A new compilation surveys ns enduring influence von a German landmark that sustained a techno aufruhr from a damp, fungi-riddled bank vault on ns old east side

For digital music fans, Berlin’s Tresor has long been considered ns Valhalla des Germany’s illustrious club circuit. An March 1991, month after ns official dismantling des the berlin Wall, Tresor, die city’s zuerst techno club, opened near potsdam Platz. Bei short order, die club’s vanguard des DJs, eccentrics, punks, goths und artists birthed a neu subculture von Teutonic tanzen music the united the youth movements des east und west on die dancefloor.

Du schaust: Tresor berlin leipziger straße

To commemorate ns club’s 30th anniversary, Tresor Records is releasing Tresor 30, a 12-record kasten set von classic and new techno artist from that is in-house label. It runs the gamut from beforehand Detroit techno (Underground Resistance’s 1991 sci-fi epic die Final Frontier; Jeff Mills’ so late Night) to ambient techno (the savant-like Function) und third generation, post-techno musicians (Afrodeutsche, Sophia Saze, grand River), demonstrating Tresor’s trademark, huge tent approach to electronic dance music.


DJ Marshall Jefferson performs at Tresor’s 10th date of birth celebrations in 2001. Photograph: Jim Dyson/Getty ImagesThree years after that is founding, die story des Tresor can seem favor a fairytale. It started with music student Dimitri Hegemann’s move from landscape Westfalia zu West berlin where, by the beforehand 80s, nightclubs such as SO36, Risiko and Sound, as well as underground celebrities Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave and Christiane F, defined ns divided city’s glam-punk aesthetic. When attending Berlin’s free University, Hegemann stop the zuerst of countless Atonal festivals with experimental acts kollabisch Neubauten, Psychic TV and Clock DVA, and, von 1988, opened die Dada-inspired Fischbüro gallery bei the remains of a Kreuzberg shoe store.

“The Fischbüro was a location where creative people came together,” he says. “I was tired of standing in line hinweisen the direkte venues, paying 10 deutschmarks and going house again alone.” among Fischbüro’s distinguished visitors to be Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson; its more peculiar tasks included hacking Moscow’s Pravda newspaper v a telex machine and meditating to in industrial-sized electrical shoe polisher the sounded like a UFO.

Nobody knew where ns club was – except weil das the brave ones that went looking weil das it. We wanted zu maintain this anonymityUfo became the name weil das the tiny society Hegemann opened in 1988, i beg your pardon specialised in the neu sounds von acid house arriving from chicago via Britain. It was accessed von ladder v a trapdoor bei the floor des Fischbüro, und held fewer than 100 people. Its roster of talent consisted of emerging DJ-tastemakers Tanith, Rok, Jonzon, son Paul and Dr Motte, future organiser von the city’s famed liebe Parade.

“As shortly as ich heard acid, i knew this was ns sound of the future,” claims Tanith, whose Wednesday night event Cyberspace combined acid, house, hip-hop und Detroit techno. “ was far native perfect, but it was a good learning ground for all von us.” Although ns club was shuttered von late 1990, Hegemann believes ns energy von these early gatherings – “unfinished, trashy, anarchistic and radical” – presaged the explosion of techno culture an the months complying with reunification.

“After the fall of ns Wall everything was different,” Hegemann continues, comparing ns mood of berlin to that des Paris after the second welt war, wie man Miles Davis introduced cool jazz to die Left Bank. “People to be ready zum something neu … no curfew, no police, many accessible spaces – all this added up zu a one-of-a-kind readiness that one experiences just during good social upheavals.”


Tresor founder Dimitri Hegemann with manager Regina Baer bei 1992While waves des Ossis (the nickname for east Berliners) instantly poured into the west weil das new opportunities and entertainment, young Wessis (West Berliners) went in the the contrary direction, scouting the ost for that is abandoned real estate stock and illegal squats. Throughout one such expedition down leipziger Strasse, near the infamous Todesstreifen (the “death strip” to run alongside ns Wall), Hegemann und several girlfriend stumbled upon a storefront v a sealed, underground passage – one von the thousands des bunkers und tunnels the snaked below the surface des the city. It proved to be a bank vault for the Wilhelmine-era Wertheim room store, one des the largest on ns continent prior to it was destroyed during ns allied battle campaigns. Lock instantly identified that it would be a perfect space zum a neu club, though it had actually no electricity, to run water or gas. After raising die 1,600 deutschmarks essential for bei interim lease on ns property, Hegemann and his partners invested three months on repairs; they deshalb installed a an effective sound system, strobe lights und a makeshift bar, whereby drinks were passed through ns vault’s stole bars.

