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Steffi - Panorama Bar 05

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Artist: Steffi

Album: Panorama Bar 05

Label: Ostgut Tonträger

Review date: May. 7, 2013

Inside and upstairs from the main level of the Berlin techno haven Berghain lies the more house-oriented vibes of the Panorama Bar. It is here, among the Wolfgang Tillmans artwork and pore-filling soundsystems lining the old power plant, that Dutchwoman Steffie Doms has mastered her take on house music over the course of more than six years. She is one of the club’s oldest resident DJs and has been especially careful with her output – a glance at her scant discography reveals that it only starts in 2009 with a Levon Vincent b-side in “24 Hours.” Since then, she’s gone about her business helming the Klakson and Dolly labels, as well as releasing debut album Yours & Mine in 2011.

Given the option of a sophomore LP on Ostgut Ton or a mix series for Panorama Bar, Steffi picked the latter as a snapshot to reflect on her time as one of the club’s premier draws. Following Cassy, Tama Sumo, Prosumer, and label boss Nick Höppner, she now sits behind the decks for the thoroughly contemporary Panorama Bar 05. It’s as classy and unassumingly smart as you’d expect: Hardly any tracks predate the last decade and a third of the tracklisting is exclusive to this mix or still forthcoming. There’s a lot to appreciate over its 74 minutes.

There is always a kind of warmth in Steffi’s music and it translates into her love of others’ songs, as well. There’s no time wasted setting the mood with Palisade’s “18:30,” an enveloping white noise luring you in as an echoing conga drum and simple 4/4 hand clap buoy the beat. What at first feels like an uneasy synth to ruin the mood actually just turns out to be Endian’s “Doze.” The exclusives start in from there, first with Big Strick’s “Hayday” and, later, with Fred P, Juju & Jordash, and Steffi herself on the very club-oriented “DB011.” There was some delight around the Dusted offices for Dexter’s “Jawada” in particular, a stirring peak-hours instrumental late in the show that brings to a close the mix’s strongest stretch of six songs, starting with the Juju & Jordash exclusive, “A Stab in the Dark.” Trevino’s “Juan Two Five” is also a surprisingly strong, uptempo conclusion to the mix and a tantalizing hint at how good Steffi is in longer sets — you get the feeling this is just a warm-up for what she can really do when she stretches her DJing legs.

DJ Skull’s 1993 cut “Don’t Stop the Beat” is about as deep as this mix digs, but it’s just as well. Steffi has taken a sensible approach to Panorama Bar 05 and emphasized not what she is, but what she is now. What she is now is an artist who cannot be pigeonholed into deep house this or tech-house that. As the horizons expand, she only seems to get better. Guessing what comes next is a dangerous game, but it certainly feels like something big is on its way, both from her language in describing this mix and from the talent on display here. For now, modesty: Panorama Bar 05 as a snapshot and a memory we’d do well to revisit.

By Patrick Masterson

Other Reviews of Steffi

Yours & Mine

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View all articles by Patrick Masterson

Find out more about Ostgut Tonträger

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