Berlin label Ostgut Ton label enjoyed its tenth birthday this year and brought the celebrations to London with a Hydra party at Studio Space on Saturday, December 12th. Known for their marathon parties at Berghain, Hydra opened until 10am to welcome its label’s stars to produce the goods behind the decks. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus were up to the task of seeing the night through to the end.
Marcel Fengler rifled in a beligerant set at the apex of the party.
He Said: “With a line-up that saw Ostgut Ton programme the music across the three rooms of Studio Spaces, this was a special night for The Hydra. 12 hours of music from major contributors to the Berghain label and regulars behind the decks at the club meant no shirking from the powerful techno Ostgut Ton has become known for, however we did delay our arrival until 2.30am to ensure we had the stamina to power through to 10am. Upon entering to Steffi’s live set (sadly without the ill Virginia), the mood was already dark and brooding. We grabbed a drink in the Ambiant Floor White Studio where Kobosil was just supplying the mood music for those wanting a more chilled vibe, and headed straight to the Warehouse where Answer Code Request was shifting his live set into gear.
“Opting for slow, percusive builds which would burst into industrial grooves, Answer Code Request’s set was the dramatic start to our night we needed to get in the mood. Marcel Fengler stepped up next to rifle in a beligerant set at the apex of the party ahead of Marcel Dettmann’s more measured delivery and a stonking finale from Ben Klock. Throughout, the Warehouse dancefloor was brimming with some of the friendliest clubbers I’ve ever seen at The Hydra. There was room to dance, no jerks pushing past you to get to the front only to stand looking gormless and it was easy to strike up a conversation - normally in detail about techno.
“Come the end of the night just before 10am, ice lollies were handed out to thankful ravers as a nice touch and there was dismay when Klock wrapped up his set - the still-sizable crowd seemed up for partying more which was impressive as sometimes London clubbers are deemed to be a softer touch than those in Europe, particularly Ostgut Ton’s home of Berghain where you can get a techno fix anytime from Saturday night through to Monday morning. Backstage I spoke to label boss Nick Höppner who had played in the Black Studio earlier, asking him what the difference was between London and Berlin clubs. He replied: “In London, they don’t fuck in front of you.” If that’s the only difference in the view of the DJs, perhaps the two cities aren’t so dissimilar - at least not on an Ostgut Ton night. Bravo Hydra!”
I promised myself that if OGT did not return to London soon, I would return to Berlin.
She Said:” “A stint studying in Hamburg had led to a huge crush on Berghain, its unrivalled soundsystem and most of all, the array of techno genius its record label, Ostgut Ton, presented a platform for. The Ostgut Ton label-mates were making their debut trip to London. Staying loyal to Berghain’s extensive licensing, the night, run by the Hydra, promised thundering techno until 10am. Challenge accepted.
“The (literally) Black Studio was packed with a lively crowd taking in Steffi playing a stomping live set. Meanwhile a more subdued to the point of being meditative set was being spun by Kobosil in the aptly named “Ambient Room”, which was complete with dim red lighting. After taking a few moments to absorb the calm, we went head-first into the Warehouse. Answer Code Request was coming to the end of a resonant set, demonstrating that despite the fact that when setting out as a DJ he was initially reluctant to put a face to his music, he had true star appeal and the crowd was rapturous. Next in line was Marcel Fengler, who stripped the aesthetics and turned the tempo up. Teasing build ups and clever use of grating sound effects kept the energy high throughout.
“It was so hot in the middle of the dancefloor, regular trips out to cool down in the wintry rain were essential. Sheltering in a doorway with some friendly Drumcoders who were celebrating rather than berating their techno rivals, who better to duck into our shelter for some banter than Marcel Dettmann himself, along with his manager who looked a little peeved with the many selfie requests. Thankfully I had smashed my phone to smithereens the night before, and so selfies were off the agenda. I settled for a quick chat in German about Berlin and whether OGT would be making a regular occurrence of London.
“With the Drumcode squad in earshot, it probably was not the opportune moment to disclose any plans of a repeat and it was almost time for Marcel to set up so we wished him luck and headed back to warm up again on the dancefloor. Marcel Dettmann orchestrated a forceful yet thoughtful transition from Fengler’s minimal to a more meaty, fast moving set. Dettmann clearly enjoys experimenting with a range of sounds to a background of thudding techno. Hints of rock music are common place in his sets, complete with deep, masculine vocals, but the origins impossible to determine. On conclusion, best pal Ben Klock congratulated him with a hug before taking reign of the decks.
“Staying true to form, Ben Klock opened with a haunting tone that drifts for about a minute, raising the hair up and down sweat soaked spines across the room with a shiver, before breaking the spell with a furious thudding beat. The set was interesting from start to finish, employing a variety of styles. At one point, questionably, a disco track that Ben and his adoring female fans both seemed to get caught in a moment loving left those that did not get it a little out the loop. Thankfully this soon came to an end and we were all hooked again, unable to take our eyes from the decks as Klock moved expertly from track to track, clearly enjoying his time tremendously as he danced along, smiling endlessly. He drew the night to a close, amusingly wrapped himself in as many towels as he could lay hands on, having put as much energy into his set as the rest of us. With a distinct feeling of loss knowing a night of such musical magnitude was now behind me, I promised myself that if OGT did not return to London soon, I would return to Berlin. Or live as half a person forever more…”
She Said by Ann McManus. Images by Khris Cowley - Here and Now.