Len Faki: Berghain 03
Ostgut Ton

So here I was all set to pass off Len Faki's Berghain 03 as just another generic techno mix when I'll be damned if it didn't win me over eventually. The fact that the seventy-seven mix eventually expands its stylistic purview into house during the set's second half has something to with it for sure but, even aside from that, it's hard not to be won over by Faki's relentless pursuit of the perfect groove. Known for his marathon DJ sets at Berghain (where the Figure and Podium label head became a resident following the move to Berlin in 2002), Faki works hard to bridge the gaps between techno and house throughout in much the same way he does during his multi-hour DJ sets.

Amidst thunderstorms, we begin with an elegant classical intro (John Beltran's “ Vienna ”) that segues into the slinky, loop-based propulsion of techno in all its rawness (Roman Lindau's “Raumgestaltung”). Moving through cuts by Gez Varley, Someone Else, and JP Montesino, the mix grows ever denser and more intoxicating, pulling the listener into its vortex until Faki's own euphoric “BX 3” sets the controls for the heart of the sun. It's at this halfway point that the mix turns truly eruptive (sirens wailing in the background suggest the turn the music's taking) with Faki cranking up the intensity and letting the pounding beats roil. Radio Slave's “Neverending” nudges the mix into housier territory, after which Ed Davenport's “Stripped Mix” of Koljah & Oliver Deutschmann's “Eaten Back To Life” and Tony Lionni's “ Found A Place ” push it headfirst into deep house, and Basement Jaxx's squawking “Fly Life” kicks the set into a whole other level of wildness. By the time the soulful horns of Nick Holder & Kaje's “Feel” arrives on the scene, it's clear we've come a long way from the mix's pure techno beginnings. Driving the point home even more emphatically, Faki ends his mix with the churning tribal bump of Ferrer & Sydenham Inc.'s “Timbuktu” and Burial's stirring overhaul of Bloc Party's “Where is Home?”—hardly the destination one might have expected would be reached at disc's end when the mix left shore.

May 2009