The History of Berlin Techno – Part 2 – Compilations


30 Years of Tresor

The jubilee compilation for the thirty-year anniversary of the Berlin club Tresor profoundly follows the historical development of the musical genre Techno. The history of Tresor begins shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall with an alliance of pioneers from Detroit and Berlin – with Techno music as it came to the city in the early 90s and was further developed here by collectives and others. The family tree of Techno began to branch into smaller subgenres. In displaying this versatile development in detail, the compilation represents a multifaceted key work regarding the Techno genre. In addition, „Tresor 30“ contains the essence of the more than 342 releases of the Tresor label (as of 20.01.2022) which has been shaped over the time of three generations. „Tresor 30“ consists of tracks by 55 producers with various approaches and perspectives on the philosophy of Tresor – through tracks emerging from the lows and highs of an intense club night, from the epicenter of the club, from its. The compilation tells of the bustling spirit of its founders such as Dimitri Hegemann and his allies. Electronic music, as it is presented every year at the Atonal Festival, has also been an inspiration for many Tresor releases featured here. With subtle alignment and careful selection, Drum and Bass, Ambient or Electronica find their harmony with each other alongside the milestones of Techno. It is a sophisticated mix which can be experienced like a full-length DJ set, with timeless tracks for the very private session of science fiction or for the Techno dance floors of the planet. 30 years of Tresor is 30 years of Techno culture from Berlin. Visions based on ruins, created with boisterous willpower, celebrated in tears of joy. 30 years have passed, and the signs of the times point to a new beginning. The wait for the reopening of Tresor club will soon be over. Tresor 30 – a vacuum – from the past, present and future.

Jubiläumscompilation des Techno Clubs Tresor

Excerpt from the liner notes:

Since 1991, Tresor has provided a home for artists to develop their ideas for advanced new sounds and broadcast them to the world. The pioneers that first traversed the Detroit-Berlin connection and were at the forefront of a new cultural movement gave to Tresor its original and continuing mission: community, resistance and reshaping the world to come. The “Tresor 30” compilation represents a major landmark in this continuing history of electronic music. This unique collection of music profiles some of the artists that gave the previous three decades of Tresor its sound and foundation, but it also casts its gaze forward. Writing new postcards from the future, this collection brings new artists who maintain a connection to that original mission to the fore, charting ways in which this ethos can continue to build bridges and break walls in the next 30 years. Bringing together 52 essential tracks – both classics and exclusive commissions – each of the 12 records in this box-set charts a unique line of flight from those artists that helped define the shape of this new music to those who continue to pattern its landscape further.

The future is bright and it’s now.”

This Dasfax ambient mix is a symbiosis of tracks from the compilations Tresor 30, Berghain 15+1, Paloma vs Virus and No Photos On The Dancefloor. Additional track low ride from the Dasfax EP – FIA (at minute 32)

Berghain “Fifteen Plus One”

The influence and momentousness which Berghain has created through its concept of club, concert promoter or space for art are of a completely different nature, despite the musical proximity to Tresor. At the beginning of the new millennium, after Techno had reached its first commercial zenith in the 90s, the area around the train station Ostbahnhof and the river banks of the Spree near the East Side Gallery in Berlin-Friedrichshain developed in a new fashion. Two friends, deeply rooted in Berlin’s LGBTQ+ community, opened the Techno club Ostgut at the former loading terminal of Ostbahnhof in an old storehouse on New Year’s Eve 1998. Its predecessor had been the party series SNAX, a fetish party explicitly for men only. What began in small and quiet ways as the new nucleus of the gay Techno underground has turned into a symbol of freedom and dissolution of boundaries in the spirit of an open-minded community worldwide ever since the second club level of Ostgut was founded, the Panoramabar. From this constellation, the club Berghain emerged in 2004, together with the label Ostgut Ton. Ostgut Ton is defined by a label policy which presents a wide variety of Techno styles, from influences of EBM (Electronic Body Music) to House or Disco and other varieties of electronic music. The catalogue publications also indirectly point to their origins, the roots of gay dance culture and the musical styles of their spaces of freedom, as they are strongly associated with Techno and House music – yet always with a contemporary, future-oriented aspiration. Berghain’s new compilation “Fünfzehn + 1” („Fifteen + 1“) comes up with profound electronica and a series of tracks which embody a direct access to the dance floor. This time, the concept of „Fifteen + 1“ is based on the principle that the DJs and producers of Berghain have designed their tracks in collaboration with newcomers. Which captures the authenticity of the individual floors such as Berghain, the Säule (Column), the Panoramabar and the Hall at Berghain. Timeless club tracks that contributed to the history of Berlin Techno, stirring up memories and expectations and further fueling the myth of Berghain for the future. And that is exactly what makes „Fifteen + 1“ a groundbreaking compilation. The selection shows a wide range of versatility, and the individual tracks emanate pure delight in experimentation as they are formed from elements of Jazz, Disco, Krautrock or Electronica. They pay tribute to the history of electronic music culture and show their respects to the future.

