Review: V.A. – “Werkschau” – BPitch Control

A retrospection of the output of BPitch Control is for label boss Ellen Allien looking back at her own life. In fact, Allien’s wide interest in diverse  types of electronic music and her versatility as a dj is reflected perfectly in the musical identity of her label, thereby making this into one of its unique selling points. It’s a multifariousness that no doubt stems from Ellen Allien’s home: the city of Berlin which, as everybody knows, she holds very dearly.

When we met her in November last year at the event I Love Techno in Ghent, Belgium, she admitted that she started working on this compilation already three years ago. The idea was to collect new stuff from label-affiliated artists, but most of them had eventually send in material that wasn’t the best representation of their work: left-overs and hastily created tracks. Instead of putting out these fairly insufficient pieces on the occasion of BPitch Control’s tenth anniversary, Ellen Allien asked them again for new music and stressed the importance for her and for the label. This obviously only illustrates what the label and its music mean to her.

Now, as BPitch Control is twelve, “Werkschau” got finally released, containing no less than seventeen superb tracks. Of course by now most of us are familiar with Ellen Allien’s own “The Kiss”, a floor-filler with overtly old-school techno characteristics which has been played in the past six months by several top djs and which was featured on the previously released sampler.  Also to be found on that 12inch is “Hiddensee” by Sascha Funke who delivers a rather slow, subtle and warm piece of techno.

Impressive is “Most Beautiful Kill” by AGF/Delay, the remarkable collaboration between Vladislav Delay (Sassu Ripatti) and Antye Greie, the poetess cum producer Allien worked with on her album “Sool”. The title of this track fits its atmosphere poignantly. More in an electropop vein is “How We Moove” by TimTim. A certain pop feel can also be detected in “Aiming For Destruction” by Dillon feat. Coma, with its beautiful melody line and ditto vocals though it has some accompanying bouncing beats and acid sounds. It is, for me personally, one of the nicest discoveries of “Werkschau”.

Less surprising but confirming is the solid, crisply produced techno pur sang of Mark  Broom, the hot, dubby sing-along pop of Jahcoozi and Paul Kalkbrenner‘s stirring “Plätscher” which is production-wise almost touching perfection. Other highlights are the somewhat melancholic crunk-influenced track “The Sky Is Black” by Telefon Tel Aviv (with Robin Guthrie on vocals), the very effective house by Kiki & Lenz and by Zander VT and last but not least Thomas Muller (mind you, despite his name, he’s originally from Paris)’s “West” with its glitches, pounding beats and evocative sample bits.

“Werkschau” may be a retrospective release, but by releasing new music this is evidently a state of play in Bpitch Control’s position as well. And at this point Ellen Allien’s passion is still thriving so we may look forward to lots of fresh, splendid material coming from the HQ at the Oranienburger Strasse in Berlin.

V.A. – “Werkschau” (compiled by Ellen Allien) is out now.

Track list:
1. Cormac – The Present
2. Ellen Allien – The Kiss
3. We Love – Harmony Of The Spheres
4. Dillon & Coma – Aiming For Destruction
5. AGF/Delay – Most Beautiful Kill
6. TimTim – How We Moove
7. Sascha Funke – Hiddensee
8. Kiki & Lenz – Morning Maniacs
9. Zander VT – Gotta Look Up To Get Down
10. Jahcoozi – Day In Day Out
11. Mr. Statik – Sinphony feat. The Boy
12. Aérea Negrot – Deutsche Werden
13. Thomas Muller – West
14. Chaim – The Country
15. Paul Kalkbrenner – Plätscher
16. Mark Broom – Refund
17. Telefon Tel Aviv – The Sky Is Black feat. Robin Guthrie

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