A widely respected DJ and producer as well as an entrepreneur and fashionista, Ellen Allien makes experimental techno filled with style and sensuality, in addition to running the celebrated BPitch Control label. Although highly active as a DJ and producer of minimal acid techno tracks since the early '90s, she made her breakthrough with full-lengths such as 2003's Berlinette and 2005's Thrills, which blended glitchy production tricks with futuristic electro pop. While albums such as 2008's Sool and 2013's LISm contained some of Allien's most abstract work, 2017's Nost brought back the club-focused energy of her singles. Aside from her original productions, she has released an armload of mix CDs, including 2002's Weiss.Mix and 2007's Fabric 34, and has held DJ residencies at prestigious clubs and events such as Tresor (Berlin) and Circoloco (Ibiza).
Originally from West Berlin, Allien lived in London during the late '80s, and was first exposed to electronic music via the acid house scene. Returning to her home city after the reunification of Germany, she began to DJ at clubs such as Tresor, the Bunker, and E-Werk. She started a radio show on Berlin's Kiss FM titled Braincandy, which also became the name of her first record label. Following two 1995 EPs on other imprints, Allien released Rockt Krieger and Be Wild through Braincandy in 1997. Due to distribution problems, she shut down the label that year, but after she began organizing a series of parties called Pitch Control, she founded the BPitch Control label in 1999. Following 2000's Dataromance and Last Kiss 99 EPs, as well as several compilations and releases by other artists, Allien released Stadtkind, her debut full-length, on BPitch in 2001. Foregrounding the vocals seldom heard on her prior recordings, as well as introducing more experimental arrangements, the album helped establish her signature sound.
Following two mixed CDs, Allien released her second album, the indie-friendly Berlinette, to much acclaim in 2003. 2004's Remix Collection compiled Allien's remixes for artists like Miss Kittin and Barbara Morgenstern, and was followed by 2005's electro-infused full-length Thrills. In 2006, Allien and regular collaborator Apparat released the eclectic Orchestra of Bubbles, which soon became one of the most popular releases by either artist. Apart from music, Allien also launched her clothing line, Ellen Allien Fashion, in 2006.
Allien's 2008 full-length, Sool, featured co-production from AGF, and was significantly more abstract and minimal than her previous albums. 2010's Dust was a bit more accessible, and 2011's Dust RMX largely emphasized its dancefloor-igniting qualities. However, 2013's LISm, commissioned for a dance production staged at Paris Pompidou Centre, was a left turn into weightless experimental ambient. Following the album's release, Allien issued at least two singles per year, leading up to the release of 2017's warmly nostalgic Nost, her most straightforward dance full-length. In 2018, Allien released the commanding Take a Stand EP on Nonplus Records. 2019 single "UFO" launched Allien's UFO Inc. imprint, preceding her refined yet haunting Alientronic full-length. ~ Paul Simpson