Nick Höppner – Folk LP


Nick Höppner starts his debut album in the manner in which you’d expect: strength and power enforced with the kick drum of ‘Paws’, slowly overlaying a floaty melody and lilting percussion. It’s a style that Höppner has honed over a long and prosperous career as a DJ and producer immersed in the world’s most fertile environment for techno. Thanks to a long-standing residency at Berghain, he is one of the lucky few who can regularly test new material in the cavernous space, while his running of Ostgut Ton has placed him in a unique position to influence and be influenced by some of the most important figures in techno. As the former label boss, it is only natural that this album should be released on Ostgut.

The LP as a whole showcases Höppner’s supremely eclectic talent as a producer. Several strands of his musical personality are on display, with some tracks more industrial and gritty, and others focusing on more harmonious and euphoric elements. All tracks are synth-led and play with percussion as a tool to set the mood, and melody to flesh out the scene. Each of the pieces feels like Höppner is a painter, layering brush-strokes upon a technological canvas. Nowhere is this clearer than in one of the masterpieces of the album, ‘Rising Overheads’. A track orientated towards the dancefloor, it begins with bass-heavy synth stabs itching to break free, before a tinkling melody bursts forward, like a train hurtling through picturesque countryside.

Other notable dancefloor moments are found on the intense, industrial sound of ‘Out Of’, the distorted vocal of ‘Come Closer’ and the melancholic end-of-the-night feeling of ‘No Stealing’ – a track that perfectly rounds off the album. ‘Grind Show’ takes the crown for the most interesting and unique-sounding track of the album, with moody elements making for a much more contemplative listen than some of the others. An interlude between the energy of adjacent tracks, it still maintains a power about it that elevates it to a pivotal moment in the album.

Although it’s been a long time coming, each track from this album sits among the best of Höppner’s previous work, building up a portfolio that doesn’t just get played in the recesses of Berghain, but has pervaded through to dancefloors around the world.

Folk is released on March 30th via Ostgut Ton.

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