- Though far less hyped than some of his labelmates, Marcel Fengler is a longtime staple of the Ostgut Ton family. He DJ'd with Dettmann and Norman Nodge before Berghain even existed, and his latest EP, Twisted Bleach, is his third release on the acclaimed Berlin-based label. Those who haven't heard Fengler won't be disappointed, but they won't be very surprised either: He's a talented producer, but in terms of style, he doesn't stray too far from the label's status quo.
The title track shows Fengler at his best. Piano stabs dissolve into white noise and back again, creating a rambunctious, lighthearted feel to complement a steady 4/4 thud. It's a blistering crossover between house and techno, and one that could move basement parties as easily as mega-clubs. Expect to see this one on DJ charts for months to come.
On the rest of the EP, Fengler's persona is less distinct. "Gridlock" is the kind of track that feels like its barreling downwards through some kind of hellish rabbithole—basic Berghain fare, but cool nonetheless. Shed's influence seems to shine through on "Chi-Twine," a moody, breakbeat-ish track ala "Estrange" or "ITHAW" from last year's Shedding the Past. Again, a good track, but nothing new.
Twisted Bleach is a diverse, well-produced EP, but one that discretely suffers from a lack of originality. Most other Ostgut Ton artists have a style that is very much their own, but here Fengler sounds roughly like a mix of Dettmann, Shed and Norman Nodge. It's tempting to think he's got more up his sleeve; his better moments hint at a truly remarkable talent (in addition to this EP's A-side, last year's "Friction" comes to mind), and his DJ sets at Berghain and elsewhere are lauded as some of techno's finest. But in order to achieve the A-list status of his labelmates, Fengler will have to bring something fresher to the table.
A1 Twisted Bleach
B Chi Twine