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Ellen Allien - My Parade

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Artist: Ellen Allien

Album: My Parade

Label: Bpitch Control

Review date: Nov. 22, 2004

BPitch Control label head and DJ Ellen Allien’s latest full-length mix My Parade is certainly more varied than any purist would be able to stomach, with beats that range from playful to pummeling. Electro gazes proudly over the stuttering breaks and swooping sine waves dotting the disc’s 50-minute landscape, though house and techno certainly get a look, too. Unlike so many other artists, however, Allien’s intensely personal take on electronic music isn’t defined (or dominated) by the electro aesthetic. They simply have a lot in common.

The not-so-secret theme of My Parade is acid house; the disc opens with two late-’80s/early-’90s tracks (the “club vocal” mix of Midi Rain’s “Always” and Dr Feelx’s “Relax Your Body”) with lyrics referring to the genre’s early hits “I Feel Love” and “Move Your Body,” respectively. Allien’s 1989 stint living in England and subsequent dance epiphany is well documented and informs her work to this day. That said, it’s amazing how much the other tracks on My Parade have in common with the first two, despite the fact that they come from different sub-genres. Allien has ears open enough to absorb the freaky chill of Step Time Orchestra’s “Fancy Theme” and CJ Bolland’s hard, stomping “Mantra,” not to mention the skill to get there in six moves. It’s particularly refreshing to hear a label head be so laissez faire, when many of her contemporaries continue to plough tinier and tinier furrows in the interest of brand-building.

This year was the first year since its inception in 1989 that there was no Love Parade held in Berlin, hence the title of the mix. I was lucky enough to have been in the city in July during “Love Week” and attended some of the best parties of my life. Without a doubt, the most amazing aspect of those days was the verve and openness that Berliners brought to the scene, regardless of any letdown they might have been feeling. At the risk of sounding trite, My Parade really does capture the qualities that make Berlin first among clubbing capitals. It is a cosmopolitan mix like the city itself, held together with nothing but love.

By Dave Morris

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