Tabs Out | „DJ VLK” – Ballermann Partykeller

„DJ VLK” – Ballermann Partykeller

2.4.20 by Ryan Masteller

I didn’t know what Schlager music was exactly until “Ballermann Partykeller” came across my desk and I was forced to write about it. I still don’t know what “Ballermann” means other than that it’s a subgenre of Schlager music … I think? I’m not exactly teeming in worldly references here. I may have to leave this up to the Germans themselves. (And I throw my hands up in defeat as a person with mostly German background.)

Of all the things I just said, “being forced to write about” “Ballermann Partykeller” was by far the most egregious lie, as I do this for fun, guys, c’mon. Also, anytime a Strategic Tape Reserve release hits my mailbox, I know I’m in for an amazing treat. The Cologne-based label’s concepts are second to none, and whether or not they’re actually serious (impossible to tell – you can’t get past that stoic Teutonic façade!), they make me giggle just a little bit inside. The deadly dry presentation of both product and commentary is a hallmark of the label, whose wry witticisms pepper their online presence with a sturdy thoughtfulness that belies its depth.

„DJ VLK,” fully quotation-mark’d to ensure separation from plain-old VLK, appears here in Balearic party mode, ready to rock whatever cellar everybody’s gathering at. Here the tunes are strung together, warped, destroyed, mixed, layered and stretched until they barely resemble their original Schalgeristic forms. „DJ VLK” is a plunderer of phonics, a student of styles, and a master arranger of disparate hits till they bend and conform to whatever it is that constitutes the „DJ VLK” way. And yet the party is mild one – there’s no four-on-the-floor club bangers or strobed rave-ups, just chilled head-noddage interspersed with sound-collage snippets. It really is like Strategic Tape Reserve is suggesting you have your own party for yourself in your own basement, maybe even without anybody else around.

That’s OK. These two long mixes have something to do with “beer kings” and “Ham Street,” two (probably) very German references. These are things close at hand, beer and ham, and these are things that can enhance a party, especially one of your own making and for you alone. And Mallorca is actually pretty far away at the moment, so we’re at the mercy of what our minds return to us after ingesting the stimulus. Still, the incredibly European acid-lite ethereal dance jams that „DJ VLK” runs through the PA closes that distance, brings us into contact with a cultural phenomenon that we’re probably not going to get any closer to than we are right now, on our couch. At least that’s how I feel, old, tired, and in pajamas, not looking for anything other than some sort of cerebral musical experience.

Oh, look at that MS Paint cover! (That’s not „DJ VLK,” by the way.)

Edition of 30 from Strategic Tape Reserve. Brilliant release, as always.

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