29th Nov

29th Nov is a special day in Berlin, which could probably be added as an extra day off (there are very few Public Holidays in this city anyway!). What happened on that day I have no idea, apart from what I’ve googled now. Apparently Godzilla received its star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but I’m not sure this could be a trigger for creating some of the craziest, quirkiest and most creative label for techno videos.

Last year I was lucky to celebrate 9 years of 29th Nov films on the already legendary Boiler Room party and looking forward to its 10th anniversary.

Maybe it is a coincidence, but it seems there is some strange tradition of throwing 29 hour long parties in this beautiful city. Apart from celebrating 29th Nov, almost each year The Long Now is celebrating the seasons change with a 29 hour show in Kraftwerk.

Since November is the month when the days are getting unbelievably dark, cold and gloomy, having started my 3rd year in Berlin, I fall back into living out of the amazing offer that this city has for music aficionados like me: be it jazz concerts, contemporary dance classes or amazing line ups every week(end).

Or binge-watching Youtube videos, since GEMA has finally allowed most of the content that was out of reach for German IPs for years, due to its famous lawsuit. I can totally recommend randomly choosing 29th Nov videos, and you will not be disappointed. I have consciously chosen some of my favourite ones below, although I could easily start a campaign of posting one video every day for the rest of the month.

Till then, the will be enough reasons this month to celebrate. Commemorating the freedom that brought the fall of the Wall, first snow in the city (apparently next Tuesday already) or Prince Charles (the club, it is) anniversary with some amazing DJs coming up like Theo Parrish or Moodymann. Plus hopefully Donald Trump losing the elections very soon. In any case, happy 29th Nov everyone!

This is my church

Kraftwerk stands for the ‘power station’ in German. And there are quite a few of them remaining in the centre of Berlin nowadays, including the overpraised Berghain. Its worship makes it for one of the strongest religious movements these days and it’s only a matter of time when the local authorities will start charging for the techno tax, in my humble opinion. But there is also an actual Kraftwerk in Mitte, used only for specific venues, such as The Long Now / Atonal or currently: CTM.

So while awaiting the Deep Web performance and Robert Henke’s concert, I decided to share the set of photos that comes from the 2015 edition of Berlin Atonal festival. During some five hot days in August last year, I was lucky to praise and dance to some amazing artists, such as Ugangan Methods (Ancient Methods + Regis), Shackleton, Alessandro Cortini, Kanding Ray, Varg, Shed, Samuel Kerridge, Lakker (who presented the amazing Tundra works), and many others. I remember the very powerful opening with the voices of the Chor der Kulturen der Welt in this mighty space, as well as the screening of ‘Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay’ by Amélie Ravalec and Travis Collins. 

The light and sound installations set up in the basements and various labyrynths of Kraftwerk were also ery hypnotizing, almost sleepwalking ambience. So after all, I wonder why isn’t it a spot for regular events? I guess the overwhelming size of it, and the magical atmosphere of it just doesn’t match a regular Klubnacht. I think though that if Berghain is a parochial church, Kraftwerk is the cathedral, following the sacred metaphore.

So, see you at the black (laser?) mass on Sunday!

Special thanks goes to: Aldona Weicher, the author of the featuring photo and lately my favourite profile cover. You captured me, the place and the closing moment perfectly!

Berlin Radio

When I was a kid, I remember being haunted by a recurring nightmare that I am being exposed to a radio that can’t be turned off and forced to listen to very bad music and news 24/7. After years of autoanalysis, I obviously put the blame on my parents who made sure that I receive a proper music education from the early years: exposing me to piano and singing classes few times per week. So at the age of 8 or so, I composed my first VERY abstract ‘track’ on my synthesiser. Later I discovered it had something to do with Theo Parrish early experiments. And thus, I developed very low tolerance to bullshit and mainstream sounds.

Music has determined many of my life choices, including the places of residence and travel destinations. And as for my childhood nightmare, last year I discovered someone flipping it into a dream. Aybee, US-origin DJ, filmmaker and producer, currently based in Berlin, created a very interesting story of a journey of a radio throughout different neighbourhoods of the city. I was very happy to see that the radio was broadcasting very deep sounds that were simply ticking the right knobs of my brain. As well as that the people paid attention to it, contrary to the stereotype that Berlin is a cold city full of very indifferent people. But well, to be fair, this radio met people like Ari, Fred P or Levon Vincent on its way. It also passed my house a few times, no wonder why.

All of these DJs are regularly playing in various venues and combine that unique Detroit-Chicago-Berlin flavour. Be it techno, be it soul, be it house or whatever you call it (as I hate labels, I prefer – following my dear friend Enclave – using colours or temperatures to describe music), if I found this radio on the Michaelbruecke, I’d adopt it for life. Just check it out (Aybee is playing regularly in Panorama Bar or Tresor, too) and fall in love with Berlin once again.

Detroit B2B Berlin

Cold days = getting sick. Getting sick = managing to read all the pending stuff I wanted to. A Pulitzer-winning author, Charlie LeDuff was one of those on the waiting list on my shelf. Detroit-born writer and journalist stole my sick days with his reportage ‘Detroit: An American Autopsy’. Although I have never been to Detroit, it’s on my travel list since ages. I have also watched tones of the documentaries about this fascinating city, such as:

Also, my fascination with the remote and abandoned places, urban apocalipse and related started a while ago. Only in Berlin though I realised how many stories of the ‘wounded cities’ that once used to be flourishing with industrial jobs are hidden in the abandoned factories and warehouses. Berlin is a perfect place of offering such places a second life, often linked to great cultural venues, such as Stattbad (no longer existing though), Kraftwerk and Tresor anyway, Berghain, Urban Spree and many more which I still did not manage to describe here. There is still a full list of horrifying, dreadful and yet absolutely fascinating decay buildings for me to discover.

