- The idea of a "selector"—someone who digs for rare records and then mixes them impeccably—doesn't apply as obviously to techno, where the emphasis is often on the newest or the most functional tracks, as it does to disco, house or soul. But for the third instalment of a series that focuses on crate-digging DJs, Dekmantel turns to one of the biggest techno artists in the world, Marcel Dettmann. Then again, the Berghain resident has always been about more than just techno. He likes to dip into other genres and pick out older favourites, and he is enthusiastic about early synth pop, EBM and industrial music. Dettmann looks back to his childhood for Selectors 003, a "pre-techno" spread of these genres that forms a clear outline of the dark but party-ready style he's established as a techno DJ.
Dettmann's Selectors compilation is in a different style from the past two (Young Marco and Motor City Drum Ensemble) and it's also less headsy. Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire and Ministry—among the most famous names in EBM and industrial—all appear. But Dettmann still favours lesser-known tracks from these artists, like Front 242's "Don't Crash," taken from a 1985 EP, which opens Selectors 003 with a fantastic blend of panic and flamboyance. Ministry's "Same Old Madness," draws not from the group's fearsome late '80s discography but from its early '80s synth pop phase.
These tracks underline what is often forgotten about EBM and industrial. Despite their reputation for steeliness, these genres could be playful. The French coldwave band Martin Dupont's "The Light Goes Through My Mouth" is unsettling, but also bright and catchy; the raw and jarring Executive Slacks' "So Mote It Be" has a hint of mischief. Twice A Man's "Happy Life" has a muscular strut undercut by a whiny, Cure-like chorus, and Kaa Antilope's "Rise Up Helicopter, Like A Bird" is essentially a torch song dedicated to a helicopter, complete with a rhythmic device that sounds like rotor blades thwacking through the air. Every selection has a duality to it, a mix of toughness and lightness that has made Dettmann's best mix CDs and performances so memorable.
Dettmann includes two edits that should appeal to techno DJs. Cabaret Voltaire's 1992 track "Low Cool," something of a slo-mo techno experiment in itself, gets a kick in the ass—the faster tempo highlights Cabaret Voltaire's powerful percussion. And on his version of A Thunder Orchestra's "Diabolical Gesture," Dettmann speeds up the turgid post-punk of the original so that its nervous gait resembles tribal techno. His simple edit turns "Diabolical Gesture" into potent DJ material.
The best track on Selectors 003—from Clan Of Xymox, a goth-tinged band once signed to 4AD—is its least obscure. "A Day," from the band's 1985 debut album, combines a searing guitar lead, punchy synths and gaudy strings in a song that's as angry as it is pretty. Its maximalism is a far cry from Dettmann's granular techno, but there's a spark to it that would set a dance floor alight.
Like Young Marco's entry, Selectors 003 isn't necessarily about showing off a rare record collection—it's about Dettmann sharing the weird, personal records that help make his sets special. By showing us his boyhood record shelves, Dettmann gives us a fresh insight into his style, which makes Selectors 003 a must for techno and EBM fans alike.
01. Front 242 - Don't Crash
02. The Force Dimension - Algorythm (Manipulating Mix)
03. Executive Slacks - So Mote It Be
04. Martin Dupont - The Light Goes Through My Mouth
05. A Thunder Orchestra - Diabolical Gesture (Marcel Dettmann Edit)
06. Twice A Man - Happy Life
07. Cabaret Voltaire - Low Cool (Marcel Dettmann Edit)
08. Kaa Antilope - Rise Up Helicopter, Like A Bird
09. Clan Of Xymox - A Day
10. Ministry - Same Old Madness
11. Fad Gadget - Back To Nature