- It's nigh on impossible to write a review of a Ben Klock record without talking about Berghain, of which he is a resident DJ. As with his fellow resident (and sometime collaborator) Marcel Dettmann, Klock's music is driving minimal techno that's specifically tailored to make full use of the space's cavernous acoustics, and this release doesn't really divert from that particular ethic.
In contrast to Dettmann, however, Klock is more generous in his use of melody to give the metallic rhythmic chassis a bit of colour. On 'Steady Plus', he combines a warm, chiming bassline (that's strangely reminiscent of Alex Smoke's mix of Junior Boys) with a cold yet funky bass melody to give the track an almost jaunty feel. As the track progresses, the warmth gets stripped away and the rhythmic elements are brought to the forefront, all the time being EQed and pitch shifted to tease the dancers into action. At a time where a lot of minimal techno seems to be geared towards tool-based material, it's refreshing to see someone put out a track which ends on a totally different mood compared to how it started.
On the flipside, 'Red Handed' is much more simplistic, which ends up being to its detriment. Again, it's immaculately produced, but the pattern of triplets that forms the main melody is so sterile that no amount of percussive tweaking can save it from falling into mediocrity.
There's no doubt that when he's on form, Klock is capable of producing engaging and cerebral material that is also aware of what works on the floor, but unfortunately this twelve falls short of the standard that he's set on all of his releases for Ostgut Ton so far.
A Steady Plus
B Red Handed