Cities go through many changes. Berlin probably more than
most. Being pretty much in the center of two world wars and
the idealogical battleground of the cold war. The tension
there when the wall was still there must have been immense.
These days the atmosphere is a more relaxed one. More "bohemian"
in lack of a better word. Still, this part of Berlin seems
to be under siege - as most likely so many other places -
from "big money" city development of the unimaginative
kind. Renovating houses without keeping the heart of the original
in it. Building malls or worse on the exact spots of the city's
cultural pulse - where the seeds of the very uniqueness of
Berlin are being sown.
I find it sad. Of course, people can't live in old, cold houses,
just because tourists or artists have a nostalgic relationship
with the past. Progress is a natural process. But it's like
someone is hellbent on painting over the past to forget about
it. There's noone taking the middle road and then taking into
account the paradox of moving forward while preserving the
very soul and creative essense that makes the place unique
and sets it apart from other cities around the world. It goes
against any contemporary thinking about development having
to be innovative in order secure it's own future. There are
two worlds that have to meet here. Polarized they both loose.
Imagine a man looking out upon his beautiful lawn. A few odd
growths pop up here and there. He can't really decide if they're
weed or actual flowers. To save himself the trouble of reflecting
on it any further he decides to pave over his entire garden
with asphalt. Maybe he can even rent it out as a parking lot
and make a few bucks, he thinks.
Okay... Unless the entire planet is paved over it should be
possible to go to the edge where the asphalt is thinner and
see what comes up there. Weed always find a way through?
Money vs. heart? It's not like anyone is putting in any effort to preserve
what's there. Does progress really have to be without heart?
Does it have to be just about money? Are people too lazy?
Too busy? Not bothering to reflect on things like... the past
and what can be learned from it... the art that questions
the status quo... the human relations with a face of love
instead of fear?
Okay, despite all of the above thoughts and knowing that lovely
places like Antje Öklesund and Bar 25 will be "paved
over" before long I had a great five days in Berlin.
A city that this time around suddenly felt small. All because
of everyone I knew from different places seemed to be connected
somehow. Going to the same show, staying in the same places,
being friends etc. Many funny coincidences that just confirms
the old saying that "it's a small world".
Homemade electronics and oldies with soup My programme got really packed. Something going on all
the time. Upon arriving Saturday I dropped by Bugbrand workshop
of Tom Bug (out of Bristol in the UK) where Marco (my host)
was working on some noisemaking electronics alongside a whole
table of people. This was beyond "regular" circuit-bending
of existing electronics to make new sounds. They made their
own instruments from scratch. That same night I went to Bar
25 at the Spree river where I had learned that Bleubird was
doing an improv set. It worked out really well. Kiki Bohemia
also played there. It was all a release party for a dvd about
last year's Goldmund Festival. Really nice film with lots
of very exciting music in it. I got to figure out who they
Sunday I visited the huge fleamarket at Mauerpark. A bit of
a tourist magnet, but enjoyable nevertheless. Too crowded,
but also a place to find some nice vinyl records. And loads
of different crap things, he-he. Later I went to Intersoup
where I hung out, listened to the cool music they had on the
stereo while eating their delicios soup. In the evening my
good friend Zelda Panda was going to DJ her oldies songs there.
That was a great way to spent an evening.
Musicals pearls on a string Monday night Swiss electronica chick Gustav played at
Festsaal Kreuzberg. Golden Diskó Ship was support act
which is why I went. She really has a lot of talent. Great
The following evening... yet another gig. Wanted to go to
Antje Öklesund anyway and by luck Snöleoparden out
of Aarhus performed there. Alongside Bobby & Blumm which
was a really pleasant act to experience.
Wednesday was the night I actually went to Berlin for to start
with. 9 was playing at Zur Moebelfabrik and I was to DJ. Great
fun. Cool place. Even though at first the air down in that
basement was incredible humid in that "locked up for
too long" kind of way. Had a great reaction to what I
played: "It was great. I'm tired of that minimal Berliner
techno". He-he. Also spun a bit of vinyl bought during
my days in Berlin. Herbie Hancocks old "Rockit"
breakdance hit caused a nice reaction with some.
Heavy trip home So yeah, ended up with bringing quite a bit of vinyl records
home. But also a guitar. Was looking for an electric one,
but I just can't seem to find one that fits me. So I stumbled
on an old German acoustic one instead. A boxlike sound...
just right for doing some crappy blues songs, oh yeah... After
all, the trip was to "mend my heart", so a few songs
in that vein seemed to pop up.
