Ben Rau is part of the fabric of Berlin nightlife, an experienced selector and producer with an identity of his own.
Flying the flag for house music in a city dominated by techno, this has led him to drive the sound forwards, perennially remaining at the cutting edge of house innovation.
Whether it's via his recently digitalised imprints META and INKA or his continually in-demand DJ sets, Ben Rau is pursuing a highly individual agenda.
Clash spoke to him for our column Starter For Five - the best ways to open out a DJ set...
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Ben Rau - 'What Is Love'
I made this track about two years ago and after signing it to another label, it wasn’t released for a long time so I pulled the plug and put it on Inkal. It was the right decision as I feel it is some of my best work.
The bassline of this track was sequenced with an arturia beatstep triggering my 1978 Roland SH2 Bass Synthesizer. The track has been road tested extensively and has my trademark glitchy percussion sounds in the deep pads, and reversed chords give it a mellow warm feel that juxtapose the rumbling bass and hard kick.
It is out on September 13th - try it in a warm up set.
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Politics Of Dancing & Sun Archive - 'Track 2'
This has been a staple in all my sets all through the summer. Lush chords a whispered vocal and a bouncy bassline.
The Politics Of Dancing Guys are good friends, Guillaume and David's label is guaranteed quality every time, this release is part of the POD X series where they collaborate with an artist and the results are always fresh and interesting.
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Nima Gorji - 'Good Night Stories'
Nima is an old friend, he's been around for a long time and successfully reinvented himself again and again , this one is a real deep groover that still has the right amount of pressure to get the floor moving.
This track came out on Okain's Talmann records, Okain is also an old friend and his label is really fantastic with quality releases for four years now. These are the kind of artists that sustain the scene. They create great no-nonsense house music with depth and credibility.
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Archie Hamilton - 'Quicksand'
I drop this one when it's time to pick up the pace , Archie's productions are incredibly groovy and usually have the memorable elements I look for in a track.
The bassline is really warm on this track and the standing string is a sound that I love in my own productions too, Archie is massive now and rightfully so because he delivers these kind of gems with lots of detail and high quality production.
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Chris Stussy and Toman - 'What U Do'
Amazing hooky production here from two rising stars, this one came out on my label Meta and it did very well - we knew it was a hit because of the crowd reactions. I try to sign music like this with recognisable elements, hooks that stay in your mind, if it hasn't got hooks it can be a very useful tool but not a hit record.
Of course not every record has to be a hit but I want every EP to at least have one track that will stay in people's minds at the end of the night. Sometimes I'm baffled that a lot of house producers don't even know what a hook is and a lot of music I get send are essentially tools just beats and basslines.
This track has it all and that's why it did so well.
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Ben Rau's 'Out There' will be released on September 13th via Inkal.
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