Berlin’s legendary Berghain club, the subject of a fascinating new in-depth Rolling Stone feature, is one of the few music venues in the world to have its own mythology. Berlin residents and visitors alike trade tales of Berghain’s notoriously strict door policy, intimidating bouncers and reputation for sexual debauchery, but nothing is more important to the club’s fame and identity than the music that throbs within its walls.
Berghain has developed a distinct and recognizable aesthetic through the output of its record label, Ostgut Ton, and the stylistic proclivities of its resident DJs. In broad strokes, the term “Berghain techno” might refer to strains of austere, stripped-down techno with rigid kick drums and and a sense of deep, trippy introspection that often taps into dark or creepy moods. The club’s upstairs space, called Panorama Bar, offers more playful and house-oriented fare. The DJs there favor brighter sounds, soulful vocals and are more influenced by disco. Of course, we wouldn’t want to speak for the nightclub in defining its own style, so thankfully, Berghain speaks for itself: In 2005, Ostgut Ton launched the Berghain mixed CD series, and the following year it issued the first Panorama Bar mixtape to capture the sound of a night in the Berlin stronghold.
Below, though, are our picks for tracks that best represent the Berghain sound. So take a listen, and imagine what it might be like to hear this music at chest-thumping volumes while dancing inside a former power station with people having sex in the shadows, and a long line of hopeful would-be revelers outside, hoping to join the party.
1. Marcel Dettman, “Allies”
2. Ben Klock “Subzero” (Function-Regis Remix)
3. Head High,”Rave” (Dirt Mix)
4. Murat Tepeli “Forever” (Prosumer’s Hold Me Touch Me Remix)
5. DJ Gregory “Attend 1”
6. Planetary Assault Systems “Kat”
7. Roman Lindau “Raumgestaltung”
8. Norman Nodge “MDR 03”
9. Nick Hoppner “ISP”
10. DVS1 “Pressure”
11. STL “Silent State”
12. Floorplan “Chord Principle”
13. Function “Disaffected”
14. Paranoid London, “Paris Dub 1”
15. Oracy “Family Day”