For this week's podcast, we tap one of Ostgut-Ton's most skilled techno mavens: Berghain resident Marcel Fengler.
Though he tends to keep a pretty low profile, Marcel Fengler is rightly considered as one of the finest techno DJs currently in operation. At Berlin venues Berghain and Arena, and at underground parties around Europe, his sets have a refined, atmospheric quality that betrays impeccable taste and years spent behind the decks. Indeed, his credentials are pretty hard to argue with: he got his start in the early '90s spinning at a youth club alongside future Ostgut-Ton mate Marcel Dettmann. Over the next decade and a half, he honed his craft at E-Werk, Tresor and finally Berghain, where he currently pummels the shadows on a monthly basis.
Every Berghain resident has his strong suit: Dettmann's got a knack for keeping it grim, DJ Pete has his command of dub, and Ben Klock's got a way of weaving between Chicago house and punishing techno. With Marcel Fengler, it's the overall range that impresses most. Like all good DJs, he's a master of building a vibe, but also knows how to let it taper off while maintaining tension, pulling the audience into deeper territory while preparing for another assault. Fengler puts it best himself: "[The set] has to be varied and it has to snake through the night in waves." On this week's podcast, he shows us exactly what he means by that, deftly moving through nautical dub, moody broken-beat and, of course, throbbing peak-time techno.
What have you been working on recently?
I've just released a new 12-inch on Mote-Evolver. I'm very chuffed they asked me. Since I DJ'd together with Luke Slater for the first time one-and-a-half years ago, a close relationship has developed. He initially asked me for a remix, but it turned into a full EP instead, which I'm very happy about, of course. I'm also working on a remix for the Skudge crew from Stockholm at the moment and I need to finish my contribution for the five year anniversary compilation on Ostgut Ton, which will be released this autumn.
Where and how was the mix recorded?
I recorded the mix in my little studio at home. I've recorded the mix straight from my mixer using vinyl only. After that, I did a little post-production, highlighting certain spots in the mix with subtle effects and samples. I really like to do that, because this way, you can blow more life into the mix.
Can you tell us a little about the idea behind the mix?
I challenged myself to combine tracks that don't necessarily belong together and to create a sense of a story anyway. That's why there are dub tunes, techno, but also broken beats and house. I still focus on beefy tracks, though, just like I would when DJing in a club.
How do you feel about playing at Space in Ibiza next month?
Well, the venue and our presence there seems to have polarized opinion a fair bit. Let's wait and see. I'm relaxed about it.
Can we expect a follow-up to Twisted Bleach anytime soon?
Yes, I'm working on it as we speak. It's going to be released on Ostgut Ton in September and it will surely pick up the threads I left behind last year. That's all I can give away right now...
What are you up to next?
There are a few very nice events coming up for me this summer. In particular, I'm very excited about playing Labyrinth festival in Japan again. Last year's edition has been a remarkable experience in the best sense. There will be another remix from me for Peter van Hoesen on Time to Express and for Elliot Dodge on Snapshot. I'm also busy setting up my own label, and last but not least, I will start to put some thought into my Berghain mix CD, which is penciled in for 2011's second half.
Photo credit: Rolf Zscharnack