Record Review by Adam McKibbin
Boo hoo, Thrills isn’t Berlinette. Instead of making the same album twice, and instead of regurgitating past sunshine or pandering to a mainstream that tends to snub electronic music, Ellen Allien has retreated back inside a purist’s mentality and given us an album that’s futuristic, forbidding, and seldom warm and cuddly.
On a difficulty scale, it may be more daunting to make techno palatable for resistant audiences than to make a more vintage-sounding album that appeals more to the genre’s entrenched fans. But Allien has put in her time as an electronic ambassador—through her own work, her mixes, and her label (BPitch Control). She’s more than earned the right to kick it old school. And so she does throughout Thrills.
Like most any genre of music, techno has its purveyors who signify nothing, or at least next to nothing. Allien occupies the other end of the spectrum, where repetitive throbs belching beats and vaporous vocals serve as a way to communicate the artist’s worldview. Sometimes the elements collide; “Your Body Is My Body” mixes a traditional rave-up with a guttural, menacingly mechanical beat that conjures up assembly lines and furnaces that need feeding.
Any entreaties to pop music are left mostly minimalized, as on “Cloudy City” and “Ghost Train,” back-to-back tracks that are responsible for the album’s only half-lull. Both tracks are built on great beats, but end up feeling somewhat undercooked. “Down,” with its peppy beat and airy refrain of “Don’t break me down,” is the ripest offering for those who are typically turned away by any repetition or coldness.
And since the lines between man and machine aren’t getting any clearer, Allien is launching a fashion line so at least you can be a good-looking robotman or robotlady as you head off to the club, simultaneously alarmed and innervated by the city around you.
Ellen Allien - Interview 
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Interview
Ellen Allien - Boogybytes Vol. 04
Ellen Allien - Time Out presents The Other Side Berlin
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Ghostly International (V/A) - Idol Tryouts Two
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The DFA - Remixes: Chapter One