Tension builds as buzzing chords duke it out over lunging, syncopated kicks; only after four minutes, by which point you've decided that the angry ghost of IDM is rattling the club to its foundations, does a regular, 4/4 bass drum finally kick in. For a time, it feels like a particularly biting take on piano house, with textures so electric they make your fillings hurt, and then the beats end, and the last two minutes are a swirl of warbling synthesizers as they trickle down the drain.
It's an excellent fusion of two Berghain aesthetics: the offbeat, industrially tinged sound of the Leisure System nights, which regularly host Warp and Rephlex artists, and the full-spectrum, full-throttle techno of the rest of the time. That's not a coincidence: Sam Barker co-runs Leisure System, while ND Baumecker is a Berghain resident.
The other two tracks share the same electrified sonics and buzzing sense of presence, with a spine-tingling high end and chest-massaging bass. "The Hole" is twitchy, minimalist techno with acid undertones; its long arc and driving drama could draw any number of comparisons—Radio Slave, Stockholm Ltd., Robert Hood—but its sickly frequencies and prickly detailing ultimately don't sound quite like anyone else. Jimmy Edgar guests on "Refugee Hipster," sparsely soloing over a mid-tempo dub techno jam, and bringing an unusual touch of G-funk to a form that generally shies away from such explicitly jazzy touches. Again, it's Barker & Baumecker's sonics that really set the tune apart: the slow-moving chords might be staples of the genre, but the rest of the track's materials, from its porous low end to its bleepy highs, sound built according to custom specifications.