Marcel Fengler / Fokus
Vinyl / Digital
Ostgut Ton / Released May 2013
It’s been two years since Mr. Fengler put his name to the well-above-average Berghain 05 mix album, and in that time his penchant for deep, immersive hypnosis doesn’t seem to have waned much. If at all.
This, the Berlin-based producer’s inaugural long form studio effort, certainly shows he understands the difference between minimalism and boredom on the listener’s part. Perhaps not an ideal recipe for an afternoon lounging about at home, nevertheless there’s more to the tracks than your typical ‘would probably get me dancing in the right scenario’ fare. Sky Pushing provides a good reference point. It’s a dark, repetitive chugger, complete with locomotive reversed cymbals, a distant resonant chime, some eerily twinking synths and hooks so good you can’t help but feel, er, hooked whenever and wherever it’s heard, albeit the real impact is only going to be felt at high volume.
What Fokus lacks in variety- everything here belonging to the dubby end of techno- it certainly compensates for in sheer production quality. Jaz is, in many ways, just another of those warm, groovy affairs complete with delicate percussion, string refrains, and inviting bouncy bass. Even the soaring background choir vocals have been present and correct elsewhere. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an example of how to marry elements of melancholic euphoria with a spatial, gloss finish this is certainly a good place to start the search, at least so far as contemporaries go.
We could spend a lot longer discussing the individual merits here- there’s not a bad track on the disc. Trespass‘s old school-esque organ arpeggio contrasts so well against the stripped back atmosphere-laden elements, as kicks thud out across seemingly barren soundscapes. And Dejavu, a definite standout moment from all eleven, takes the emotion to new heights, as melodies and harmonies both smooth and staccato meet atop broken drums, coming close to dubstep before losing sight of any light and getting onto a tip closer to some of Radioactiveman’s electro fare (albeit with far less British intensity). However, we don’t want to keep you longer than necessary. Point made, find this LP if you can.