Published Nov 21, 2014Naming your album Power Of Anonymity is a double-edged sword: You'd better be sure the offering leans more towards the Power in the album title than the Anonymity. In the case of Dutch-born DJ and producer Steffi, she teeters on the edge of both on her second full-length release for OstGut Ton, the record label owned by Berlin's techno mecca Berghain. A longstanding resident at Berghain's upstairs annex Panorama, Steffi has carved a name for herself in the techno/house scene for her dynamic and eclectic sets, often infusing them with little-known underground material and disco. While the first half of Power Of Anonymity subtly effaces any semblance of her live sets, the bottom half thankfully picks up the pace and salvages what could have been a very straightforward, if not dull, dance floor-aimed release.
Songs such as "Selfhood" and opener "Pip" are ripe for late-night loft parties, but do very little to reward repeat listens, and the album's title track becomes far too tedious, crafting a six-minute track around a six-second sample and too simple a drum pattern. However, the latter half does contain some understated gems, such as "Bag Of Crystals," whose disco undercurrent makes more engaging than its preceding tracks, and finally starts to lift you out of the early album lull. By the time the very à propos "Bang For Your Buck" hits, Steffi's achieved a much more dynamic and layered sound. "Treasure Seeking," with Dexter and Virginia on vocals, hint at the exciting possibility of more vocal-driven releases in the future, and breaks the monotony of the album.
Steffi has pointed out how the restrictive nature of the Boiler Room set has made it so that her 2011 set has pigeonholed her, saying that when the "entire world [sees] that one video… people think you always play that sort of set." One would think that when offered the possibility to challenge those perceptions through a new full-length, Steffi would revel in boundless options, but unfortunately, that is not the case with Power Of Anonymity. (Ostgut Ton)