Below you can download the two parts of my DJ set:
set @ Zur Moebelfabrik Part 1 (mp3, 97
min, 133 mb) - download
Lucky Dragons, Battles, Köhn,
Aphex Twin, Murcof, Berg Sans Nipple, Trans Am, Jab Mica Och
El, Jean-Michel Jarre, Busdriver, Food For Animals, Public
Enemy, Radian, Panda Bear, Daedelus, Karsten Pflum, Cains
& Abels, Moussa Duombia, Akron/Family, Battles, Apparat
Organ Quartet, Malcolm McLaren, Y.A.C.H.T.
DJ set @ Zur Moebelfabrik Part 2 (mp3, 40 min, 55 mb) - download
Singvogel, David Bowie, Analogik,
DAT Politics, Karsten
Pflum, Herbie Hancock, Deerhoof, Laid Back, Beastie Boys,
Pierre Henry, Trans Am, Four Tet (Battles Remix).
A bit of video from the trip. Basically a sound'n'vision version
of a lot of the pictures below.
Below is a video with more footage from the Prinzenallee show (Bleubird and Jayrope) at Bar 25.
Marco getting a few pointers from Tom Bug at the Bugbrand workshop.
to the 'Circus' at Bar 25.
'Circus' at Bar 25.
Bohemia at Bar 25.
and roommate - a.k.a. Prinzenallee - improvising a set at Bar 25.
quite a yellow station it is.
- a lot of crap, a lot of tourists...
if you need some old school / semi-retro stuff for your apartment
fingertips. Water and soap needed.
bit of creativity at street level, oh yeah.
last unrenovated house in Schliemannstrasse, I think. Right opposite
Unlimited... for your ass. Outside Intersoup.
inside Intersoup digging the tunes, the ambience...
the soup. It's so good it needed to be photographed. Go eat!
dumplings are good too. Jacques 'Bleubird' digs in with an innocent
with little Ilpo superstar.
Zelda Panda trying the laptop to spin the oldies.
Audio Berlin on Schönhauser Allee.
Mr. Dead & Mrs. Free where you can satisfy all your "americana"
The times are a-changing...
it differently - in big letters - that this city has been sold -
or has sold out?
the middle of Eberswalder Strasse.
Don't know about this one, but some
of these arty walls are sponsored
by companies such as Nokia. The uprising has been assimilated.
past is allowed to poke its head out in a few places.
for how long?
this one of those classic cases where you
don't know what you had until it's gone?
new mega mall Alexia at Alexanderplatz. Why don't money
and creative thinking just meet once in a while?
Bill Hicks once reflected on the possible evolution of a race of
the future - "mall creatures" - that had actually never
seen the light of day.
some wonder why people don't care enough about music anymore to
want to pay for it. As Public Enemy asked in 1991: Who stole the
Leila M music store.
brilliant idea in all its simplicity.
late nights in a row this life-size Cardboard-Snoop spooked me
when I caught him out of the corner of my eye. Sneaky bastard.
bar at Antje Öklesund...
the peanuts are complementary and you throw the shells on the floor.
A crunchy walk.
arty stuff to look at when at Antje.
& Blumm at Antje.
attentive audience. Nice.
guitar and Swedish voice and toy keyboard. Pleasant combo.
at Antje. Whipping up a trance-like set.
is a fantastic place to hang out.
from the outside. Not the easiest place to find. It's in a backyard.
being the artist - capturing a little scene with pen.
and Tom discussing tech stuff that would make any mere mortal brain
at Vintage Audio Berlin for a look.
shop for all your kitsch needs. Plenty of those on Oderberger Strasse.
there's a part for Alvise in the next Beastie Boys video? Coolness...
little less coolness.
expert (more than me anyway) Marco adjusts the old thing I bought
at Vintage Audio.
in the heart of Bavaria."
pastry has a thing about size. What are they compensating for?!
in Brunnenstrasse proclaims: "Kulturelle Freiheit muss unabhängig
von Finanskraft sein."
record store called "The Record Store" in Brunnenstrasse.
Nice selection. Pricey rarities, though.
in Zschermany do as ze Zschermans...
made it onto the poster, he-he!
for a Berliner joint: Keep the building's old name...
clean up too much. Then add some art and old furniture.
a bar and add some funny little details like the cactus.
light diodes in the ceiling and different places...
add some old school candle lights to fit the old surroundings.
'old' is the word. Super! The air was thick with moisture when we
9 crew soundchecking.
a few new 1 euro 7-inches bought at Mauerpark: Herbie Hancock and
around the place a bit.
the look here... I was in a really great mood.
socalled "Capt. Daydream" in action at the decks.
crooning his way through the 9 set with Polsi and the others.
SOPA shopping is the thing to do!
discovery for me... non-alcoholic 'Klub-Mate'. Damn tasty and good
late nights. You can almost see its caffeine protruding from the
sin is sweet.
the electronics go into Marco's contraption it will become an instrument
of sorts. What will it sound like? And what will it be called? 'Marcotonium'?!