Fabric 66 – Ben Klock: A Reflection


‘The Berghain Sound’ has become something of a catchphrase over the past few years. Commonly attributed to the stripped-back and industrial techno commonly heard in the eponymous Berlin club, one may be forgiven for expecting Ben Klock to deliver a tight if predictable mix, at least in terms of content, for his latest contribution to the illustrious Fabric series. However, Klock’s refusal to conform to these expectations may take some slightly unawares, but for me it merely confirmed what I suspected all along.

Going on the precedent set by the Berghain resident’s previous official mix, recorded for the club he has become so closely allied with, this expectation may not be completely unwarranted. The mix remains one of my favourites, meticulously crafting and maintaining an atmosphere of intensity, becoming a talisman for the aforementioned ‘Berghain Sound’. But even before one starts listening to Fabric 66, a mere glance at the track listing suggests that this mix is a completely different affair. Burial? Trevino? Whilst there are a glut of names we would no doubt associate with Klock, including the likes of Planetary Assault Systems, Marcel Dettmann and superb new material from his own label Klockworks from DVS1, there’s a couple of potential curveballs that some may not expect.
Indeed, the sense of playfulness and melody laced throughout the mix is not something one would readily associate with the distinctly austere and serious brand of techno affiliated with the Berlin native, with the straight techno tracks seemingly utilised to increase the impact of tracks such as the euphoric ‘Never Grow Old’ and ‘Chord Principle’, created by Robert Hood under his Floorplan alias. The juxtaposition of extended periods of rolling techno punctuated by these melodic bursts certainly creates an interesting dynamic and makes for compelling listening.
Perhaps this sense of playfulness is attributable to the mix’s relation to Fabric as a club, with a variety of moments throughout seemingly indebted to the rich history in electronic music that London and Britain as a whole has to offer. As well as the obvious 2-step flirtations of Burial’s classic ‘Raver’, a personal highlight is Klock’s own remix of Josh Wink’s ‘Are You There’, heavily influenced by the rave culture, which was so prominent in the UK in the early 90s through its marriage of skittering breakbeats with an irresistible acid bassline. This is certainly a mix designed with Fabric in mind rather than a generic collection of tracks that could be applied to any client.
Of course, it would be unrealistic for me to state that this is some sort of Oneman-esque chameleon of a mix, it certainly isn’t. There’s certainly enough to satisfy techno buffs hoping for a serious minimal workout, and this does, and arguably should, constitute the meat of Fabric 66. However, what truly resonates throughout the mix is the element of surprise that Klock deftly employs to challenge the listener’s own preconceptions of him as a DJ. But, for anyone who’s seen him perform live, are these ‘surprises’ really that surprising? Klock has always managed to include a variety of electronic music that extends far past minimal techno, with this mix further acting to corroborate my suspicions that the ‘Berghain Sound’ tag is merely a symptom of the modern obsession for labels, facilitating the incessant urge to categorise dance music. If Fabric 66 is anything to go by, Klock is surely not far from shrugging of the shackles of this inhibiting association. 
Be in with a chance of winning a copy of Fabric 66 by emailing comps@theransomnote.co.uk with KLOCKERS as the subject header. Oh, and check out the excellent promo vid for it below, too. Bonne chance!