Fadi Mohem – “MOHEM 03” (MOHEM) [February 1, 2024]

The third installment to his trifecta features another club-ready Dub Techno cut on the A side with “Process”, while Fadi dives deeper into dubby abyss on the B side with “Recess.”

Techno and Dub Reggae at their elemental cores share a foundational philosophy that drum rhythms and sub-frequencies on powerful sound systems are not only good for making bodies move, but also have a deeper, more fundamental function of altering our consciousness and positively uplifting our souls. Dub, much like Techno, demonstrates how to create presence in the absence of musical elements, or as Mozart said, “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.”

Dub Techno as a genre begins its origin story with Berlin-based duo Basic Channel and Detroit Minimal Techno producers like Robert Hood or Rod Modell (Deepchord). One of the members of Basic Channel, Mark Ernestus opened a record store in Berlin in the early 90s called Hardwax, which specializes in Techno, electronic music, and also in particular—Dub Reggae. Although the other member of Basic Channel—Moritz Von Oswald—says there was no direct intent to mimic the sound of Dub Reggae on their productions (except for maybe Rhythm & Sound), the two genres nevertheless share similar sonic characteristics—chords soaked in spring-tank and plate reverb, trippy tape delay, and mixing the tracks “live” on the console with little to no rearranging using computer software (which is all-too common practice in modern music production).

Fadi Mohem is one of the most recent rising stars in the Berlin Techno scene and a Berghain resident that carries the torch for the early Dub / Minimal Techno sound by making tracks that would likely make the Basic Channel boys blush with admiration. Clearly, the connection is a strong one, considering Hardwax is the exclusive distributor of all his MOHEM vinyl releases.

Fadi wins again here on “MOHEM 03”; the energetic stomper “Process” on the A-side feels like the soundtrack to careening down the autobahn on a foggy, moonlight night. The B-side track, “Recess,” at first sounds deceptively restrained, but it’s not hard to imagine hearing the low, thudding kick drum standing in the queue outside Berghain.

Once past the infamous door, the thundering sound of the Funktion One Soundsystem slowly grows louder and louder while passing the garderobe, with the chord stabs echoing like an entrancing yet synthetic siren call from the main room above. After slowly climbing the main staircase and entering the dancefloor, suddenly it all makes sense. How can something sound so massive and loud if there isn’t simultaneously a sense of space and silence? Caught up in this sudden wave of introspection, the trance-like-rhythms, the intermittent pulses of strobes then complete darkness, Fadi somehow dilates time. Almost 16 minutes pass while locked in his hypnotic grooves—then almost without waning—Friday night turns into Monday morning.

Don’t forget to go home, and be sure to hit the gelato bar before heading out. 

-Alex Dahm

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