinstrasse is long and the view of the Spree is still magnificent. For whatever reason, though, it's lost the indefinable "it" factor that leaves you with the desire to stop by—no matter the lineup. Is it still great? No doubt. Is it as great as it once was? Not really.
The music on Watergate X won't do much to change that sentiment, even though it's often very good. The lineup is varied enough that you'll likely find a new favourite or two depending on your personal taste. Broadly speaking, the majority of the tracks here are tech house. Sebo K & Metro, Lee Jones and Marco Resmann all turn in well-produced and functional efforts. Butch, Jesse Rose and Benoit & Sergio, meanwhile, predictably take the house template and tweak it so that it's aimed directly at the big room.
A few things stand out from the pack. dOP's "Take Care of Me" is a wonderfully wonky opener that sashays its entire length without a 4/4 kick. Henrik Schwarz also gets moody with "Take Words in Return," in which the Auto-Tuned vocal gets stretched out like taffy over a shuffling beat. Chicago house vet DJ Sneak sounds like he has something to prove with "Battle's Over": It's by far the most urgent track here, deliriously banging away for more than eight minutes. Catz 'N Dogz & SLG's "Loud Sandra" is joyous piano house, and is easily one of the brightest things to be found on the compilation.
Going over every track, though, is beside the point. Aside from the ill-advised vocal cut from Tiefschwarz—which is begging for a dub version—the quality of almost everything is pretty high. Like the club at the moment, though, Watergate X doesn't have that "it" factor that transports it to another level.
01. dOP - Take Care Of Me
02. Henrik Schwarz - Take Words In Return
03. Soul Clap & Baby Prince - The Neverending Quest For Inspiration
04. Jesse Rose - String Ting
05. DJ Sneak - Battle's Over
06. Matthias Meyer - Fallin'
07. Ruede Hagelstein - Silence
08. Sebo K & Metro pres. Freefall Inc. - Night Drive
09. Subb-an & Hector - What You Got
10. SIS - Talking To The Birds
11. Tiefschwarz feat. Mama - Black Magic Woman
12. Butch - LED Ceiling
13. Oliver Koletzki - Oh Shine
01. M.A.N.D.Y. vs Lopazz - Full Off 12
02. Fritz Zander & Martin Dawson - Sleepwalking
03. Maceo Plex - Why
04. Benoit & Sergio - What Is Dance Music
05. Catz 'n Dogz & SLG - Loud Sandra
06. Lee Jones - Lost Decade
07. Marco Resmann - At Ricky's
08. Ryan Crosson - Lost
09. Koljah & Robin Drimalski - Ten Years After
10. Mike Shannon - Waterfloor Shuffle
11. Sebastian Wilck & Stassy - Moustache Groove
12. Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - The Drums
13. Mathias Kaden - Sion
14. Kiki, Djulz & Aerea Negrot - The Movement