Although Norman Nodge has held a residency at Berghain since 2005, techno is just a side project for him at this point: soundtracking the relative madness inside the famed Berlin club comes second after his duties as a lawyer and a father. Falling in love with techno after the wall came down, the Leipzig-born, Brandenburg-raised DJ began promoting parties around Berlin in the 90s, reportedly becoming a mentor to Marcel Fengler and Marcel Dettmann in all things techno. Backing out of the game at the end of the decade, Nodge transferred his focus to his family and career. After being recommended to Berghain by Dettmann, he now plays the club once a month, and has become revered for giving timeless sounds a contemporary context. ‘Berghain techno’ doesn’t have to be dark and brooding, and here he showcases some of its brighter flourishes on our latest mix.
Norman Nodge plays Room 2 at Fabric on Saturday 2nd May, alongside Terry Francis, Black Asteroid and Gareth Wild. Tickets and more info here.
BERGHAIN 06 (Ostgut Ton)
It’s easy to lapse into journalistic boilerplate when talking about Norman Nodge: ‘Lawyer and family man by day, DJ and Berghain resident by night, the man seems to live the sort of ‘double-life’ more often seen in comic-book fiction’. PR wonks LOVE this stuff. None of that really matters, however, if you just want to know what sort of music he plays.
The mix starts in tense and auspicious fashion, with a screechy and synthy ambient workout from unknown(s) Birds Two Cage before a brash, percussive shakedown from Oni Ayhun sets the dark but jacking mood that permeates the rest of the mix. Nodge knows how to guide the listener, steadily building up to bigger, made-for-Berghain tracks like Ctrls’ Socket by stepping-up through several, less-intense gears like Mokira’s Manipulation. He’s delivered what you might expect from a Berghain set: some nods to Detroit and UK techno, flawless mixing and sensible selections, a pounding peak somewhere near the middle and more melodic tracks towards the end. There is one slight curveball in Legowelt’s beautiful remix of Xosar, reminding everyone that Berghain music can incorporate melody (sometimes), but this is the lone exception to what is an otherwise pretty formulaic (if expertly crafted) big-room warm-up set for people who are already fans.
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Words: Robert Bates