Marcel Dettmann - Test-File

  • A versatile double EP from the Berghain resident.
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  • I never really bought into the idea of Marcel Dettmann as an austere or purist producer. Yes, his two albums for Osgut Ton were mostly based on a bleak, tunnelling vision of techno. But elsewhere his catalogue is littered with colour and variety. To draw from just a few examples, "Duel" banged hard but it was full of funk. "Landscape" was emotive and dubby. Some of his remixes, like the one he did for Cassy's "Move," could be played in a house set. Dettmann's last release for Ostgut Ton, Phantom Studies in collaboration with Ben Klock, didn't always work, but it featured seven distinct shades of techno. Now we get Test-File, more evidence for Dettmann's versatility. "Autumn77," possibly the most house-orientated thing he's released, could be Dettmann's Panorama Bar track. It's a heavy-set 120-BPM groover that becomes more serious when a wistful string line arrives. Like the other five tracks, Dettmann focusses on the power of the loop, preferring subtle tweaks to big changes. "Test-File" and "Torch" both feature tumbling rhythms and spidery sound design, the kind of tracks that would nicely (if briefly) break up a long period of four-on-the-floor. "Ascending" and "Metalloid" also share qualities, namely tough drums, an overloaded mid-range and smart uses of noise. Dettmann is particularly great at this type of track—also see his killer 2013 remix of Vedomir's "Musical Suprematism." That just leaves "Error (1st Take)," a minimal-leaning cut that, were it not for its sharp percussion, could have come from Ricardo Villalobos's studio. Nothing on Test-File will make a "best of 2018" list, but the EP's efficacy for techno DJs could be enormous.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Test-File A2 Ascending B1 Autumn77 C1 Torch C2 Error (1st Take) D1 Metalloid