Editors’ Notes In March 2020, Ellen Allien was feeling rested. She was fresh off a North American tour; she’d managed to squeeze in a few rare vacation days in Tulum, Mexico. Then, just days after her return to Berlin, the novel coronavirus triggered the closure of clubs around the world, and she found herself forced into an involuntary vacation—her first significant stretch away from the decks in almost 30 years. “That week I felt very physical,” she tells Boiler Room Radio. “I needed to move.” To cope, she and her housemate cued up high-energy DJ sets and worked out, “just one-hour hardcore sport at home, sweating,” she says. So when Boiler Room asked the Bpitch Control founder to contribute to the Streaming From Isolation series, she decided, “I want to make a DJ set for sweaty people. Jumping [at] home, cleaning [at] home—some energy, no romantic tracks, just physical music.”

Recording on four decks in her Berlin studio, barefoot and surrounded by thousands of records, Allien delivers just that: 82 minutes of stark, storming techno, the kind of thing you might experience at Tresor or Berghain at 5 am. This is Allien in full take-no-prisoners mode, dealing out punishing acid from Emmanuel Top, old-school rave from Rhythm Section, and trance-infused fast techno from contemporary Berlin producer Narciss. Of course, even her hardest sets are full of sly curveballs; here, that means a dramatic remix of John Maus’ “Cop Killer,” of all things. Then, after nearly an hour and a half of heart-in-mouth energy, she closes with Liquid’s 1992 anthem “Sweet Harmony,” a track she remembers playing back in the day at Berlin’s legendary E-Werk. Moments of catharsis don’t come much more ecstatic. The result was a kind of therapy for Allien. Even though she was locked down and self-isolating, she says, “I put the music on and I feel like I’m surrounded by people, because I’m used to it.”

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