Ellen Allien
Berlinette


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
January 23rd, 2011 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


“Allien”, there’s a fitting last name. Say it aloud: “ah-li-en”. It’s the familiar word “alien” said with a throaty German accent. Ellen Allien, on Berlinette, displays her own alien brand of techno music, and it comes packaged with her own approximation of vocal Bjork-isms; a deep, straight-faced, robotic yawn-sing--and yes, with a German accent--that is often cut up into its own percussive breaks. Though she makes vastly different music from the two, she’s comparable to Radiohead and Animal Collective in that she essentially takes the “alien” and the foreign and transforms it into something recognizable--sometimes, even danceable.

The most comprehensive example of this lies in the opening and best track, “Alles Sehen”. On this track, Allien utilizes a strange sort of toyish drum loop and slowly expands it into an unexpectedly melodic beat, her breathy vocals in the forefront. The experience is similar to hearing something like Merriweather Post Pavilion’s “In the Flowers” bloom into something exciting and beautiful out of seemingly nothing.

The main problem with Berlinette, then, is that it almost overutilizes the potential thrills of this strange/song dichotomy, where small, unmusical motifs are constantly being expanded into similar slices of minimal techno. Sometimes, a song’s blossoming will be just fine on its own but less impressive in the context of the surrounding tracks; other times, the songs never really feel full and are missing crucial aspects of Allien’s best tracks (the aforementioned “Alles Sehen,” “Sehnsucht,” “Augenblick”): a good melody, an engrossing rhythm, a general sense of motion. A few of the tracks simply go nowhere.

Despite this, Berlinette is, for the most part, a very exciting listen and one that displays a musician with a keen ear for hearing hidden melodies and rhythms in odd places. When done right, this can lead to an exciting sense of exploring the outer limits of music. When done wrong, it just sounds like Allien is skewing actual good dance music (you know, the kind that you can dance to) in favor of “experimental” ethos.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
related reviews

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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2011


15080 Comments


wrote this in like five min

hoorah

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 23rd 2011


10663 Comments


It shows....


Jk, review is good, pos. This really doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

jeremologyy
January 23rd 2011


274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i must've missed the greatness in Berlinette. i much prefer her barely-there "Sool". i think that record is flawless.

WashboardSuds
January 23rd 2011


5043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

about time this got a reviw, i was going to do it if no one else did,
but yours is better than the one i had in mind, pos'd

i always thought her name was actually pronouced like "alien"

Digging: Zodiac (VASE) - Zodiac

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2011


15080 Comments


it probably is

i just used a sort of out-there comparison

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011


10579 Comments


you know what really irks me are reviews and ratings that don't match

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011


15080 Comments


like as in the content of the review doesnt match the 3.5

or the 3.5 doesnt match the 3

Yotimi
January 24th 2011


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album's pretty good. You heard her work with Apparat on the album Orchestra of Bubbles? It's her best work by far

WashboardSuds
January 24th 2011


5043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album's pretty good. You heard her work with Apparat on the album Orchestra of Bubbles? It's her best work by far

Hey you're right. Thats better than her non-collaborated records IMO

are you gonna review OoB Yotimi? I may and may not, my feelings need more time to soak. My fav tracks are Way Out, Jet, Turbo Dreams and Edison. Retina i have mixed feelings about

Yotimi
January 24th 2011


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not much of a reviewer so if I did it wouldn't be for a while. So go for it. All great songs you mentioned - I'd add Metric as a favorite

WashboardSuds
January 24th 2011


5043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

alright, cool. but I too will need a bit of time
Metric is a good violin-y song, better than Retina's violin work imo

how about this record, did you listen to it at all? what do you think of it?

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


10579 Comments


your rating is a 3 yet the review is a 3.5

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


15080 Comments


oh

well

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2011


10579 Comments


my head hurts alex thanks a lot

Yotimi
January 26th 2011


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

seriously though guys check out Orchestra of Bubbles.

Typhoner
March 16th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm with the potato on this one. A few tracks are lots of fun, some aren't.

Digging: Clarity - Infinite

scissorlocked
March 16th 2013


3511 Comments


she has a new album out that's probably great

Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

Typhoner
March 16th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep, was about to check it out.

Yotimi
March 16th 2013


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Orchestra of Bubbles is still her best but this has grown on me

Typhoner
March 16th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Orchestra of Bubbles is indeed great, which one of her (or Apparat) is closest to that one?

This one is fun but a bit unbalanced.



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