Compilation des Techno Clubs Berghain

Excerpt from the liner notes:

„The compilation Ostgut Ton | Fünfzehn + 1honors and celebrates 16 years of Ostgut Ton […]. The tracks, initially planned for release in 2020, reflect the intertwining of in-house label and club as well as their various musical facets. The pieces are dedicated to the five levels of Berghain and arranged accordingly on five Twelve Inches in the vinyl box. In doing so, they pay musical homage to those spaces that both influenced and were influenced by the protagonists of the events. Although the club had to close due to the pandemic, the joint project of this release shows the possibilities of overcoming isolation and preserving the memory of spaces and music which have not been accessible for too long.“

This Dasfax House mix is a symbiosis of tracks from the compilations Tresor 30, Berghain 15+1, Paloma vs Virus and No Photos On The Dancefloor. Additional track Fall from KAJE in the Dasfax Mix (at minute 80) VÖ April 2022

Paloma Vs. Virus

The Paloma-Bar at Kotti (Kottbusser Tor) in Berlin Kreuzberg is a perfect example for the development of electronic music culture which takes place outside of the two main clubs Tresor and Berghain. At the beginning of the new millennium, Berlin’s club culture has developed again with a variety of different club concepts, including the Watergate, the Kater Blau (founded as Bar 25), the Wilde Renate or the ://about blank.

The Paloma-Bar, the Monarch, the Festsaal Kreuzberg and the Fahimi-Bar are operated by the same management and are in the best Berlin tradition of establishing themselves in places which at first glance seem unsuitable for Techno or House music. And it is exactly at these spaces where they could establish their significant part in Berlin’s club culture as well as their musical style.

„Paloma Vs. Virus 005“ is an eclectic compilation of tracks which can be attributed to the genres of House, Tech House, Electronica, Ambient, Downbeat, Club Soul or Drum and Bass. The 28 tracks form the arc of suspense of a DJ set and highlight the notion of what electronic music from Berlin should mean in 2022. Enthralling tracks for the ultimate kick of togetherness on the pulsating dance floor as well as delicate electronic tones represent the full scope of the sound of Berlin from the heart of Kreuzberg. The controversial history of Kreuzberg with its rebellious and multicultural aura is a Berlin statement of independence, freedom and pride. „Paloma Vs. Virus 005“ is a metaphor for this side of Berlin club music. Tracks from playful club tools by contemporary witnesses and the electronic landscapes of the young generation complement each other. „Paloma Vs. Virus 005“ presents the corona blues and the current dance ban in Berlin clubs (as of February 2022) with a tantalizing alternative, as it should be deeply rooted in the best tradition of Berlin club culture. Unlike the usual club sound of industrial Techno with its cold, metallic tones, „Paloma Vs. Virus 005“ is characterized by subversive selection, warmth and original joy in experimentation.

Accompanying thoughts for „Paloma vs. Virus 005“:

Kreuzberg nights are long
At first, they start very slowly
But then
But then

(The Blattschuß Brothers)

Elektronische Musik Compilation des Labels Paloma

Excerpt from the notes on „Paloma Vs. Virus 005“ at Bandcamp:
„After the success of last year’s compilation Paloma Vs. Virus 003, beloved Berlin club 
Paloma’s label imprint readies a weighty follow up, named Paloma Vs. Virus 005 as our struggle against the pandemic still continues. Again the music was gathered from Paloma’s vital network, representing the club’s renowned diversity with a plethora of sounds by established and up-and-coming artists. Straight from the top of the stairs, the range of the tracks contains previously unreleased artifacts from back in the day (Jonzon, Stefan Goldmann), sleazy bass queerness (TONI&MASH), Leftfield jams (SVN, Dynamo Dreesen & SJ Tequilla, Am Kinem & DJ Kool), Deep Techno excursions (Laura BCR, Simcha, Ady Toledano, Xyla, Eluize), funked up Disco groovers (Hans Nieswandt, Erobique), purple ambient UKG (Bakläxa, Premis), blissed out Deep House (Chris Coco, Phonk D, Sami Reza), rave euphoria (Sarah Farina, Route 8, RR), driving Techno cuts (Kasper Marott, Berni), peak time house tunes (Meggy, Antikkka), Club Soul (Mandel Turner, LeCiel), and a vaccination centre anthem (Eva Be feat. Dr. Needles).“

This Dasfax Techno mix is a symbiosis of tracks from the compilations Tresor 30, Berghain 15+1, Paloma vs Virus and No Photos On The Dancefloor.

