Wilde Renate's summer sister venue, Else, has confirmed an 18-hour rave on Sunday 28th April with Dekmantel Soundsystem, DJ Boring and Interstellar Funk, among others.
The open-air club is located at Berlin's Treptower Park, close to the namesake S-Bahn station, on the banks of the River Spree. This is the first date of what promises to be another packed summer of sessions.
It’s the mid-90s and a teenage Antal Heitlager is on an overnight bus to London. When he arrives in the UK capital he plans to spend the day shopping at record stores like Fat Cat, Atlas and Reckless Records before, unable to afford accomodation in the city, returning to Amsterdam overnight that same evening with a fistful of vinyl.
“The most vital part has always been the music selection,” Antal continues. “When we started, musical areas were quite segregated in Amsterdam. You were house or hip-hop or trip-hop or funk or drum & bass. There were people who enjoyed different things but in clubs it wasn’t really mixed up. Nowadays that’s more accessible and accepted. “[As Rush Hour] we have always been all over the place. Something that might not be easy to pin down. When we opened the store we tried to make combinations with different types of sounds.
“I remember clearing dancefloors with these sounds that are now in fashion”
Rush Hour’s longevity musically, though, is largely due to its refusal to be pigeonholed under a specific sound or style. The music they purvey is singularly undefinable, growing from their love of Detroit techno and Chicago house to also encompass a discerning selection of electro, jazz, Afrocentric sounds, funk, soul, Eurocentric techno and way beyond. Through the years the brand has not only become a stamp of impeccable taste, but also a one-stop shop for records and releases that originally flew under the radar of international recognition.
The Rush Hour co-founder also enjoys a busy career as a touring DJ alongside his work for the brand, as well as being a family man with two daughters. “I am still finding out and fine-tuning all the time how to make it work,” he says of his work/life balance. “Often it means little hours of sleep but for now it is good.”
The unstoppable influence of EBM has been clear to see recently.
The term EBM (electronic body music) was first coined by Ralf Hütter of Kraftwerk when talking about 'Die Mensch-Maschine' in 1978 to describe the album's more physical sound. However, the EBM movement truly started in the early '80s through artists such as Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, their first recordings forming early manifestos for the genre.
Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb picks...
‘Hearts and Minds’
“I always liked Flood’s remixes of Nitzer Ebb stuff, ‘Hearts & Minds’ and ‘Control’ still sound exciting and fresh today.”
Phase Fatale picks...
‘Hours & Hours’
“It is one of the most essential and original EBM songs out of Belgium. I love the rawness and filthiness of it.”
Alessandro Adriani picks...
Red Rhino Europe
“I can’t pick anything other than 242. This sounds like you're in the middle of a war in a fucking jungle with bombs falling everywhere. You hear voices and drums and noises. The way they perform it live is amazing. The bassline starts quiet, then after three or four minutes of percussion and noises and voices the digital bassline kicks in!”
Elena Colombi picks...
“I won't pick a “classic”, there's so many great articles and compilations out there covering this. Instead I'll share something I think deserved more attention.”
Thomas P. Heckmann picks...
‘Verschwende Deine Jugend’
“It’s very hard to choose as I have quite a few favourites, but this was the first thing I would call original EBM I listened to in 1981. The music and title say it all. Prototype blueprint in the same level as Liaisons Dangereuses and Suicide.”
Interstellar Funk picks...
Totally Freaked Out Power Electronics
“It's a tough question! But this cassette is from the Netherlands in the ‘90s. It never got reissued properly and is one of my favourites. It’s really hard to get and it this weird electro/noise music, way before this whole thing was going on. It’s pretty interesting.”
Job Sifre picks...
‘Join in the Chant’
“This is still one of my main go to classics. It really works well on the dancefloor. It doesn’t have a too crazy synth bass, but that makes it really feel industrial. People going wild is a certainty.”
David Vunk picks...
‘Und Weiter Geht’s’
“This came out in 1990 and I love everything about it. The beat, the sound, the voices and the strings. It's dark but still has energy. I heard it for the first time in Miami two years ago. I was there to visit a friend and play. I was at his house, he put on this record and *indistinguishable noise*.”
“Released in ’92, so not a pure EBM track since already informed of techno/trance with a super-funky mechanical acidy baseline.”
EBM has been simmering on the underground in recent years, but is now back in full force as DJ and producers look to the roots of techno for inspiration in how to push it forward.
Dance music has been alive with talk of the return of electro in recent months. And while long-time advocates of the scene including DJ Stingray, Dopplereffekt and I-F have seen a surge in bookings, flying the flag for the classic Detroit sound, many others – including Nina Kraviz and Helena Hauff – are finding increasingly widespread success combining techno and electro with the industrial clatter of electronic body music (EBM).
Hauff often uses EBM in her wide-ranging DJ sets and has also used her Return To Disorder label to put out music by new artists producing the sound. "I feel like the term electronic body music is such a great name anyway because in music, for me, it's all about the energy, and when it comes to club music it's about the body. It's a very physical thing."
"EBM, early house and techno all have some degree of shared DNA," explains Bon Harris of seminal band Nitzer Ebb. "Each genre takes its own direction, but there are commonalities at source. The original EBM protagonists have had a resonant influence in a lot of genres. The aggression, energy and upfront danceability in the case of Nitzer Ebb are what seem to have captured a lot of imaginations."
"The longer a style sticks around, the more respect it tends to get," Harris continues. "Especially if it holds up in terms of freshness and relevance. Patience is a virtue. If you can weather that intervening decade-and-a-half when you are completely unfashionable, it all comes back around. It is gratifying to feel that emotions and intentions that were important to us in formative years remain important to a new generation."
"Artists have more influences to draw from, an expanded range of tools and possibilities, and the vantage point of updating a classic style for modern times," Harris explains. "Artists like Rhys Fulber add another level of sophistication in the production. That's the advantage of taking a classic genre and using today's [technology], you can take it to another level."
He also explains that the shift in sound on a wider scale is connected to the current political climate. "The music got more aggressive over the last few years with a comeback of noise and industrial," he continues. "It's less relaxed than the early '00s when we were more optimistic about the future. Now we have many negative inputs around us, and that's reflecting in the music. It's cathartic to sweat and express yourself now in a room full of bodies moving with energy."