by: Ellen Allien

Released on her own label, the increasingly high-profile Bpitch Control, Ellen Allien's second full-length album is more than just an abandoned fairground of Teutonic rhythms, elastic snares, icy synths, and digital sculpture. Demonstrating her mastery of subtle twitch and unconventional nuance, Allien differentiates herself from the rest of the crystalline microhouse mob with playful, humanist touches and on-a-dime midsong reappraisals. Lead track "Alles Sehen" begins with a throbbing electro beat and a gush of warm house swirls before folding into a twinkling vocal pop coda worthy of Lali Puna; "Push" shifts without notice from a grubby, scampering rhythm to a throbbing industrial lockstep; and "Augenblick" wrings form out of a ball of crinkled textures, machine-spat beats, and tremulous Factory Records guitars. But it's the conceptual overlap and idea overflow of the bittersweet "Wish" that resonate strongest -- over a mournful synth line, a quadruple-timed beatbox, and heavily processed acoustic guitar chugs, Allien daydreams herself out of postwar Berlin: "Need a planet without cars and wars...I wish it could be true." Bitingly fierce, technologically adroit, and curiously poppy, Berlinette marks yet another high point in an already superb year for Germanic techno. ~ Mark Pytlik

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