Archive for the ‘review’ Category

aufgemischt! @ CTM.10 Blog

09:22 PM

From January 28 to February 7 the CTM.10 (club transmediale) will take place in Berlin. Through the whole time, aufgemischt! will keep you up-to-date and will share some first impressions directly from the festival with you. TEXT & PHOTOS: Thomas Vorreyer

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Samstag, 30.01.2010, 21 Uhr: Der erste vollständige Tag des CTM.10 hat uns erst nach Sonnenaufgang wieder in unsere Betten fallen lassen und deshalb folgt mit Verspätung eine kleine Rekapitulation der zurückliegenden Nacht.

Mit gleich drei Bühnen wartete das WMF auf, wobei die dritte mit Andy Blake hinter dem DJ Pult unter einigen Publikumsschwankungen. So war der Raum etwa wie leer gefegt als in den ersten Morgenstunden sich alles vor die Hauptbühne drängte, als Janine Roston alias Planningtorock (Bild oben) ihr neues Album Planet 9 live vorstellte. Eindringlich und mit allerhand Mystik aufgeladen zog die Künstlerin die Anwesenden regelrecht in ihren Bann während hinter ihr in slow motion u.a. eine Blonde Frau ihre Haare um sich wirbelnd durch einen Wald sprang – wohl auch wegen solcher Visualisierungskonzepte und einiger Klanganalogien kollaborierte Planningtorock zuvor mit The Knife und Mt. Sims beim Soundtrack zur Darwin-Oper Tomorrow, in a Year. Mit der Show von Karin Dreijer-Anderssons Kunstfigur Fever Ray kann sich Planningtorock jedenfalls durchaus messen lassen.

Bereits zuvor hatten übrigens Felix Martin und Al Doyle von Hot Chip, mit denen Roston auch für die Aufnahmen von Planet 9 zusammengearbeitet hatte, am selben Ort aufgelegt.

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Im Obergeschoss begann zur selben Zeit die Italians Do It Better! Nacht auf der zweiten Bühne. Den Anfang machten wie gewohnt Desire mit Sängerin Megan, Schlagzeuger Natty und Johnny Jewel am Synthesizern, gefolgt von Jewels zweiter Band Glass Candy mit Ida No, während Mike Simonetti vor und nach den Auftritten auflegte. Wurden die Megan und Ida noch zuvor vom Festivalpersonal – laut Eigenaussage – als “American princesses” bezeichnet, so wurden sie jetzt vom Publikum umso euphorischer Empfangen. Jewel hatte seinen Beats noch etwas kräftiger gestaltet und die beiden Damen wandelten die angestaute Wut ausnahmslos in eine energetische und agile Performance um. Da scheint es kaum verwunderlich, dass sich die Italians-Crew mit ihrer beinahe halbjährlichen Reisen nach Berlin eine lebhafte Fanbase erspielt hat.

Ein ausführlicher Bericht folgt in den nächsten Tagen samt zweier Interviews mit Ida No und Mike Simonetti. Im Anschluss findet sich die Fotogalerie zur Nacht und das Line-Up für den heutigen Abend im WMF.

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30.1. CTM @ WMF
Floor1 in collaboration with Man Recordings & Melt Booking: Sinden (UK), Drop the Lime (US), Daniel Haaksman (DE), Ku Bo & Joyce Muniz (AT), Schlachthof Bronx (DE), DJ Manaia (PT), VJ Sniper (IL/DE)
Floor 2 in collaboration with Surefire: Brackles (UK), Falty DL (US), Paul Spymania (UK), Loops Haunt (UK), Rustie (UK)
Lounge: Dubco (UK)

Friday, January 29, 8 pm: Could you imagine a real festival without mud? Hardly likely I guess, so even in January Berlin welcomes the CTM.10 and its international audience with tons of mud slush on its slippery pavements. Too bad one missed to bring a pair of gumboots!

After the CTM was already yesterday night officially openend at HAU2 with performances by Jacob Kirkegaard, Transforma and Hiroaki Umeda –  in cooperation with the CONTEXT Festival Anästhesie der Gefühle” -, the festival starts it’s programme at the former Hungarian cultural center .HBC with the A MAZE. Interact festival (see above), that aims to combine music and art with the electronic video game culture.

