Ostgut Ton and IMF lord Marcel Fengler may be one of Bergain’s most underrated purist DJs, but his just-released album Fokus on this legendary label may change this as he delivers Ostgut Ton it’s finest album since PAS’s The Messenger or Shed’s Shedding The Past. Starting out as a Tresor and E-Werk resident in the 1990’s, he gradually made his way to where he is now as a Bergain mainstay.
While I wouldn’t call him a prolific producer, his output has been steadfast and unswerving, and at its best on stentorian, subtly experimentally shown on aces like the Friction / Yaki 12″ and the Thwack EP for Luke Slater’s Mote Evolver. But not even his most recent, the Frantic EP, really disclosed what was in store for Fokus. Running with the melodic tendencies that have defined his recent singles, the record predictably takes its sights off the dance floor. What it zeroes in on instead is songcraft and texture—its sonorous tones make for one of the more beautiful albums to come from Ostgut Ton. Instead of merely adapting his style for home listening, Fengler has bravely reworked it from the ground-up. Several tracks on Fokus are beatless, and the producer is more than graceful in these moments. But most of all, the album is plush with an emotion that we don’t usually associate with the Berghain brand. This comes to a climax with the closing Liquid Torso; completely ambient and shuddering with deceptive low-end, with its white-hot streaks making it more powerful than any of the beat-driven tracks. Touches like these elevate the album from your average techno full-length into something ethereal and otherworldly, held up by feeling rather than rhythm. With Fokus, Fengler proves that sometimes it’s better to have your head in the clouds than your feet on the ground. Great album.