It’s hard to imagine the techno scene, specifically in Berlin, without Ellen Allien. For more than 20 years, the DJ, BPitch Control label founder, and sportswear designer has been one of the defining artists of global music culture and her hometown’s de facto ambassador. It is perhaps fitting, then, to find her in a nostalgic mood for her city, her music, and her place in history. Her new (and seventh) album, Nost—short for nostalgia—has a cohesive and holistic feel to it, capturing techno’s restless permutations over the last 30 years and Ellen’s riffs on them.
Among the standouts on Nost is “Stormy Memories,” an acid-dipped stomper, bookended by an emotive intro reprised in the outro. The track opens with a moody melody evocative of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It sets up a mysterious and alluring vibe that’s infused with acid wiggles and throbs, along with shifting syncopation that swirls into a haunting crescendo. In the beginning, the track’s melody feels like a greeting. By the end, Ellen has worked us over so deeply, it feels more like a secret password. As she told Insomniac, “‘Stormy Memories’ is about stormy love stories—it starts like a dream and becomes a journey.” Sounds like love and dancing to us.
Available May 12 via BPitch Control.
Buy Ellen Allien’s Nost LP here.