So not only postindustrial images, but also the emerging creativity links Detroit with Berlin. Obviously, both cities offer strikingly different vision on the social welfare, and supporting the cultural scene, but the fact is that techno music was born in parallel both in Detroit, and in Berlin. It emerged from the painful history, and events. And from extraordinary creative energy. Some interesting facts are gathered in the following documentary:

Nowadays there are many DJs from Detroit based in Berlin as permanent residents, and enriching the techno culture. Berlin wouldn’t offer the sounds we hear nowadays, if it wasn’t for Detroit. So, being relatively in a better shape, thanks to the economy based on the tech and creative industry, Berlin owes a lot to Detroit.

Cheerful weekend on the Green Island

Fully conscious that lately I actually spend more time outside of Berlin, this must reflect the content of the blog. The fact is that even though German capital still lacks a proper international airport, it is fairly easy to pick any European destination and be there within less than 2 hours. So, the last weekend I’ve visited my friend in Dublin and got a bit of the Irish taste! See some of my Dubliner impressions below:‘Famine’ – set of sculptures situated on the Liffey River bank, commemorating the tragedy of Irish people early in the 20th century.
You like them or not, seagulls seem to rule the city. And seem to be proud of it.Where different cultures & styles melt.
And the legendary Molly Malone meets the modern-day (?) musicians.Where parks are, on average, located within 300-400 m reach. Wherever you are.
Where the modern meets the mighty Nature – here’s the Energy Theatre.And you’re always so close to the sea.
Or romantic canal docks anyway. Seagulls again.Where the postindustial architecture meets water, steel and glass.
Or again: the Green.Where even the National Music Hall is green.
And the whole city is so colourful at night – as if it wanted to draw the usual, grey sky away.
Where you can hike safely on the cliffs just within 20 minutes reach from the city centre.A weekend deal is perfect to visit Dublin and surroundings, you’d need much more time to explore the whole country though. Having visited many Nordic and British cities, I have to say that Dublin – with its variety of great bars, restaurants within the walking distance and, most importantly, friendly people, is a definitely a must-go on the to-do list. And then again, it is always great to be back in Berlin!

A Dark History of Tresor

Sounds brought from Berlin has always inspired not only myself, but also klein aber fein electronic music groovement in my city of origin: Poznań. When I turned enough old to enter clubs in the early 2000s, my journey through the inspirational genres of house, techno and broken beats started and never really stopped, just the amount of time I put in the search for it, had to somehow decrease.

Back in a day the scene in Poznań seemed the most open-minded, at least comparing to other Polish cities. Shortly before the times of conservative backlash that obviously influenced the music scene too. I realized it is coming back to its interesting shape again nowadays, but all this would not happen if it wasn’t for the Tresor club and the influence of the capital city of techno nearby. And I am obviously not thinking about Warsaw.

So back when I was still considering my ‘career’ as a DJ, the natural consequence after getting to know where all the vinyl goodness had come from, was to step on the train and within 2,5 hours reach Kreuzberg to spend a couple of hours in the hottest vinyl stores at the time. Sometimes I was quite lucky to get a permission from my rather liberal parents to come back a few days later, so I could experience just a little bit of what now often is considered a history, like Tresor club, Maria am Ufer or Bar25.

This is where I discovered the sounds from another inspirational city: Detroit and fell in love forever with this crazy, dark deepness of the most organic of the electronic genres. Juan Atkins, Anonym Huisman, Jeff Mills, Theo Parrish and more recently: Fred P, Mike Huckaby are to be named as at least a few who shaped my taste for today. And the Detroit influence over Berlin deserves at least a separate entry!

So last Friday, 13th March 2015, Tresor celebrated its 24th birthday. The new location after re-visiting for a while now did not feel the same magic as the original one. Also, I am no longer such a reckless and restless clubbing aficionado. However, what should be said is that Tresor keeps on bringing deep and still interesting sounds to a wider audience in times when techno turns kind of mainstream and recognizable.

When writing about the history, it is also important to mention its impact on the current happenings. In my humble opinion, the dark and stark sound and vision of the technoworld can be represented by the 29th Nov movies channel with regular uploads of a very surprising content. I always discover the new artists while watching 29th Nov’s new productions. For instance, on a gloomy Sunday like today, these tracks can definitely reflect the bleak Berliner moods best Endlec – Darkness Approaches and Iñigo Kennedy – Plaintive.

Don’t forget to go home

It is not absolutely necessary to wait for the weekend when in Berlin. Often during the week even more interesting things are happening: for instance, the Boiler Room session which took place in Stattbad only last Wednesday. Totally acceptable to the civilised-schedule and rather sober techno-aficionados as it started off as early as 8 pm. There are regular parties happening early-Wednesday-mornings or Sunday-late-afternoon.

There is obviously more craziness going on, but comparing with the past years of the techno evolution (some 20 years ago), Berlin seems like a tranquility mecca, at the same time being not losing its glory of the island of creativity. I have gathered  some of the documentary movies picturing the milestones of the city’s history watched through the darkened techno lenses:

Technocity Berlin – epic documentary from the 90s (in German)

Children of Berlin – what was then – this is now

Don’t forget to go home – a short history of Berghain, or rather formerly Ostgut

Watergate X – a journey to one of the weekends at the Spree bank’s famous location…

Meanwhile, the spring has come slowly, but surely and the bleakness of the city seems to be washed away with the rays of sun. And I am so much looking forward to wearing sunglasses not only at night.