Various Artists
BPC Camping Compilation 03
2007
B-



here's what you need to know, if you don't already: growlingly-hip Berlin label BPitch Control (pronounced "bitch control") is run by icy techno queen Ellen Allien (pronounced "ellen alien") and propagates toothsome techno tunes that often veer into odd directions, replete with chunky breaks, idiosyncratic influences, and unique (i.e. silly or strange) vocal stylings. While there's more than enough teutonic trance and minimal boing-boom-tschak on BPC to satisfy your average electro-phile, Allien and her stable of freaky misfits are more at home flipping the script than sticking to the formula.

Camping 3 most definitely startles right off the top, opening as it does with Jahcoozi's "BLN" (which is obviously an answer song to "LDN," duh). It's a tough pill to choke down as appetizer, strong on stuttering clip-hop beats and dorky-smarmy rapping, weak on anything resembling a worthy tune or a groove. It's also deeply atypical, which is probably for the best. Thankfully, Tomas Andersson's funky, funny "Go to Disco" bridges the gap nicely into Sascha Funke's aptly-titled "I Love This Tent," a slinky downtempo stunner with glossy ambient touches that makes you want to hide out on a bean bag underneath the speaker and slip into someone more comfortable. It reveals (to their credit) the old-school baggy rave kids hiding beneath the ultra-modern fronts of the BPitch crew, and charms a wicked smile out of tired listeners thankful to escape the veneer of minimal austerity.

Not everything on Camping 3 is as off-putting or engaging, but there's very little here that won't provoke some kind of reaction. Sylvie Marks & Hal 9000 weigh in with the dreamy 4AD-house of "Strahlen," while Timtim turns in a campy slice of sleaze with "You Sexy Beast," proving that weird and lusty are neither mutually exclusive nor restricted to androgyne Brits with dyed red hair. Stripped-down bubble-popping electro-house gets its due 'round the middle of the disc, when Paul Kalkbrenner and Zander VT compete with anodyne-yet-pumping tracks that foment a solid enough churn only to have Feadz blow them out of the water with "Cloches," a sinister, throbbing synth-serpent of a tune that someone in Belgium is most definitely freaking out to right now.

Safety Scissors risk that whole song-title-better-than-actual-song situation with "Where Is Germany and How Do I Get There," presented here as a remix by Ms. Allien herself. Luckily, the track pleasingly winds down dark alleys and hidden corners to suggest that Germany has been found and it's actually really kind of scary. The collection winds down with a quartet of aces: Larsson's dubby, disco-flipping "Off Voices" and Ben Klock's clean, percussive rattler "Similar Colors" round out the dancefloor-friendly tracks with aplomb, while Ellen Allien & Apparat mop up alongside guest artist Fairmont during the inevitable schizophrenic pseudo-ambient freakout at closing time.

For those not accustomed to the wooly hinterlands of German electronic music, there are tracks on Camping 3 that might be a bridge too far—the aforementioned "BLN" and Modeselektor's deutschelander-ragga squall are certainly not the selections to impress your Kompakt-referencing hipster friends with. But most of what's on tap here is more forward-thinking than truly bent: BPitch have recognized that their strength lies in diversity, and have accordingly delivered fourteen (totally exclusive) tracks that are more interested in playing with multiple camera angles than zooming in for some prima donna's dancefloor close-up. So, there you have it: BPitch Control is a real honest-to-gosh label, with a wide (wild) array of talent, run by someone sensitive to the staidness and mediocrity of most electronic music and quick to supply an answer. To wit: keep it fun, keep it weird, and rave 'til dawn. Nice.



Reviewed by: Mallory O’Donnell
Reviewed on: 2007-04-06
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