Around 6 pm the place is still occupied by bustling construction works,  so I use my time to be one of the first persons ever to wage trying out the salientsound project. Dressed in a rubber tunic and standing on a plateau in a dark room a song from Atom TM’s new album is played to my ears through a stereo system, but from the time to time parts of the track, too, are transmitted onto my neural cortex via ultrasonic by a computer system named PURE (Pulsed Ultrasound Remote Engine) – so I can hear sounds which, considered in a physical sense, aren’t existing as sounds. During the experiment the probands have to press a red buzzer in front of them whenever they think that PURE got switched on.

Although I am always right each of the four times I press the button, I can merely feel any difference between the acoustic and the ultrasonic signal. Indeed PURE seems to be an interesting system with great opportunities, so expect some proper coverage on it on this site around Monday.

Leaving the dark chamber I follow the corridors to the various video game art of A.MAZE. One wall is covered categorization and chronicle of popular music video games installations from the electronic Stone Age to now, while the festival visitors can act as the Beatles in a current commercial video game or play karaoke in a shower next door.

From the variety installations especially two should be highlighted: The first is the Spatial Soundsculpture, where you create melodies and sounds with a video camera reading black-and-white pixel codes – like the qode code used for cellphones – on a white wall, the second one is called Ludic Sound Play (see above), where you lead a ray over a 2D-matrix, on which enlightened frustums embodying the instruments / melody sequence are placed.

Just on 8 pm I leave the .HBC heading to the next S-Bahn station to go to Hallesche Ufer. On my way I pass the building at Spandauer Straße 2, where further installations and events of the CTM.10 are located. But my way goes to the HAU2 at Hallesche Ufer, where the CTM.10 Opening Night Reprise with a rerun of last night’s programme is about to start.

The first performance is by Danish sound artists Jacob Kirkegaard and it’s simply fantastic: Kirkegaard went to the sand deserts of Oman to find the so called singing (or booming) sand there, which he’s now presenting in his performance Sabulation with some fascinating black-and-white video recordings of moving sand scarps at dunes. He backs these clips with sometimes loud and hollow droning, sometimes rustling and roaring audio recordings from the same place. Again and again the spectator’s eyes are looking for a steady consistent spot in a sea of falling sand to hold fast onto, but within seconds the just now secure piece get’s hit by a new stream and falls deep into the abyss while the sound is menacingly rising. It’s an endless cirlcle in which even the most beautiful sand reliefs get deflate after some time and the scarp is throwing constantly changing shadows like human faces on the screen.

Seldom both the beauty and the transience of the Sein were as stirringly reproduced as they get here by Kirkegaard with some simple grains of sand representing mankind.

Operators by Berlin’s art collective Transforma follows and creates to massive basses a hectic flood of pictures, in which a chaotic Pong game vanishs into a half-documentary view of a masked person performs with neon lamps (the Pong bars) and variously moves, examines and throws away coloured glass and metal sheets.

The program ends with Hiroaki Umeda’s Adapting for Distortion. At 11 pm the night program at the WMF will kick off with Planet 9 and Italians Do It Better!, see the complete line-up below:

Floor 1: Planningtorock (UK/DE), Felix Martin & Al Doyle (Hot Chip, Dj Set, UK), Jackson (DJ Set, FR), Mount Sims (US)
Floor 2: Glass Candy (US), Desire (US), Mike Simonetti (US), Noot (CA/DE), DJ TV DiSKO (CA/NZ)
Lounge: Andy Blake (UK)

The XX live at Astra, Berlin

02:57 AM

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Although The XX were said to be one of the by the NME‘s „bands to watch out for next year“ in late 2008, no one  could have anticipated this rocket-like rise of London’s minimalists through 2009.

Now in January 2010, it was already the third time the – now – three friends had been floating to Berlin. But this evening was supposed to be a special one, because The XX even played two sold out shows in a row at Astra. Trailer Trash Tracys challenged the opening, but presented their alike pragmatic songs in a clearly less charming way. Anyway the favorable audience was nothing but waiting for the band of the evening.

