by James Glazebrook
Feeling nostalgic? Listen to the Best of Berlin 2012 here.
Feeling nostalgic? Listen to the Best of Berlin 2012 here.
Damn, Emika is good at covers! Last summer, we posted her version of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)”, and now the Berlin-based star has released her take on Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”, from her forthcoming album Dva. Em strips back the sex-on-the-beach classic, with her ghostly vocals floating over the top of plaintive piano and delicate beats, suggesting that her sophomore Ninja Tune release will be more orientated towards headphones than dancefloors.
What have Roxy Music, Depeche Mode and Thom Yorke all got in common? They’re all in our epic “Best of Berlin 2012″ playlist, a collection of (most of) the tracks I’ve posted on every Music Montag for a year. But what have they got to do with Berlin? Well, you’re going to have to read the original posts to find out, which you can get to via the epic list of tags at the bottom of this post.
Or you could just listen to the playlist, which features more obviously Berlin acts like Alec Empire, Bodi Bill, Pan-Pot and Modeselektor, plus local expat stars Emika, IAMX and Phia. You’ll notice that some of the more underground artists I covered haven’t yet made it to Spotify (sorry!), but otherwise this is a pretty well-rounded, surprisingly danceable mix, interrupted by the odd short, sharp metallic shock One for Silvester, maybe? Enjoy…
We love New Year’s Eve! Whether we spend it dodging fireworks on Oberbaumbrücke or tearing Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke a new k-hole, we love the excuse to get together with friends and get wasted! This year we’re planning to end up at Horst Kreuzberg’s Silvester spectacular and we have two pairs of tickets to give away to lucky readers!
Scroll down to find out how to get yourself and a friend into this awesome party (Facebook link), where Emika collaborators Brandt Brauer Frick will be DJing back-to-back, alongside Peter Van Hoesen, Evian Christ and the spectacular Objekt. To get you in the mood, here is the latter on Electronic Explorations, mixing up Jeff Mills, UR and Surgeon classics with contemporary bass tracks from Actress and Shangaan Electro.
Good luck, and Guten Rutsch!
HOW TO WIN 2 X TICKETS TO “NEW YEAR’S EVE, MY GOD, IT’S FULL OF STARS” AT HORST KREUZBERG:
Leave a comment below, telling us your full (real) name and one of your New Year’s Resolutions.
You have until 2pm on Monday 31st December to enter. Good luck!
The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):
1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. We will keep a record of each comment in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner.
3. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Monday 31st December.
How come artists based in Berlin keep covering Radiohead? Because of the same impeccable taste that brought them here, probably. Hot on the heels of PHIA’s version of “15 Step”, comes an Emika take on ”Exit Music (For a Film)”, recorded for Musikexpress’ Tribute to OK Computer. Check out the Ninja Tune star’s wonky future-garage rework after the jump.
For around 8 or 9 years I’ve lived and worked in my former apartment, which was located in one of the most vibrant renovation areas in East Berlin. The noise of the construction sites literally took over my music and I just surrendered at some point. I started to record and play around with the sounds.
Sometimes abstract and haunting…
…and sometimes, noisy and oppressive…
…Construction Sounds reminds me of Ostgun Ton’s Fünf compilation, a diverse set of tracks formed from Emika’s field recordings from inside Berghain. Emika’s one contribution as producer, “Cooling Room” turns the sounds and space of the cavernous club into a clanking, chiming musical sketch:
…all of which makes me wonder what a musician could do with our Berlin Sounds, the field recordings from around the city that you are contributing to our SoundCloud group. We have some ideas of our own, but why not listen to the clips below and let your imagination run wild – could you make music out of this?
Read the complete interview with Schneider TM over on Slow Travel Berlin.
Day 01 – My Favourite Song: Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
I hated having to chose just one favorite song, but then I played it and got chills and welled up.
Day 02 – My Least Favourite Song: Björk – It’s Oh So Quiet
It stuck out like a sore thumb on the otherwise perfect album Post; it played into the hands of both critics and fairweather fans who thought of Björk as just a kooky pop pixie (rather than a genius); it’s a Big Band number etc etc.
Day 03 – A Song That Makes You Happy: Cancer Bats – Black Metal Bicycle
“Some people call me a nihilist / Say I don’t believe in a thing / Well I know that can’t be true / Cos baby I believe in you!”
Day 04 – A Song That Makes You Sad: Nine Inch Nails – Something I Can Never Have
This has been with me, from the first girl to break my heart to the very last.
Day 05 – A Song That Reminds You of Someone: The Cure – Lovesong
Day 06 – A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere: The Grand Spectacular – Being A Dickhead’s Cool
♥ / H8 London Fields.
