Various Artists: SUB:STANCE / 072008 072013 – album reviewSUB:STANCE / 072008 072013 (SUB:STANCE)

Vinyl Only

Out Now


To celebrate the fifth (and final) anniversary of the SUB:STANCE night at legendary Berlin club Berghain, the label have released this, a collection of seven exclusive tracks by artists who have been central to its sound and identity throughout its successful run, and my oh my what a collection it is writes Louder Than War’s Simon Tucker.

Appleblim’s Darkest Red opens proceedings. A deep, internal Techno cut, Darkest Red uses slight whispers and traces of sound that flicker in and out of earshot making the mind question ever hearing it at all. This is as pure as Techno gets with a gloriously bouncy percussion feel. Oh, and like a Marvel movie, you should stay right to the end.

SUB:STANCE head honcho Scuba is up next under his SCB moniker with Closer. An anti-hero House number, there is a very misleading lightness of touch overlaying the cut but when the vocal starts whispering in your ear, it’s the aural equivalent of the friend we all have that we know we shouldn’t spend time with as we will inevitably end up in trouble but we just can’t resist their charms and the excitement of danger.

When, after these first two tracks, you get a sense of where this compilation is taking you, Addison Groove steps up and slaps you right across your contented chops with Forgiven, a track so heavy, unsettling, and just plain great, that it will make you feel like you’re a child again and are hearing someone swear for the first time on TV.

This track is an absolute belter. It would be unfair to just label it in with the dubstep genre as then many people will approach it expecting the current radio-friendly dubstep (yapping cocker spaniel bass et al), and it is so very different from that style.

Forgiven is an exercise in pure control by a producer. The track has a beast of a stop start rhythm that many producers would use just as a build before the inevitable drop into a lighter territory, not Addison Groove though. He holds and holds you until you are blue in the face gasping for air… then continues to hold until you pass out.



Trevino – Tracer is an excellent cut to follow Forgiven as it starts off as a bit of a standard affair before getting heavier and heavier, taking us further down the rabbit hole. Concrete slabs of bass beat you into submission and be warned that turning off this tune quickly may give you a case of the bends

Scuba’s August follows and is a more traditional Electro type tune which contains a gorgeous female vocal that takes the tune to it’s climax in an euphoric manner.

All Night Long by Jon Osborn is a smooth slice of hypnotic Techno that has a more classic feel to it and is a nice penultimate track. Especially as Memory Hole by Martyn is the closer.

Memory Hole has a nice Skull Disco feel to it and starts very bouncy and light before building and building layers until we reach an avant-garde climax, all Beefheart Techno and off kilter whip-bang rhythm.

This compilation is a piece of pure Electro genius. It sums up perfectly the outer-reaches of bass music, making it a must for fans of purist electronica or those willing to dip their toes into the murky water that is non-radio friendly bass music.

If this was what the nights at Berghain sounded like, and if there are to be no more SUB:STANCE nights there, then those that had managed to attend such nights were extremely blessed and lucky indeed.

SUB:STANCE can be found on Facebook here.

All words by Simon Tucker. For more of Simon’s writings for Louder Than War click here. You can also follow him on Twitter @simontucker1979.

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Raised by music obsessive parents on a diet of Ska, Bowie, Queen… and the Bay City Rollers. Discovered dance music and heavy metal at the same time making for a strange brew of taste. I do this for the love of an art form which welcomes all types and speaks to us all. Find me on twitter @simontucker1979.


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