Fully dressed in understatement the 19-years old teenagers entered the stage. After a short moment of rest they pervaded the room with touching warmth by playing the catchy „Intro“ and „Crystalized“.  The listeners were freezed with emotions and vulnaribility and only got pulled out of this dreamworld by a few hard but well-placed beats till the end of the concert. It seemed that nothing could ever disturb the harmony between Romy, Oliver and Jamie. So they strolled through their songs with a blind-folded understanding. The only add-on of the quite short concert was „Stars“ including a star-spattered sky appearing above the stage.

In order to prepare their second part of the evening, The XX released their audience with a feeling of inner warmth into the freezing night.

Until today’s evening, 9pm, you can visit the sound sculpture of the band at .HBC, Berlin, although it’s sadly rather sparsely and uncharitably presented. We recommend to go there after the sunset anyway.

FOTOS: Christoph Paul

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Hercules and Love Affair: the Return

06:01 PM

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Hercules and Love Affair are back on the touring track and they did not forget to show up for a little tryst in Berlin last week at the well known Panoramabar (Berghain).* The gig was highly anticipated since the band behind the epic debut of the same title hit the town more than a year ago from now for the last time and everyone was curios to see how Andy Butler and full-time member Kim-Ann Fox would recreate the project with a new line-up and live on stage.

So much the worse that the first sounds of the set are already greeting me through the thick Berghain walls while I’m rushing inside. On the stairs to Panoramabar I recognize “Raise Me Up” and after finding a proper stance to watch the show, the song is already put to a cheered end. “Endlich!” [sic] (German for “finally), the first new face on the right side of  the stage,  Aerea Negrot, comments the emerging atmosphere. In front of me stands a literally reduced version of the band. Besides  singer Nomi Ruiz, bassist Andrew Raposo, keyboardist Morgan Wiley and the usual wind section are missing, too. (Not to mention Antony Hegarty – of of the first album’s brilliant voices – who never had toured with H&LA.)

Instead three new members are joining Kim-Ann Fox and a apparently good-humoured Andy Butler, who now introduces one by one. Berlin-based Negrot – a tall woman with a as great soul vibe in her voice – had met him already some years ago, as Butler tells the crowd, and immediately fascinated him with her talent, although it took until now to unite the two creative minds in a common project. Next to Butler and, too, in the second row stands Mark Pistel, who first reached a bigger audience as part of the industrial band Consolidated in the late 1980ies and early 90ies and then went on working as a producer, engineer and songwriter with legends like Grace Jones. The picture is accomplished by Shaun Wright on the left – the visually most outstanding part of the five-piece – wearing a little golden jacket  (“My Mommy made it!”) combined with a Rick-James haircut.

Although featuring a new line-up and new songs Hercules and Love Affair are sonically and visually still masters of the impervious but seductive play with sexuality, gender and bass. Fox – fondly styled “bad boy” by Butler – has got the deepest and hardest and so most masculine voice of the singer trio, but switches to the high pitches within seconds. Wright however – the only male singer on stage –  appears quite feminine and draws – if he’s not infatuating the audience with his velvety voice – some mazy lines in the air with his hands, while Negrot takes the role of the charming all purpose tool sharing the former Hegarty and Ruiz vocals with Wright.

“Raise Me Up” and the introduction are followed by four new pieces. Like the mythic Hercules (Heracles in the Greek original) has been on the search of love – from both women and men – and himself through his whole life and even afterlife, so is every new H&LA song a between cosmos and disco light oscillating ode to being doomed. One track ask in its chorus, “Where do I come from?”, and then reaches out to Mars and Venus as potentional answers. Another track – the grooving, floor-filling “Painted Eyes” – pulls our view back from the stars to a look in the mirror, “How can you wait forever? … there’s no forever, forever” – the modern Hercules neither expects to find eternal youth and immortality after his death nor a goddess to marry.

“Painted Eyes” was already part of the band’s live set during their last tour dates with the old line-up in 2008. Back then it was Nomi and not Aerea singing with Kim-Ann and a live wind section let the song appear in a playful jazzy outfit. Nowadays the song is based on a heavy propulsive disco bass garnished with some catchy and simply brilliant string arrangements (the tasteful response to Shakira’s “She Wolf”). In short, it’s now a real disco hymne for some glorious late night tales. Watch the following two live videos to easily compare old and new, beginning with the first one recorded in Copenhagen on November 18 anno 2008:

And below performed by the “new” Hercules and Love Affair on August 15 anno 2009 in New York:

At all the new sound is one single time warp back into the US-American underground of the late 1970ies and 80ies and back again. Butler and Pistel lead Chicago House and Acid plus some Detroit Techno  and late Disco together to create a modern, humming extravagance which turns into an endorphin-bearing romantic club monster played through a high-quality sound system like the one owned by Berghain.

