house \haus \ n + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n
Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine: TOC | Werkschau
“Love is here or on its way.” The opening greeting for BPitch Control’s debut label compilation, these words—sung by Irish minimal techno artist Cormac on “The Present”—serve not only as an introduction to the release but also to the label as a whole. One of Germany’s premier electronic music imprints, BPitch Control’s primary output falls somewhere between house and techno, but this comprehensive release serves as a statement—or better yet, a love letter—to synthesized sound in all its forms.
Founded in 1999, it’s hard to believe this is the label’s first attempt to sum itself up in one neat package, yet BPitch has done just that (with the added challenge of selecting entirely from unreleased cuts). Contributions come from new artists and old, from Europe, North and South America and, musically, they span from dark tech workouts to playful electro-pop.
Showcasing BPitch’s foundational influences, label head Ellen Allien puts her own offering front and center. A vintage house stomper, “The Kiss” is a direct descendant of the soundtrack she would have heard during her career-starting all-nighters in Germany’s early acid clubs. Only a few tracks later, multi-instrumentalist TimTim sheds light on the spectrum displayed here. “How We Moove” marries a jittery electronic framework with lush songwriting and left me wishing all electro-pop sounded as good as this.
Progressing through the disc, Werkschau brilliantly connects the dots between the artists working within BPitch’s nurturing community. Sascha Funke freshens up the deep side of dance on “Hiddensee,” Kiki and Lenz break down the divide between techno’s mechanics and house’s organics on “Morning Maniacs,” and Paul Kalkbrenner, an early supporter of the label, turns in the release’s most uplifting moment with “Plätscher,” a dreamy Balearic piece.
By the time the dense electronica of “The Sky Is Black” by Chicago’s own Telefon Tel Aviv closes things out I am more inclined to translate werkschau—which means showcase—as labor of love, which is clearly what the BPitch Control family is all about.
—Joshua P. Ferguson