Deep, Dark, Deutschland
Germany classed as being the centre of the world for techno and tech-house is nothing short of a truism that seems to be re-iterated time and time again. Berlin is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination that has experienced particular interest from the younger generations; people travel from across the world to witness and experience the city’s artistic prestige and fairly liberal way of life; though this is not to forget Berlin’s sister city Hamburg, also a key player in electronic dance music and a place that is often overshadowed under the eminence of her German counter-part.
In recent years Solomun and Stimming have taken the helm of the deeper regions of house and have been critical in the development of European electronic dance music (Solomun’s Don’t Cry EP and Dance Baby LP were absolutely massive, and fine examples of Stimming’s immaculate production can be found in his Reflections LP and Window Shopping EP). Both artists, featured on Solomon’s own imprint Diynamic, offer a highly musical and innovative take on house music; their works exhibit an intricately forged sound-world and a calibre of production rarely seen in the industry today. Despite Diynamic’s relatively short life (founded in 2006), Mladen Solomun has quickly become a force to be reckoned with and is showing no signs of slowing (following the recent opening of his own club Ego in Hamburg, the successes of residencies in Ibiza and radio shows, and the winner of the 2012 Ibiza Best Producer award). The collaborations between Solomun and Stimming have borne existence to some amazingly creative and emotive tracks.
The Feuervogel & Eis EP (2007) makes use of traditional strings to create hauntingly evocative motifs; Feuervogel opens with pizzicato strings, a hook that outlines the powerful chord progression that drives this track forward with a brooding energy. The rhythmic trot of percussion adds imminent tension to the piece, and effective use of reverb on the melodic lines create an element of space and atmosphere, as well as aiding in the release and tension of building climaxes throughout. A nice remix that is included in the EP by Guido Schneider can be heard here. An equally good remix has been done by GusGus. A slightly more creative handling of this remix offers a spacier, slightly disorientating atmosphere, verging delirious with the arpeggio motif transformed into a march-like fanfare of satire and pain. Listen to it here. The flipside, Eiszauber, in similar vain, lures us into a shadowed mystique, largely delivered by the mysteriously distant hollow tones of a marimba and the approaching string chords. This is however short-lived as the track shimmers gradually into something much more uplifting. Around five minutes in, a breakdown-like passage pulls us higher into positive energy and optimistic grooves.
These collaborations are, I hope, just the beginning of a wonderful relationship between these two artists and I expect there will be a long string of future releases to come as both musicians continue to mature and develop.
I will hopefully be doing a full-length write-up specifically on the scene in Berlin (and quite possibly Hamburg), and also on Solomun and Stimming, individually highlighting certain aspects of their music and their careers.