100records is one of the last undiscovered treasures of the Berlin underground of the 1990s and 2000s. Like Elektro Music Department, 100records is unthinkable without techno and the club scene, but with a few exceptions the duo’s tracks are not aimed at the dancefloor. With a claim to universality and a broader frame of reference, 100records developed a more extensive understanding of sound that rests on three pillars: the understated analogue drums of the Roland TR-808, a blurred, dubby sound, and improvisation.
On first hearing, Exq I has little in common with the groovy, detailed, variation-rich sound usually associated with 100records. Recorded at the end of a highly productive decade, it is an echo speaking of exhaustion in which dub, drone and collage converge to form something whose jazz sensibility makes it readily identifiable as the work of 100records.
100records was founded in 1994 by Muellie Messiah (Dirk Budde) and Ekki 808 (Ekkehard Rau), who were joined in 1999 by Punk not Punk (Martin Osti). Around 2002, Ekki departed, leaving Budde and Osti to continue as a duo. Since then, their relationship has shaped 100records: Budde is the driven lone genius doggedly pursuing sounds, Osti the pragmatist who turns ideas into music. As well as making music, Budde is also a musicologist. In 1997 he published his PhD thesis entitled Take Three Chords... Punk Rock and the Development to American Hardcore. As well as being his specialization, punk is also part of his identity: in the 1980s he sang and played keyboards in various punk bands in Kassel, the best known being Haunted Henschel.
After the fall of the Wall, attracted by the freedom of the newly reunited Berlin, Budde packed his bags and drove to the formerly divided city, having already become acquainted with techno at Kassel’s influential Stammheim club.