Dettmann | Klock ‎- Phantom Studies

  • Share
  • Techno was in a different place when Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock released their last collaboration ten years ago. BPMs were down, Berghain wasn't in Lonely Planet and most of the pair's gigs were at home in Germany. Having shaken the shackles of a sterile loop-focused period, techno had returned to a place where groove and melody could coexist. Dettmann and Klock, then little-known residents at what would become electronic music's most famous club, were central to this change, paving the way for a new school of Berlin techno. Dettmann and Klock's earliest collaborations reflected their DJ sets at the time. Tracks like "Dawning" and "Scenario" were dubby and rhythmic with a housey groove, using snippets of melody to great effect. Character didn't come from booming kick drums or sub-bass, but with crafty percussion and the restrained, inventive use of melody. The complexity of these early tracks makes parts of Phantom Studies, a double-EP comprising their first original productions in ten years, seem one-dimensional. "No One Around" is a heavy-duty tune that's as straightforward as techno comes—it doesn't build up or down, it just rolls. The title track toys with a short key riff, a Klock trademark, only it seems louder in the mix than the riffs in, say, "Dawning," making it the focal point rather than one of a few interacting elements. It feels too obvious. Disc two is more complex. Dettmann and Klock move from tool techno into something more adventurous, using melody creatively. "Prophet Man," featuring goofy spoken word vocals from Klock ("I can plug your cables"), borders on house with its shuffling percussion and 128 BPM crawl. "Bad Boy" is a peak-time bomb built around a ravey synth line and Phantom Studies' craftiest drum pattern, a muffled stomp with crashing hats and sneaky changes. Things are prettier on "The World Tonight," where another key riff floats above a heaving low-end chug. It's clear Dettmann and Klock's music thrives when it's stacked with subtle details and variations, something Phantom Studies could use more of.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Phantom Studies B1 No One Around B2 The Room C1 Prophet Man C2 Bad Boy D1 The World Tonight D2 The Tenant