When it comes to techno, there are few cities on the planet that have embraced and upheld the raw, foundational roots laid down by its pioneers more so than Berlin. Revered globally for its hedonistic club culture, free-flowing creativity and open-minded approach to life, the city has firmly established itself as one of the premier European destinations for techno of outstanding and uncompromising quality. This is due in no small part to the family of producers and DJs who live there, experience the city and continue to push the development of the sound. One of the centre-most characters in this movement is the inimitable Berghain resident, Ben Klock.
Born and raised in the formerly segregated west city centre area of Schöneberg, Ben was exposed to and instilled with a passion for music from an early age. Bored by the mainstream output of German radio, he quickly launched himself into record buying, a hobby which started with Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ as a 7" single and worked its way through hip hop, jungle, late 60s/70s rock and African music. One of the great turning points for Ben, however, was the discovery of the musical minimalism of Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians.’
With the falling of the wall in 1989, the city was primed for the global explosion of techno as imported records filtered across Europe. The city quickly latched onto the late 80s acid sound, sparking a series of parties which was to inspire a generation. It was surrounded by yellow smileys and strobe lights that Ben was first exposed to the sound of techno, a sound so unique that it was to inspire his career.
“I really only learned how to DJ in a club in front of people. I played jungle, trip hop, drum and bass for the first couple of months and half a year later changed to house and techno. That's how it all started.” - Ben Klock
Taking on this project for Ben has become more than just the mix itself; it’s been an adventure into the future sound of some of the best and most exciting producers out there. Recorded in his home studio in Berlin, the mix has a distinct intention; one of discovery. The selection reflects both his love of classic house and techno productions as well as his passion for unearthing new and unreleased music as his friends were personally invited to submit rare and exclusive tracks for the purposes of this very special fabric mix.
The slow-building and subtle warble of Truncate’s ‘Ratio 1,’ is where the mix takes off from, immediately dipping into a huge selection of rarities and previously unreleased cuts of understated techno. Ben places tracks from Staffan Linzatti, Sagat, K-Hand and DJ Bone against some old school favourites - one of the central dynamics within the mix. Josh Wink, Robert Hood (as Floorplan), DVS1, Technasia, and Luke Slater (as Planetary Assault Systems), may all be familiar names but the track selection is clearly that of a die-hard DJ and producer who has spent a lifetime crate-digging, looking for those rare gems. The introduction of UK dubstep hero Burial creates an even more intriguing dialogue, fitting the classic production of the old-school with the future sounds of rising talent. Other noteworthy appearances include brand new Mathew Jonson, Sigg Gonzalez, and Vlek Records’ Sagat, who provides incredibly teasing minimalist touches to the modulating oscillations of the overall product. Ben’s original productions, edits and reworkings perforate the mix alongside cuts from his signature Klockworks imprint, but these remain purposefully fleeting instances, executed to add moments of balance and transition.
As the mix seethes with rising intensity and builds to a crescendo, Floorplan’s ‘Never Grow Old’ brings a levity to the mix with its slow house groove, vinyl crackles and soulful vocal before we take one final sharp turn into ethereal techno as the metallic clashes of Terrence Fixmer’s ‘When the Sun’ ring out with only the rising synths and clanging percussion of James Ruskin’s ‘Detached’ driving us headlong towards the final, blissful ending of ‘Monophaser 2,’ which swathes us in low frequency, sustained bass and cosmic phasing, leaving the listener in deep, meditative reflection. There’s nothing linear about this mix, apart from the fact it has a beginning and an end. The rest is for you to discover.
“I didn't want to include any of my ‘hits’ from my sets this time. The idea is more that you have something to discover when you listen.” - Ben Klock
fabric 66: Ben Klock will be released on 17th September 2012. Pre-order your copy here. Ben Klock will be launching the CD here on 27th October and at Berghain in his native Berlin on 13th October.