Artist: Ellen Allien
Title: Nost LP
Label: BPitch Control
Cat No: BPC330
Release date: Out Now!
Ellen Allien is a lady who needs little introduction, having played a pivotal role in Berlin’s vibrant electronic scene throughout the early nineties. Her residencies at the likes of Tresor and E-werk established her reputation as an excellent and unique DJ but her creative projects since then have seen her acting as DJ, producer, label head (for the excellent BPitch Control) and even as a fashion entrepreneur. The Berlin native here returns with no less than her seventh studio album and it is an album which shows a maturity and fondness for the sounds of her past.
The album opens up with the unnerving throb of ‘Mind Trip’. This is a voyage into intelligent Teutonic electronica that percolates around a disembodied vocal that sounds like it is emanating from Satan’s bunker. Next up comes the hypnotic acid of ‘Innocence’ coming across like the long lost twin of Garnier’s ‘Acid Eiffel’ until some detuned rave stabs drag the track in an altogether different direction. The nineties vibe continues with ‘Jack My Ass’ which nods appropriately to its Chicago heritage featuring an acid-laden lead and raw sounding analog drums. This body jacking cut thumps along nicely and Allien weaves in her own electro-tinged sounds before mangling the vocals beyond recognition.
‘Call me’ pops up next and features Allien’s vocodered booty call as she repeats ‘Call me I want your sex’. Apparently, this is an ode to Berlin’s sensual after dark atmosphere and the dating apps used by many to connect in this hyper-real modern metropolis. It fires along in satisfying style before it’s sirens and snare rolls bring back the glory days of Green Velvet’s anthem ‘Flash’ to great effect. ‘Electric Eye’ explores stab laden old school house territory while ‘MMA’ absorbs the more industrial sounds of Allien’s hometown, perhaps nodding back to the darkened rooms of her days as a Tresor resident.
The album is rounded off nicely by the deep acid and almost Balearic vibes of ‘Stormy Memories’ whilst ‘Ermond’ sounds like a widescreen lullaby for the cities machines. The production is precise throughout and this attention to detail means these cuts, although clearly aimed at working the dance floor, will prove equally intriguing for home listening. Allien is an experienced producer and this certainly feels like an accomplished piece of work, slotting together as an album that seems to reflect the melting pot of electronic sounds that is Berlin.