- Even before you get to the music, Panorama Bar 06 is a landmark release for Ostgut Ton. The latest instalment in the Berlin club's mix CD series isn't a CD at all, and marks a transition away from the physical format towards a more contemporary idea: free downloads. Compiled with a no-cost licensing scheme, Elliott's mix comes in full-quality WAV format, with hi-res art, a letter from the DJ and even a detailed digital booklet with information about the tracks, all presented with Ostgut Ton's usual snazzy design. The result shouldn't make you miss that CD too much. But even more importantly, the new concept hasn't robbed the series of its high musical standards either—Panorama Bar 06 is up there with Nick Höppner's and Cassy's as one of the series' best.
Elliott is an American DJ and producer who's been a resident at the Berlin club since 2007. He has the distinction of being a regular in both Panorama Bar, the house-oriented room, and Berghain, the techno dungeon downstairs. On Panorama Bar 06, Elliott zeros in on deep house, throwing together soulful vocal samples, catchy keyboard riffs and soothing subterranean basslines. There are a few deviations, but only gentle ones—Hard House Banton's "Reign" puts a UK funky swing into the otherwise straightforward groove, while Tennesee's Proper Trax crew, represented here by Alex Falk and Will Azada, tighten it all up with some techno muscle (as do Octave One, Wincent Kunth and Heiko Laux).
The other thing Elliott is known for is his meticulous approach to DJing. He's known to make his own edits of the tracks he plays out, and while there isn't much evidence of that here, his touch comes through in the mix's smooth confidence. There are plenty of inspired pairings. Groove Chronicles' "Your Power's Taking Over" blends perfectly into Shed's retro-flavoured "Power Seat." A Sagittariun's '90s homage "Conquering Lions" stops the mix in its tracks, diving into the UK producer's lava flow of rave chords. The closing section is a beautiful thing to behold, as the free-fall breakdown of Genius Of Time's "Tuffa Trummor Med Roasting" gets sucked into Nick Höppner's earthy disco. It all finishes with the ambient bloom of Marcel Dettmann's "Light."
To give dedicated fans a meatier souvenir than the usual handful of unreleased cuts, Elliott rounded up a whopping ten new tracks and released them over two vinyl EPs. The new tunes don't stick out—they match the mix's uniform quality, from the topsy-turvy techno of Deadbeat's "Whoa" to the understated funk of The Oliverwho Factory's "Take It Slow" to the ebbing synths of Newworldaquarium's "Thousand Oaks." That Elliott was able to get such even material without paying a dime also speaks to the strength of Ostgut's new licensing idea.
DJ sets tend to go on for at least three hours at Panorama Bar, and the new format opens up a lot of possibilities there, too, but Elliott avoids the temptation to make a marathon of it. At 91 minutes, the mix goes over a CD's capacity but not overboard. Panorama Bar 06 might capture the mood of the vaunted club better than any of them since Cassy's inaugural mix back in 2006. Ostgut's mix CD series as we knew it might be gone, but its best qualities live on.
01. Portable - Shadowdancing (Dancecapella)
02. Newworldaquarium – Thousand Oaks
03. Tuff City Kids – Breacher
04. Daniel Jacques – End Of My World
05. JT Donaldson – Mindsmoke
06. Norm Talley – More Powder
07. It's Not Over – Late At Night (VIP Mix)
08. Different Noodles – Banana Resort
09. Alex Falk – BF
10. Makam – Girls Night
11. Octave One – Track 3
12. James Duncan – Shades Of House (A2)
13. Wincent Kunth – Re Entry
14. A Sagittariun – Conquering Lions
15. Deadbeat – Whoa!
16. Hard House Banton – Reign
17. K-HAND – Clap Yo Hands
18. Groove Chronicles – Your Power’s Taking Over
19. Head High – Power Seat
20. Taka Boom featuring Chaka Khan – Groove Like That
21. Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie – House Music
22. Mr G – Womb
23. eLBee BaD – Don’t Wanna Lose Ya Love
24. Bluelite – Enlite
25. Will Azada – Pump That Shit
26. Tronic Pulse – Hit That
27. Heiko Laux – The Bridge
28. Roman Flügel – The Odd Lobster
29. G. Marcell – Breathe (Exhale Mix)
30. Borrowed Identity – Leave Me
31. The Oliverwho Factory – Take It Slow
32. Genius Of Time – Tuffa Trummor Med Röst
33. Nick Höppner – Track For Eb
34. Terrence Dixon – Innocence
35. Marcel Dettmann – Light