After four merging new Tracks Hercules and Love Affair pick the upcoming single “I Can’t Wait” – recently included by  Butler into his Sidetracked mix – as farewell (listen to a clip from the song here). A successful end which of course makes the clapping and now sweaty crowd calling out for an encore. A wish that gets fulfilled by the band with fantastic “You Belong” – again a pretty heavy bass with a pretty soft voice (by Shaun).  A glorious end of an as glorious return.

Hercules and Love Affair “I Can’t Wait” will be released in late December 2009 and be exclusively available on Beatport.com.

*Since photography is generally forbidden at Berghain, we recommend you the live gallery of H&LA’s first onstage appearance this year by Brooklyn Vegan.

The Horrors & S.C.U.M live review

02:56 PM

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Within only a few days London’s ex-Goth band The Horrors twice played in Berlin. Following their support appearance for Muse at the German capital’s new gigantic O2 Arena on October 29 the five piece came back to hit the stage at Lido together with young disciples S.C.U.M this Tuesday.

Still all the (overpowering) presence was a fair game since it was only the second time for the group to present their new Krautrock influenced and Goth hype breaking outfit in Germany after two festival appearances earlier this year.

So a still all black-in-black but more decent version of The Horrors entered the stage to play the fantastic 2009 full-length “Primary Colours” track-by-track with only little arrangement changes meeting a pretty unimpressed crowd.

The not completely filled Lido – with an audience reflecting a pretty diverse spectrum from little kids to dark avantgarde fellows and old rocker couples – only slightly enjoyed the new material. For instance “I Only Think Of You” nearly got drowned by the talking and whispering all-around.

While neither “Scarlet Fields” nor “Sea Within A Sea” or new non-album single “Whole New Way” – apparently three songs of real beauty – could move the entire crowd, already the foreshadowing of “Who Can Say” or – more precious – the genius but, too, simple lyrics of its intermezzo set everyone in a fever of excitement.

Eleven songs were played. Then band went off, roadie on stage. Everybody knew what was about to follow.

Fair enough, on the stage they laboured to surprise with a well performed cover of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” but the majority in front it was already silently awaiting the first cords of “Count In Fives” which let them explode in one aggressive pogo, followed by “Gloves”.

What seemed to be compulsory for the band meant everything to their fans. The Horrors have grown out of (most) their following.

Those were of course no problems support act and London colleagues S.C.U.M had to fight with. Presenting – among others – an intense version of their to be then premiered fantastic new song “Berlin” (click on the link to download it via The Quietus) in the city where it was recorded for the Signals series back in spring. And nearly nobody was were to disturb (or enjoy) since apparently everyone was still enjoying their first beers around the corner.

It just wasn’t a good night for good music.

PHOTOS: Christoph Paul

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Desire & Glass Candy in Berlin

01:54 PM

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So the other day, the Thursday before Halloween, the Italians took over Berlin. Well, no tourists from the South escaping from Berlusconi country but with Desire, Glass Candy and Mike Simonetti two acts plus the head of the beloved Italians Do It Better! label came over to perform and dj here. Sadly they somehow ended up playing at an invite-only party run by a big beer producing company. At least Glass Candy didn’t know this until the day of the gig.

So bands played on the bottom of a huge conference/theatre hall in front of some pieces of “urban art” which reminded me of an IKEA creative design studio. After a small set by Mike, including my current favourite remix – Cut Copy’s Jackmaster Remix of “Back Down” by Munk -, Desire with singer Megan Louise, drummer Beats Natty and mastermind at the synths Johnny Jewel hit the stage. Although the environment wasn’t really fitting to their dreamy, calm disco sounds, it was still somehow an intimate and enjoyable performance, which I’d like to see in a small real club again.

