Various – Panorama Bar 05: Steffi (Ostgut Ton)

Of all of the artists associated with the esteemed Panorama Bar, one thing that makes Steffi stand out from the crowd is her marked emphasis on the contemporary sounds of house and techno. Whereas previous mixes in the mix series associated with the club have had a distinctive flavour of the past marbled throughout their runtime, particularly in the offerings from Tama Sumo and Prosumer, Panorama Bar 05 is situated firmly in the present. Rather than reach through the annals of time to establish forgotten gems in a modern context, Steffi’s latest addition to a consistently superb series delivers few surprises, which needn’t be a bad thing.

In a scene with a propensity to be driven by one-upmanship and the ability to exhibit your vast knowledge of music, the track selection in Panorama Bar 05 is reassuringly familiar. A quick glance over the tracklisting reveals some of the biggest names in modern ‘underground’ house, with there being a distinct lack of real surprises. Exclusives from luminaries Fred P and Juju & Jordash succinctly demarcate the Dutchwoman’s decision to err towards the established rather than the burgeoning, which was rather surprising and, to an extent, initially off-putting.

But this trepidation melts away the moment the dubbed-out pads of Redshape alias Palisade’s ’18:30′ ring out. From the off, the mix oozes maturity and restraint, relying on subtle progression and gradual blending of styles to create a cohesive narrative, rather than exhibit flashy turntablism and obvious ‘wow’ moments. Admittedly the mix is a slow burner, offering little that grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck and demands attention, except perhaps in the raw disco meanderings of John Barera & Will Martin and DJ Fett Burger at the half-way point, but you suspect this was never the intention.

Despite this subdued approach to the mix, the results are never underwhelming, with Steffi managing to represent a deceptively large array of styles. From the blissed-out Detroit synth stabs and playful cowbells of Big Strick’s ‘Hayday’ to the upfront offering ‘DB011’ from Steffi herself, it’s only in retrospect that one can observe the disparity between some of the tracks and truly appreciate the journey.

Panorama Bar 05 represents a DJ completely at ease with her own artistic vision, resisting the urge to rely on the element of surprise to carry the mix and instead delivering what any good mix should be: a collection of superb tracks blended together in a compelling fashion.

Panorama Bar 05 is out now.

Patrick Henderson

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