No Photos On The Dancefloor – 1992-Today

With this compilation, which was released only a few months after the exhibition at the C|O Berlin, curator Heiko Hoffmann (former editor of Groove Magazine) elucidates the history of electronic club music from Berlin in a versatile and comprehensive manner. This compilation also shows how Berlin has gained its reputation worldwide as a Techno capital. While the tracks from the first years are still shaped by the producers of the Berlin-Detroit axis with intensity and euphoria, they are contrasted with minimal Techno at the end of the 90s with minimalism as a further development. Some of the Berlin newcomers were not newcomers to the production of Techno music, and so they combined their knowledge and skills with the experiences they were bestowed with in Berlin clubs and after hours. Techno as a family tree began to spread new sprouts again, and new clubs sprang up all over.

With the founding of Berghain in 2004, a new generation of DJs and producers emerged. Their vision of Techno was again more reminiscent of stylistic elements as developed by Underground Resistance from Detroit – raw purist Techno, as it was known among other things in the founding years, although without ravesignals. The special diversity of this compilation is also reflected in its function as a time gate which mirrors the respective club landscape and thus the typical club sound of the individual eras. Before the beginning of the corona pandemic, Berlin had its peak of clubs in which electronic music was celebrated with a number of approximately 52 venues. From the very beginning, new clubs had considered how they could define themselves through a significant club sound and which booking strategy they put in effect.

Compilatuon aus Berliner Clubmusik wie Techno, House, Ambient

Excerpt from the liner notes:
No Photos on the Dance Floor!‘ is the first compilation to trace the history of Techno made in Berlin over the last three decades, with a selection of classics and hidden gems that have helped shape Berlin’s sound from the early 90s until now. […] Part 1 of the vinyl edition focuses on the period between 1992 and 2006, with early 90s tracks by Thomas Fehlmann and Moritz von Oswald’s 3MB project (who teamed up with Detroit’s Juan Atkins on compilation opener ‚The 4th Quarter‘), Berlin techno pioneer DJ Tanith and Mijk van Dijk’s short-lived project 9-10-Boy, von Oswald’s and Ernestus‘ influential Maurizio alias, and Alec Empire, who would later go on to start influential noise/industrial band Atari Teenage Riot. Further key tracks from the first half of the aughts come from Mo Loschelder and Klaus Kotai’s Elektro Music Department label, Sleeparchive and Ableton Live-developer Robert Henke aka Monolake. Part 2 is drawn from tracks made between 2007 and today, starting at a point when the city became the center for a new creative community of international artists, DJs and producers who often favoured the minimalist aesthetic & musical styles of clubs such as Berghain, Bar25 and Watergate and stayed for the ease of living. Beginning with a remix by Plastikman aka Richie Hawtin of his Minus label signee Heartthrob, the two 12″s also feature contributions from Ben Klock, Avalon Emerson and Modeselektor. In addition to the two-part vinyl release, ‚No Photos on the Dance Floor!‘ will also be available in expanded CD & digital formats, featuring additional tracks by Rødhad, Efdemin and Ricardo Villalobos.“

A Ray of Light…

These four discussed compilations show that the ‚Sound of Berlin‚ has been shaped by a steady development and a continuous refoundation as well as the influx of new people over the last thirty years. The memories which people have taken home from Berlin’s Techno clubs are not only marked by the musical orientation but also by the atmosphere of the respective club where they celebrated. The tracks of these compilations also offer profound insight into the history and visions of those who formed Techno music and related genres as the musical dream of the future and who still participate in shaping electronic music from Berlin as a groundbreaking voice. Among other things, they acoustically create an image of that certain part of Berlin which makes the city so unique worldwide. In the same way as I associate Drum and Bass or Trip Hop with England and in particular with London and Bristol, Techno and its culture of freedom stand for Berlin.

A compilation can have the effect that those who have never been to Berlin Techno clubs will get a vivid idea of the ecstasies of dancing through the night. Furthermore, the musical documentations can also awaken the desire to finally experience the club night (again) in the flesh…

And like a ray of hope in these dark times, the opportunity for this came faster than expected: All Berlin clubs, as far as they have revived their infrastructure, are now able to open their doors again since 4th of March, and many locations have already announced their new program for the coming weeks.

The history of Berlin Techno continues…

Kay-Uwe Lenk *Dasfax | Techno Berlin | dancer plays records