Masse Box


The Masse Box comprises the album Masse and the three remix EPs from DIN, Dettmann/Wiedemann and Henrik Schwarz in one set. It contains the CD in a 6-panel digipak and three 12" vinyl singles in three separate covers. The CD and vinyl are housed in a luxurious case made from 800 g/m2 carton with a matte foil lamination and a partial UV spot gloss decoration. The box is released as a limited edition of 500. The CD: A whole evening of contemporary dance which has been set up by three different choreographers is in need of three different sound producers. That's the set-up of Masse, the sound underlying the gesamtkunstwerk (trans. the entirely of a work of art). Masse as a whole event has been triggered by renowned state ensemble Staatsballett Berlin and Club Berghain right in the center of the German capital. Plus, there's even more to it: The Staatsballett and Berghain access new territory by staging Masse at the huge "Halle am Berghain," a former combined heat and power station next to the club. The painter Norbert Bisky was chosen to create the stage design. At the core of the dance night lies a triptych made out of pure sound: the music of Henrik Schwarz, Dettmann/Wiedemann and DIN was taken as the starting point for developing the choreographies. Henrik Schwarz opens his suite with "Unknown Touch," a dense exposition made from acoustic guitars and pizzicato strings floating in the atmosphere. The subsequent tracks let the bass lines wander amongst throbbing electrified guitars, both characterized by their clearly structured arrangements. Creating a narrative break, a synthesizer cuts into the groovy moves of "But Then I'm Different," accompanied by a sighing violin. To top things off in the final track of "Balletsuite #1 -- Masse," a dreamy and summing-up house piano is aired. The solo piano ends with a quiet closing sequence slowing down the keys more and more to a final silent crescendo. Marcel Dettmann & Frank Wiedemann are also close associates of the Ostgut Ton family and are in charge of the second part, "Menuett." Theirs is a 25-minute-long sonic-triptych: "Accelerando" sounds like two space observation centers having a chat, while "Martellato" juggles the filters until the polyrhythm somehow transforms into a circling movement. A syncopated beat and some shrewd filters bring light into "Spiritoso" -- like fundamental electronic research into sound. DIN are Efdemin (Phillip Sollmann) & Marcel Fengler, who created this new alias for Masse. Similar to Dettmann/Wiedemann, the Berlin musicians utilize ever new parts of their machine park to create musical abstractions. Out of the humming virginal cosmos of "Creation" and "Variation," mid-range bass drums take shape until they poke a rattling rhythm pattern. In a similar way, "Oscillation" first takes a bath in the primeval soup until the drums of an unheard-of tribe are arranged by an invisible hand to engineer a gentle, flowing movement. This progression becomes more delicate in "Division" and "Generation," until it unwinds at the stage of "Conclusion" to fade out as a nocturne with an urban touch. Given the different aesthetics of the producers that built Masse, it's an uncanny pleasure to hear how its music as a whole shapes a fine sonic entity.