music in berlin

i love you but i've chosen disco

for most of my time in berlin, i’ve been doing a whole lot of listening. mostly to the ambient sounds of the public realm. usually ‘outside’.

but, i’ve also made sure that i’m taking in as much music-based experience as i can whilst i’m here. the relationship that germans and berliners have to music is particularly interesting to me. especially as it’s like a super-extended-remix version of the relationship melbournians have to music.

there is such a wide variety of stuff going on, so it’s been a great chance to just dip in and out of all kinds of styles, venues and times. i could, if i wanted to, spend every night of the week going to see electro-acoustic performances. or dance to techno. or see a classical performance. or go see a rock gig. thankfully i have neither the time nor the money to do so, otherwise i’d never sleep, eat, or do what i came here to do.
but, it’s been great to sample in small doses.
last week i went to a choir/orchestral performance of giuseppe verdi’s requiem – part of it, the dies irae, is surely in every tim burton movie ever made. well, it was the 90-minute whole piece. all fire and brimstone and judgment day. counter reformation-styles, in a protestant church. awesome.
a few weeks ago i went to peaches’ ‘operantomime’ peaches does herself – celebrating 10 years of her career and all the love sex gender-bending fuck-you rock-out that comes with it. it was pretty goddamm spectactular, that’s for sure.
last night peter newman and i stood at schieslischer’s tor u-bahn and listened to two members of  krautrock/90s slacker band, camera, absolutely kill it in the entrance to the station on a practice amp and a hollow wooden stool, with marakas on the ‘kick’. it was fucking amazing, genuine and reminded me of the brilliant BBC documentary on krautrock (thanks stan!)
this week i’m off to a couple of experimental performances in my local ‘hood, one of which i think will feature chris abrahams, home-town pride, and some raw composition work at ausland – a venue i haven’t been to yet, but hosts some brilliant gigs.
every weekend i go dancing until at least 4am. it’s pretty rad. and the relationship berliners have to dancing in a club is awesome – there’s not commandeering of the dancefloor here, kids. everyone faces the front and you dance. if you’re with friends, you dance beside each other, and if you’re there alone, that’s cool – we’ll all dance with you. it’s such a great public action.
and, boys here dance. pretty well, and even when it’s as ugly as sin, they’re doing it with committment – it’s awesome. there’s no sense that a guy is just approximating dancing so that he can get in a girl’s pants – there’s hardly any direct sleeze on the dancefloor, but it’s all hot as. it’s fantastic.
and there’s this weird music/dance style that i’ve called the Berlin Skip. there’s probably a proper name for it, but that’s what i call it. the music is a little bit soca/a little salsa – i think it’s called ‘gypsy sound’ and everyone dances essentially the same to it. i liked it when i first heard it and danced for a couple of hours, but now it’s just too repetitive and i can’t do it anymore. i need a little more variety in my dancefloor action, thanks 🙂
it could have been honolulu
speaking of which, i’ve been to berghain a few times (it’s massive, they dance all night, it’s all about the freaks in there). although last weekend i got rejected! weird! but in a way, completely fun and part of the crazy/random/i-do-what-i-want ethos of the place that i actually really value.
interestingly, i haven’t been to see a band play a straight-up rock/punk gig since i’ve been here. which is kind of hilarious, given my previous intensity towards the genre. to be honest, all the flyers i’ve seen are for pretty big american bands i have no interest in seeing, and i haven’t quite plugged into the kind of venue that hosts great bands from germany. i’m sure it’s out there, but i’ve been so enamoured with the electronic music goodness, that i figure that i’ll just head to the tote when i get home to make up for it 🙂
before i leave, i need to go to the opera, a couple of baroque/romantic performances, and if i can, get to a stockhausen performance too.
i don’t have a whole lot of music in my own collection that screams BERLIN, but the couple that do at the moment are on high rotation – black cab from melbourne, who obviously recorded their album call signs in or after time in berlin – there are multiple references to the city in their songs and the church bells they sample ring outside my apartment at 12 and 6 daily. listening to this album really adds to both the city and the album – it’s like i’m really IN both of them.
the debut album from beak> does something similar – with the dark, electro-romantic-atmos feel about it, it’s a perfect soundtrack to the elemental darkness, cold and wind that is enveloping berlin at the moment.
thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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