Not every clubber though. Watergate, like many Berlin clubs, employs a door policy that ensures the crowd stays "underground." (Uli Wombacher, one of the club's owners, pointed out last year in our Real Scenes: Berlin film that if you have too many people that "haven't experienced this culture, it kills the vibe.") Whatever your feelings on the matter, you only need to look at Berlin clubs without door policies to see what happens when demand outstrips supply. That said, it's undeniable among those living in (and visiting) the German capital that at some point in the past few years, Watergate has lost some of the luster that made it one of the world's best clubs. The bookings remain strong, the line that extends down Falckensteinstrasse is long and the view of the Spree is still magnificent. For whatever reason, though, it's lost the indefinable "it" factor that leaves you with the desire to stop by—no matter the lineup. Is it still great? No doubt. Is it as great as it once was? Not really.
The music on Watergate X won't do much to change that sentiment, even though it's often very good. The lineup is varied enough that you'll likely find a new favourite or two depending on your personal taste. Broadly speaking, the majority of the tracks here are tech house. Sebo K & Metro, Lee Jones and Marco Resmann all turn in well-produced and functional efforts. Butch, Jesse Rose and Benoit & Sergio, meanwhile, predictably take the house template and tweak it so that it's aimed directly at the big room.
A few things stand out from the pack. dOP's "Take Care of Me" is a wonderfully wonky opener that sashays its entire length without a 4/4 kick. Henrik Schwarz also gets moody with "Take Words in Return," in which the Auto-Tuned vocal gets stretched out like taffy over a shuffling beat. Chicago house vet DJ Sneak sounds like he has something to prove with "Battle's Over": It's by far the most urgent track here, deliriously banging away for more than eight minutes. Catz 'N Dogz & SLG's "Loud Sandra" is joyous piano house, and is easily one of the brightest things to be found on the compilation.
Going over every track, though, is beside the point. Aside from the ill-advised vocal cut from Tiefschwarz—which is begging for a dub version—the quality of almost everything is pretty high. Like the club at the moment, though, Watergate X doesn't have that "it" factor that transports it to another level.