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After Desire left, Johnny came on stage once again to perform with Ida No as Glass Candy, his first band outfit. What then should befall the crowd was simply the band’s best Berlin gig til now. Ida this time combined her live aerobic workout with some tough punk/rock poses back from the days then Glass Candy started as a rock act back in the 1990ies.  The connection to the audience in front of the stage couldn’t have been any better: Ida event hand the mic over to the first row and was given some red hearts confetti in return.

Songs like “Candy Castle”, “Miss Broadway” or “Beatific” proved once more that Glass Candy are one of the best, if not the best  disco band of our time, which, too, has surely something to do with Johnny still playing every beat live. As said before, it was a great show.

I talked to Ida after the show and she had some awesome news for me: Glass Candy will propably come back to Europe in February and will release a new full-length around that time, too. Can’t wait to hear it. The gig will then surely be a more proper gig for everyone to come.

Check Mike’s Italians Do It Better! blog and, too, Desire’s beautiful tour photo blog. IDIB recently put out a new 12″ by T&K, a project of Berlin’s DJ Kaos and Portuguese producer Tiago. It’s as fantastic as all the others, see all details here.  And in case you haven’t yet listened to it, try out Mike Simonetti’s edit of Whitney Houston’s latest single we posted a while ago.  See a full gallery of the gig below:

PHOTOS: Elsa Thorp

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Pics: HEALTH, Fuck Buttons!

09:29 PM

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Intro Intim with Pictureplane, Le Corps Mince de Francoise, Fuck Buttons! and HEALTH.  PHOTOS: René Berger

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Lovvers’ consultation at West Germany

12:25 AM

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Whenever you’re back to the point where you wonder why you aren’t yet bored by twanging guitar acts you know since Muddy Waters, The Monks or Billie Holiday – wait a sec: were dinosaurs still alive back then? – you suddenly stand in front of a stage built out of beer crates in a demolished former surgery – now called West Germany – in Berlin-Kreuzberg watching a band like Charlie Megira & The Mondern Dance Club playing on top of it. And intuitionally you start banging your head and doing the twist with the hippie girl next to you; you just can’t help yourself.

Later you will search for CM & TMDC on Google and will realize that they’re a sample of Israeli underground heroes But who cares? You already love this raw and loud band, this Mr. Megira with his overbite surely making him earning some good money as Dracula actor in various B-horror pictures; or this bass player named ‘The Dead Girl’ who’s starring at you like a – er – dead girl. You feel the joyful victory of a sweet cliché inside of you being verified when you watching beautiful drummer Mimi Shanel eating out Charlie (of course) and you don’t worry about Javier Schreiner since you know, he has his guitar. Simply perfect!

But don’t forget, they’re just the support for main act Lovvers. These looked actually a bit tired that night or just suffered some overdose onstage; singer Shaun didn’t seem to be really present anyway. What a fantastic benefit it was in this case that their album was recorded live and nearly without any production, so you can enjoy a gig like you prefer it to be: to sound like on record. At it’s end Shaun is dancing a little bit inside the crowd but that’s already the climax. Around this time Mimi is sleeping on the sofa next to the entrance door.

TEXT, FOTOS: Thomas Vorreyer

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Dear Reader in Leipzig

05:23 PM

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Dear Reader came all the long way from South Africa to go on stage at Leipzig’s Schaubuehne Lindenfels on the holiday of the anniversary of Germany’s unity. See a moving live appereance captured in some beautiful black-and-white silent moments:

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Patrick Wolf at Astra, Berlin

12:05 PM

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– Article to follow soon. Sorry. –

FOTOS: Christoph Paul

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German festivals are cooler

01:30 PM

Did you know? German festivals are way cooler than any other events anywhere else. Even if it’s pretty unorganized, everyone will think that’s it’s still really well and German-like organized. The weather is nice, the festival side is often not far away from the big cities (or even placed in them) and nearly everyone’s good-looking. Funny bears are running around, while little kids are driving around in rocket cars and girls are playing weird instruments like the “Quadrorgel”. And between this lovely mess you can still watch your favourite bands from the US and UK like MGMT, Black Lips, HEALTH, Metronomy, Patrick Wolf, Crystal Antlers mixed with some German and continental European acts like Turbonegro, Element Of Crime or Whitest Boy Alive. Of course I’m talking about the latest Dockville Festival in Hamburg.

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FOTOS: August Hoffmann