- Nick Höppner is probably best known for his work running one of techno's most prominent and lauded labels—the Berghain/Panorama Bar-associated Ostgut Ton—than his own productions at this point, an unfortunate fate for a producer so distinctive. Part of the reason is likely subtlety: Höppner's solo tracks are generally tasteful and unassuming, not a stray element or jumpy moment to be found. His latest EP is almost defiantly quiet, keeping its head down even at its most propulsive moments. "A Peck and a Pawn" takes up the entire A-side: a pumping but padded groove, with its suppressed big-room chords it approaches something like tightly controlled prog house, building and building to some forgotten ecstatic peak as shimmering chords and vocal gasps are held in line by an elastically swung kick/snare pattern.
The two tracks on the b-side lean lower into deep house territory, acting as Höppner's own angle on the polished retro pastiche of Steffi's recent album. His productions are altogether more forceful and weighty; "She Parked Herself" throws tinkling chimes on top of a rugged bassline that sometimes melts into squelchy sludge, working in the playful exuberance of early Aphex Twin as soothing strings envelop the rambunctious bassline. "Swivel Flick" rotates around a nauseously penetrating kick drum that Höppner dresses up with all manner of glowing, incandescent chords. These aren't the kind of tracks that are going to set a room on fire, but that's not what they're aiming for; these are three of Höppner's most accomplished slow-burners yet, tracks that slowly blossom into hypnotic patterns, underlining how the most exciting house music can be the gentlest.
A A Peck and a Pawn
B1 She Parked Herself
B2 swivel flick