Nick Höppner Work Ostgut Ton
Having stepped aside from being the Ostgut Ton label head in 2012, Nick Höppner’s increased dedication to his own productions culminated with 2015’s Folk, his debut full-length release. Folk embraced the forward momentum of a pulsating club culture; one that Höppner – a Panorama Bar regular – has worked to forge and sustain. It was progressive, yet rhythmically and melodically accessible, as if to eradicate the perceived elitism and leave the doors to the party ajar for all of techno’s tender-footed strangers to step through.
Here, Höppner further projects Folk‘s welcoming narrative. Clean Living w/ Tram 78, a track influenced by a recent re-encounter with an old friend, swills with Larry Heard-esque synth pads and jubilant handclaps. Conversely, The Dark Segment decelerates the pace, adopting elements of dub and muddied ambience. Stylistic variation such as this was only alluded to in the past. Now, it takes precedence. Höppner experiments with live instrumentation on There Is A Charm, which features the duo Randweg on clarinet, cajón and acoustic guitar. And while the track leans towards the more emotive and affectionate realm of indie-house, it also fails to work in coherence with what precedes it.
As an ambassador for house and techno’s past, present and future, Höppner is integral to the culture’s direction and its reputation beyond that of Berlin’s proverbially gated territory. With Work, he endeavours to develop and push the discourse forward. And while the record sometimes falls short of Höppner’s own lofty standards, it certainly demonstrates his firm control of house experimentation.