Music Montag: Best of Berlin 2014

by James Glazebrook

There’s nothing like a Music Montag end of year playlist to make you realise just how diverse the Berlin music scene is! Bookended by classic Zoë favourites that drive home the dominance of the city’s clubbing industry, elsewhere this year’s Best of Berlin runs the gammut of genres. There’s electro pop, indie, weirdo synth explorations, progressive metal, a healthy chunk of Bowie covers… even a hilarious advertising jingle and a track from a rock opera for kids! Hope you enjoy this pick-and-mix of the most interesting music (mostly) produced in Berlin this year. Boom.

Want to walk your ears down memory lane? Check out the Music Montag: Best of Berlin 2013 and the best of 2012.

Music Montag: Billie Ray Martin and Aerea Negrot

by James Glazebrook

Billie Ray Martin and Aerea Negrot

Two of our favourite divas together on one track! “Off The Rails” unites legendary house singer Billie Ray Martin with Aérea Negrot, one of Hercules and Love Affair’s rotating cast of characters, on an old-school, dance-around-the-handbags club track. If you like this, you should buy it on BRM’s Bandcamp, and also check out this great Electronic Beats conversation between the two singers.

Win a signed Bodi Bill art book and other goodies!

by James Glazebrook

Heads up Bodi Bill fans: we have a signed, limited edition copy of their new “MERK:WHAT” book to give away. Scroll down to see how you can get an intimate look at the guys behind beautiful Berlin music like this:

The “MERK:WHAT” project existed in the minds of Bodi Bill for a long time. Berlin photographer and good friend Rosa Merk joined the band on tour last year, and took a series of intimate pictures of them both on- and backstage. She was there to capture the joy, the tears, the ecstasy… and the rain! The result is a 96-page, limited edition, hot pink book – and we have a signed copy to give away! If your German’s up to it, you can read about the book and the glamorous Berlin launch party on the Disaronno blog.

Bodi Bill on stage

Reading “MERK:WHAT” is so much like actually being there, that we thought you’d need some extra goodies while you’re fantasising that you’re on tour with the band. We’re throwing in a luxurious Traveler’s Notebook to record your memories (“Fabian just winked at me – swoon”), and a suitably sophisticated DVD to watch on the tour bus – (in your head) the guys *will* be impressed!

Bodi Bill grand prize

The complete GRAND PRIZE:

1 x Bodi Bill “MERK:WHAT” book, signed by all three band members and the photographer. Limited edition (32/500).

1 x Midori Traveler’s Notebook, passport size, in handcut leather complete with set of inserts (ruled, grid and plain paper; zipper and cardfile; alphabet stencils; and a limited edition Traveler’s Passport). Worth over €60 in total.

1 x  Billie Ray Martin DVD, “Five Takes (A Song About Andy)” in 8 panel deluxe silver metallic packaging.

Plus Billie Ray Martin DVDs for 2 lucky runners-up

To be in with a chance of winning these sweet prizes, just leave us a comment below. You have until the end of Sunday 9th September, when we’ll pick our winner and two runners-up. Good luck!

Billie Ray Martin X Andy Warhol

by James Glazebrook

Billie Ray Martin Andy Warhol

We’re big fans of both Billie Ray Martin and Andy Warhol, which is why we’re looking forward to the latest project from Berlin’s “queen of electronic soul”, Five Takes (A song about Andy). BRM is unveiling Five Takes at a very special event at the Art’otel (Warhol Hotel) Berlin, who are offering a discount room rate to anyone in town for the event. But first, a few words from the artist behind the work:

Billie Ray Martin releases this 8 panel deluxe DVD, featuring five movies inspired by Andy Warhol‘s Screen Tests and printed in colour and silver metallic. The song “On Borrowed Time” deals with Andy’s fictional confession, in which he reflects on his existence and a life he always experienced as less than real. With music by electronic producer and soul singer Waterson, who is riding high on the airwaves with his single “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”.

Why not join us to see this intriguing work revealed on Thursday 2nd August? For more details, and for a peek behind the scenes of the making of the films, join the Facebook event here. To book a room at the Art’otel City Centre West for just €60, just give them a call and mention this event. See you in there. Did we mention that Warhol wigs are compulsory?*

Billie Ray Martin black and white

*no, not really

Music Montag: Mode, MOTOR and the Martins

by James Glazebrook

Depeche Mode, 1993

What a great week for Depeche Mode fans! Firstly, Martin Gore has added vocals to the title track of MOTOR‘s brand new album, Man Made Machine. Check out his contribution below, and visit Amazon to pick up a silver foil-packed copy of the album (which also features our other favourite Martin, Billie Ray – Berlin’s queen of electronic soul).

Then on Friday, I’ll be DJing at Feeling Modey, Feeling Gloomy Berlin’s Depeche Mode party. Click here for full details, but all you *really* need to know is that I’ll be playing back-to-back classics from Mode and their offshoots, and that it will be five times as awesome as my already-pretty-awesome playlist below. It’s going to be MORE THAN A PARTY! (yeah?)

Music Montag: Billie Ray Martin

by James Glazebrook

Billie Ray Martin
Too much man-ass.

That’s my only criticism of the artful new video from “queen of electronic soul” Billie Ray Martin. High concept, high drama, with washed-out colours and abstract cinematography, “Anatomy Of A Plastic Girl” tells the tale of

a young wannabe actress in L.A. who reflects on her facial surgery that has left her scarred and punctured with holes inside and out

…but, thankfully, not all that graphically.

Equally inventive is Martin’s new album, Hollywood Under the Knife, a co-production with Norwegian musician Robert Solheim – together, The Opiates. Wrapped in Wolfgang Tillmans imagery, it contains intricate character sketches of nine different misfits, each given voice by the singer’s pristine, powerful vocals. It might sound odd and off-putting, but some hack’s description of The Opiates as “the electronic Carpenters” is pretty dead-on.

Ignore Martin’s past as frontwoman for S’Xpress, The Grid etc. and treat this not so much as a new chapter, as a whole new storybook. Turn the page…

This article originally appeared on Bang Bang Berlin.