Founded following the conception of one of the most notorious nightclubs in the world, Ostgut Ton’s reputation precedes itself. With the name nodding towards the predecessor of its birthplace, Berghain, after being demolished two years prior to the imprints first release, Ostgut Ton is dedicated to capturing snapshots of what can be heard in both rooms within what is widely considered the most important music establishment in the world for techno music. Although the club owns the label, the largest part of work that goes into curating the releases can be credited to three individuals, former manager and resident DJ Nick Höppner, current manager Jenus Baumecker-Kahmke and also its art director, Yusuf Etiman. These three creative minds are the driving force behind its releases and legacy, aside from the club itself.
As the intention of Ostgut Ton is to showcase the sounds of the club from which it’s derived, the artist roster, which also extends to the booking agency, is comprised of names, some more familiar than others, who have played for both its dance floors throughout the years. The labels back catalogue is made up of standalone EP releases from these artists and also mix albums from both rooms encapsulating their own individual sounds onto hour-long journeys. The first release on Ostgut Ton was the Berghain 01 mix, taken care of by The OstGut’s original resident André Galluzi, before the first EP from Ben Klock and Marcel Dettman followed shortly after.At the end of last year Ostgut Ton celebrated its tenth anniversary which was followed with the release of the Zehn compilation on the label.
In recognition of Ostgut Ton’s ten years at the forefront of its genre, as well as some preparation for all the dancing that will be being done to its music from here on out, we have picked a few integral releases from the Ostgut Ton back catalogue.
Andre Galluzi - Berghain 01
As the inaugural release for the label this has remained a timeless mix and will always appear in rundowns like these. As a resident of the original club and a regular there today, André Galluzi was perhaps the most well known DJ in Berlin at the time the label was founded and as such, was tasked with opening the series with this. Minimal meets dub techno with plenty of glitchy noises that epitomise the club’s early sound.
Ben Klock & Marcel Dettman – Dawning / Dead Man Watches The Clock
As mentioned earlier this was the first EP release on Ostgut Ton. Although the label at this time was unheard of and the release did not receive heavy promotion, the method of distributing 50 test pressings to DJs who played at the club did enough to get a great widespread response. Klock and Dettman have since been integral parts of the Ostgut Ton family and the EP signalled the decision to keep the label residents only.
Cassy – Panorama Bar 01
In a similar feat to the first choice, Cassy’s Panorama Mix was the first in its own series showcasing the sound of the upstairs room at Berghain. With a solid reputation as an individual club its in own right, this mix does the duty in exposing the deeper and more soulful side of the music reach that can be heard there, however it doesn’t fail to pack some punch toward the outset.
Prosumer & Murat Tepeli – Serenity
As the debut artist album to be released on Ostgut Ton, Serenity saw Prosumer and Murat Tepeli return to the label for the second time with their Chicago house style that was, if you like, a curveball in the largely techno and European sound that had come from the earlier EPs in the labels back catalogue. Nevertheless, this expanded Ostgut Tons musical reach even more, with this being just the beginning of it.
Shed – Shedding The Past
Shed was another member of the Ostgut family who broadened horizons for the label, as he fronted a dubstep-referencing take on techno that no one at the time had heard. From here artists like Scuba, Martyn and Shakelton explored this further with the sound now playing a large part of some performances at the club today. This LP was also released in the year that Ostgut Ton broke to international acclaim.
Nick Höppner – Who Needs Action
Who Needs Action was Nick Höppner’s first release for the label, which at the time he was managing. As he describes his roles as dedicated to making the executive decisions, licencing, distribution and marketing during the first years of the label, he will have had his work cut out for him. Here though, he made his anticipated debut that brings him to the table as one of its most important artists.
Various Artists – Fünf
Fünf was Ostgut Ton’s five-year anniversary compilation that was released on a 7-vinyl box set as well a mix CD. With the intention of including the club in its music and artwork, the concept of artists using field recordings from the club was brought forward and put into action. Opening with a track from Emilka that was created entirely from samples taken at the club, the following collection also saw other artists using the sound bank in their own ways, with the mix featuring the likes of Marcel Fengler, Dinky, Soundstream, Margaret Dygas, Luke Slater and Ryan Elliot. This attests to not just the diversity of the music and artists, but also to its vision of being a true reflection of the club.
Various Artists – Zehn
Released at the back end of last year, Zehn celebrated ten years of Ostgut Ton and again brought the concept album idea to the table after the success of Fünf. Zehn went in the complete opposite direction and gave the artists musical freedom to form a body of tracks that reflect all the different types of music that can be heard at the club over a weekend. The artwork concept mirrored the musical one of Fünf, in using pictures in twos, threes, fours and so on for each year the label has been running.
Berghain 07 – Function
Picked for being the most recent addition to the Berghain mix series and also because it was given away as a free download, Function’s Berghain 07 is my final choice. Out of all the instalments in the series I feel it’s the most representative of what peak hours of the club sound like. Starting bold and finishing in a rather epic way, it serves as another reminder that Ostgut Ton is still one of the most exciting labels in house and techno today. Truly diverse, forever timeless. Here’s to another 10 years.
Steffi – Yours & Mine
After mixing Panorama Bar 03, Steffi returned with her debut LP Yours & Mine in 2011, which was a captivating mix of moody, deep, trancey, progressive house and techno. Although the track Yours became one of the most played tracks that year, the whole collection was a beautiful example a more restrained and musical approach, away from tearing up the club, which she’s become Berghain’s first lady for.
Words by Josh Plews
Photos courtesy of Ostgut Ton & Butter Side Up