(BONUS BEATS! Read about the whole London Fields dickhead/hipster phenomenon here)
Day 07 – A Song That Reminds You of An Event: Booka Shade – Night Falls (Larry Gold’s ‘Night Falls Over Philly’ String Version)
When I got married I walked down the “aisle” to this. It was a tiny room so I only heard about 10 seconds of it; listening back to it confirms that this is the perfect wedding march.
Day 08 – A Song That You Know All the Words To: Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby
“Cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon!”
Day 09 – A Song That You Can Dance To: Mathew Jonson – Marionette
Day 10 – A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep: Emika – Count Backwards
No offence to the delightful Em, but this induces sonic somnolence.
(BONUS BEATS! Read my interview with Emika here)
Day 11 – A Song From Your Favorite Band: Deftones – Knife Prty
I don’t rrrreally have a favourite band but this one have never put a foot wrong.
(BONUS BEATS! I did a mix inspired by, and featuring, this track, available over here)
Day 12 – A Song From A Band You Hate: Oasis – Champagne Supernova
During the Oasis VS Blur “Britpop wars” of the 90s I was firmly on the side of FUCK YOU ALL.
This was the least shit song to some out of the whole tiresome affair.
Day 13 – A Song That Is A Guilty Pleasure: Phil Collins – Against All Odds
Only, I don’t feel one iota of guilt.
Day 14 – A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love: Kelly Clarkson – Because of You
Day 15 – A Song That Describes You: Gary Numan – Me! I Disconnect From You
The “Cars” star presages my social media addiction:
“You could tell from conversations / I was waiting by the screen… Please don’t turn me off / I don’t know what I’m doing outside”
Day 16 – A Song That You Used To Love But Now Hate: Korn – Twist
I don’t have much hate left – it took a lot out of me just championing nu metal on a daily basis. But looking back, there is plenty to be embarrassed about, particularly in Korn – all neatly encapsulated in these 50 seconds of Tazmanian-devil nonsense.
Day 17 – A Song That You Hear Often On The Radio: Iggy Pop – Blah Blah Blah
I’ve always hated radio, because there’s not enough music and there’s too much of this: blah blah blah.
(BONUS BEATS! To find out what I hear on the closest thing to radio that I listen to, check me out on last.fm)
Day 18 – A Song That You Wish You Heard On The Radio: John Cage – 4’33”
What’s with all the radio questions? Last time I checked we lived in the 21st Century and had more ways than ever to *choose* what we listen to. Why do we need radio?
Here’s what I like to hear from the radio: silence.
Day 19 – A Song From Your Favorite Album: Faith No More – Kindergarten
Day 20 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Angry: Glassjaw – Pretty Lush
Pure screamo sadomasochism. No one plays both the victim and the aggressor quite like Glassjaw.
“I wish you a broken heart and a happy new year”
Day 21 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Happy: Beastie Boys – Hey Ladies
When I’m what? Just kidding…
“Hey ladieeeeeeeeees – Get – Funkay”
Day 22 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Sad: Kanye West – Welcome to Heartbreak
This is different how to Day 04 (A Song That Makes You Sad)? Luckily I have endless reserves of miserable music. Here’s some from Kanny’s (genius) emo period. Nice jumper.
(BONUS BEATS! Here’s the EMO TEARZ ;_( playlist I put together to coincide with an article I wrote for the print version of Pamflet. Sorry, Spotify again!)
Day 23 – A Song That You Want To Play At Your Wedding: Art of Noise – Moments in Love
I’ve already used mine and Zoë’s wedding march (Day 07), so this is for when I take a second wife. By then I’ll be so cursed I won’t worry it being a bad omen (it also soundtracked Madonna and Sean Penn’s nuptials).
Day 24 – A Song That You Want To Play At Your Funeral: Haste The Day – When Everything Falls
Because of the triumph-over-death lyrics, because of the Christian message that my parents may be able to tease out, but mostly because I’ll have a captive audience.
“I will stand, I will stand / When everything falls away / I will fight this war forever, or until I die”
(BONUS BEATS! An article I wrote when I first discovered Christian metal † \m/ † )
Day 25 – A Song That Makes You Laugh: Liam Lynch – United States of Whatever
Day 26 – A Song That You Can Play On An Instrument: Nirvana – About A Girl
The first few chords at least.
Day 27 – A Song That You Wish You Could Play: Fleetwood Mac – Big Love
I’m normally of the opinion that acoustic guitars are for gays, but Lyndsey Buckingham rips it with this.
Day 28 – A Song That Makes You Feel Guilty: Estelle – Someone Like You
Day 29 – A Song From Your Childhood: Michael Jackson – Thriller
One of my few childhood memories is pouring over the sleeve of this record on our dining room floor.
Day 30 – Your Favorite Song At This Time Last Year: Obituary – Final Thoughts
Who can remember back that far? I can’t, but I faintly listening to a lot of Obituary after seeing them live (the night before this video was recorded). Enjoy!
