- Paul Kalkbrenner is a rock star. I found this out recently at BPitch's 10 Year Celebration at Berghain. That night, the DJ/producer was too sick to perform, and news of his condition was met with the sort of worried look by the imprint's PR flack that could only mean that damage control was imminent. Signs were hastily constructed, Twitter updates were carefully composed and brows were furrowed. It was as though Uncle Sven had missed a plane to Amnesia on Monday night. And, judging by the line out the door that night when I returned to the club at 6 AM, the concern was well warranted. Kalkbrenner, you see, is a rock star.
Or, more accurately, he's a movie star. Kalkbrenner recently starred in Berlin Calling, a film about a traveling DJ. I suspect that's the reason that he's vaulted from pretty-well-liked to signing-autographs-at-supermarkets-in-Germany status in the past year or so. Kalkbrenner has always put forth a brand of techno that's easy on the ears, but his soundtrack to the film takes it to another level. This 12-inch collects three of the most dance floor friendly tunes.
"Square 1" locks a glistening melody into place, and doesn't let go for nearly seven minutes, floating it gently throughout its length. Finger snap percussion and a nice round kick keep things generally clean and generally innocuous until another melody comes from on high to interlock with its predecessor. It's nothing special. And "Aaron" and "Azure" aren't much either, on the face of it. But when you step back and think about it, they actually are incredibly tough tunes to compose. The relative ease at which they operate is exactly their appeal. Kalkbrenner has successfully perfected a sort of laidback techno, full of melody and light that has a mainstream appeal that is hard to deny, and—movie star or not—they're worth lining up for.
A1 Square 1