The phrase “concept album” brings to mind long and complicated works by 60s rock bands or rap magna opera destined to be pored over by Dissect podcast. But what if the concept is based on a simple conceit? With Refreshing Part 1, their third EP and first vinyl release on Tresor, Fireground soundtrack an imaginary night spent at the Kraftwerk building on Köpenicker Straße, moving between the smoke-filled basement of Tresor and the bass-heavy loft of Globus.
Opening piece, Never Sleep, has long been a feature of the Fireground live set and evolved over many months before reaching its final form in something of a “eureka” moment during a performance in Tresor. The track kicks off the EP with a hint to techno classic Knights of the Jaguar before quickly carving its own path through the foliage.
The tribal leitmotif continues on second track, Gaze, which again has subtle nods to classics whilst showcasing the duo’s ability to bring new life to 90s house and techno tropes.
Obsession dispenses with any pretence and gets right down to business from the opening second: Inspired by the Tresor dancefloor “when it reaches its peak; the strobe lights together with the smoke become so intense that for a few moments you can't see anything and completely abandon yourself to [your] sense of hearing.”
A counterpoint to the finessed Never Sleep, Obsession was recorded live with minimal post-production this track finds Fireground at their rawest and most uncompromising.
As if needing a spot of fresh air after the ferocity of Obsession, the second half of the EP leaves the dense and smoky atmosphere behind and ascends towards the sky beginning with Driving Stars; lighter though this may be there’s no loss of drive.
Penultimate track Into a Diamond finds Fireground floating ever-upwards propelled by elements of jazz including a gorgeous electric piano solo that recall the airy mid-90s UK house of labels like Nuphonic, Heavenly, Faze Action, and Soma.
Digital-only track, Wedding, closes the EP with the perfect end-of-night feeling, leaving us joyful, as if we are stepping out into the morning sun surrounded by close friends, the sounds of the evening orbiting our minds.