Steffi owns her role at Panorama Bar, the famous Berlin club where she's a resident DJ. She has a reputation as a reliable purveyor of warm and welcoming deep house, and though she's only been putting out records for a few years, she's already racked up a certified anthem ("Yours"). Panorama Bar 05 is her first official mix CD, and a chance to shine outside the confines of a club—it should be a dazzling display of skills and finesse. But somehow it doesn't feel up to snuff, lacking a particular wow factor and kowtowing to a narrow definition of her style.
On first listen, you'll notice that Panorama Bar 05 takes a while to get beyond a gentle lope. The supple bongo groove of Palisade's "18:05" eases us in, and it doesn't really feel like we've gone very far until we get to the horns of Juju & Jordash's "A Stab In The Dark," eight tracks in. Across that first half hour of carefully cresting grooves, string melodies and greyed-out acid house, you'd be forgiven for looking at your watch once or twice. There's nothing wrong with riding out a mood, but a CD only holds 80 minutes; using 35 of those to dip your toes into the water is a head-scratcher.
John Berera & Will Martin's "Reality" is the mix's desert oasis, with its cascading flutes and horns adding some colour. Steffi works in some very solid tracks from there, including one of her own new ones, "DB011." But occasionally her mixes feel counterintuitive—notice how Juergen Junker's "Post Reunion" essentially drowns out DJ Fett Burger's "Disco Tre" instead of flowing out of it. By the time Dexter's "Jawada" is beating its chest, things feel a bit disjointed.
Steffi is a better DJ than most, and Panorama Bar 05 is a strong, if not terribly brilliant, mix. Something about it just feels a little too reserved. Made up of mostly newer releases, it lacks the crate-digging delights of past Ostgut Ton mixes; speaking to RA about the CD, she said she reached out to her favourite artists for new tracks for the mix, preferring their tailored offerings over rough old gems. It sounds like it. Homogenous and slightly predictable, Panorama Bar 05 is not Steffi at her most adventurous.