- By the time Zehn rolled out at the end of last year, Ostgut Ton's music had grown dark and stony. In 2016, the label seems to be letting some light in. First there was Virginia's poppy house album, Fierce For The Night, and now there's this unexpectedly delightful collaboration between a label regular and a newcomer to their ranks.
Nick Höppner—Ostgut Ton's former manager—makes a rosy sort of house and techno that has only grown more melodic over the years. Japanese producer Sunao Gonno, on the other hand, has increasingly played with ebullient, unfurling sounds, resulting in last year's head-turning Remember The Life Is Beautiful. Equally bubbly is Fantastic Planet, the result of these two spending three productive days together in the studio.
Höppner's last album, Folk, was synth-laden and cheery, just like Fantastic Planet, where the duo load up bouncy beats with all kinds of vibrant streaks and squiggly sounds. "Spocking Fivers" hops along on a slightly broken rhythm, and the duo fill the space in odd little ways—finger snaps here, organ lines there, a cute bleepy lead—until the drum track is teeming with colour and life. They repeat the method on the title track and "As Above, So Below," building dance floor techno akin to Gonno's tracks, with a dynamic rise towards the epic and blissful. But Höppner's tightly wound structures keep the tunes from scaling Gonno's usual heights of sentimentality—instead, they move horizontally between passages. It's a great working relationship that tempers extreme tendencies while highlighting each producer's strengths, keeping their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.
A1 Spocking Fivers
B1 Fantastic Planet
B2 As Above, So Below