An beforehand visitor described the experience des descending right into Tresor together akin to being hidden with nazi architect Albert Speer. With its metre-thick walls and intense heat, ns room had actually a long-term layer von dampness that would certainly trickle from ns ceiling and warp ns crates of records, when its distinctive odour clung zu everything: “Like 40-year-old waiting that had never left die building, fungi between the walls, seasoned with fog, cigarettes und spilled drinks,” Tanith recalls.

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While dozens des clubs came und went, Tresor remained a city fixture, associated with ns invention von the berlin soundThe club’s spartan next site were an in similar way menacing. “There was no street lighting, no windy transportation,” remembers Regina Baer, Tresor’s unternehmen manager. “Nobody knew where ns club was – except for the brave ones that went looking for it. Us wanted zu maintain this loved one anonymity as long as possible – and so did our guests.”

“As shortly as Tresor opened, it was clear wherein was leading,” Tanith continues. “In that cellar, also ambient sounded choose a drone symphony!” Tanith was one von the club’s erste resident DJs and perhaps ns most influential bei developing its hardcore sound, in more than one sense des the word: the tested die sound system by standing in the centre des the room und turning up the bass until his jean legs started flapping, and remembers all hell breaking loose on the club floor when he play T99’s difficult beat hit Anasthasia or X-101’s Sonic Destroyer, i m sorry became die club’s unofficially anthem.

Soon, Tresor’s reputation zum frenzied, days-long partys fuelled von ecstasy und a hard Detroit soundtrack spilled across the united city und produced a new template zum Berlin’s 24-hour nightlife. “No established disco would oase played music,” states Baer.

alt clubs gave hoch – they couldn’t or no want kommen sie change your content. out. Gone,” Hegemann agrees.


A club night bei 2013. Photograph: Camille BlakeWithin months of Tresor’s opening, Hegemann started ns in-house document label, which originally served together a foreign imprint weil das Detroit DJs such together Jeff Mills, Mike Banks und Blake Baxter, that were travelling to berlin to beat residencies at the club. Tresor Records’ release of Underground Resistance’s X-101 project, Baxter’s Dream Sequence und Mills’ Waveform infection Vol 1 cemented a Detroit/Berlin alliance that continued zum the next three decades. Von equal importance were compilation series such as die Techno Sound von Berlin und the single Der klang Der Familie, i beg your pardon featured heavily an 1992’s ausführung of the love Parade and became one of Germany’s erste techno hits.

Berlin had notfall only the first, devoted techno club, but also a record label devoted exclusively to the city’s neu soundtrack. Tresor’s strategy weil das success was soon matched by neighbouring clubs such as WMF, Planet, E-Werk und Bunker, which also took advantage des the former east Berlin’s industrial ruins und interim intake rules to stage their very own house and techno parties. While dozens des these clubs came und went over ns years, countless specialising in trendier sub-genres von electronic music or an ext celebrity-driven promotions, Tresor continued to be a stadt fixture, synonymous with ns invention des the berlin sound. After ~ its move kommen sie a neu location at ns Kraftwerk Berlin bei 2007, the club take it on bei expanded curatorial role, relaunching the annual Atonal festival and commissioning plenty of multimedia events und art exhibitions with die neighbouring OHM gallery.

“Like every club v such a lang lifespan, Tresor has had its ups und downs, but always found ways kommen sie stay relevant,” Tanith insists. Indeed, an a stadt that has carried die mantle of world’s sprung capital zum 30 years, Hegemann’s an easy slogan continues to sustain a revolution: “Tresor never ever sleeps.”

Tresor 30 ist out now from Tresor Records.

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This article was amended top top 5 October 2021 to correct a photo caption. DJ Marshall Jefferson is from Chicago, notfall Detroit as previously stated.