Electronic artist Emika cut her teeth on Bristol bass music, before moving to Berlin back in 2008. A Berghain fanatic-turned-collaborator, she recorded sounds around the club from which the resident DJs created tracks for in-house label Ostgut Ton’s Fünf compilation. She has lent her enigmatic vocals to local scenesters MyMy, Paul Frick and Tommy Four Seven, and released her own tracks on Ninja Tune – the dynamic and ethereal “Drop the Other” and “Double Edge”, and the meditative “Count Backwards”. This summer, she releases another EP before her hotly anticipated debut album, and plays a handful of select gigs. I caught up with her to find out how she fell in love with Berlin in the first place.
What has it meant to you, moving to Berlin?
Oh my god – everything.
It wasn’t a decision made for my career or my music to move here. I didn’t know about Berghain until maybe three months after moving here. I’d never really listened to techno – I was really into drum n’ bass, and dubstep and hip hop. I didn’t really know anything about Berlin, and that the music culture was so interesting.
So how come you ended up here?
This is kind of silly: I got a free flight when I upgraded my bank account!
And the first night I was here, I went to Watergate. As I was leaving, this guy started talking to me – and he is now one of my best friends. I totally fell in love with him – not in a romantic way – and he took me to flea markets, took me all around the city, let me stay with him, introduced me to his friends here.
So yeah, I fell in love with him, and his friends, and moved here to work as an au pair and a few months later I discovered, “WOW, there’s this thing called techno! I quite like techno!” From there I discovered Hard Wax, the record store, and very slowly educated myself – OK, there’s this scene in Detroit and this scene in Chicago… I didn’t know about any of this stuff before I moved here.
What’s so special about Berlin?
The feeling when I’m here, it’s much like the feeling when I first came to Berlin. When I get off the train at Warschauer Strasse, I still get the feeling of “Oh, I love it here!” I can’t explain it – I mean, when you look around you the place looks like a dump, there’s dog shit everywhere, and there’s graffiti everywhere and everyone’s broke and everyone looks drunk half the time… I don’t know what it is, there’s just a certain magic in the air here.
How did you end up collaborating with Berghain?
Well [resident and Ostgut Ton manager] Nick Höppner was DJing and I was trying to make a cigarette. I was really drunk and was trying to roll up on the decks, which swing – they’re not attached to the ground. I tried to get my jacket to get something, and I knocked the needle off the record and the music stopped. And I was like, “Oh my God.” It was the one and only time when I thought, “Yeah, I know the DJ and yeah, I’m going to go behind the decks and make a fag!” and I just killed the party. I was like, “Nooooooo!”
Anyway, in that moment, when the music stopped, I leaned against the wall and there was this strange echo. You could hear the people and it was like the whole building stopped resonating when the music stopped, and it was like “vwooom”. And I totally forgot that the music had stopped and I looked around at all the stuff that makes sound – the lights and the fog machine and the bar and the people and the floor and the ceiling, and the shutters in Panorama Bar on the outside. There’s so much stuff that makes sound phenomena on its own.
And that’s when it was just like “ping!” I was stood there dancing next to Nick Höppner, and I was thinking, “Oh my God, I can record a sound library and it can be amazing…” And then it just evolved from there. But there was this moment, when I realised, “Oh my god, Berghain got voted number one club in the world, and there’s this thing about, ‘it’s so hard to get into’…” And then I worried about how I would be perceived in the media, people thinking, “Oh here’s this girl, and she’s now over here doing something with Berghain.” And it wasn’t like that. It’s really about the sounds in that place – it’s not about me at all. It could have been anyone in there with a mic, recording that stuff, it just happened to be me.
And you recorded some vocals at Die Teufelsberg, right?
Oh, that was the scariest thing in my life.
First, I went there with my friend. There’s a listening station right at the top, which you can access – it’s pretty dangerous, lots of gaps in the stairs and stuff like that. And there’s this huge, huge door, which was shut, and I didn’t want to go in there. But my friend was like, “Come on lets do it!” and got this crowbar! By the time we got in it was totally dark outside, but we didn’t realise, and the door slammed behind us and we couldn’t get out. It was so terrifying!
Anyway, this listening tower is a perfect sphere shape – you can say “ah” and it’ll carry on for about 20 seconds, just all around you. Suddenly it’s like there’s a choir of people singing with you. And it’s so trippy! So we go back there a week later, and I take my laptop and microphones and stuff, and I recorded an hour’s worth of singing. I got home and listened to the recordings and it was just noise – like this strange “kkkst” noise, with like Russian radio.
I went back again, and had a different microphone set up that time, and that time recorded my voice fine. I have no idea, I don’t know how that stuff works… At the end of my video for Double Edge, I cut in some of the sound. So weird, so weird…
So that’s the magic in the air?
You’ve been here for three years - do you feel like a Berliner now?
I feel like a Berlin fan. It could be a whole lifetime’s journey to really understand the history of Berlin, and the nature of the society and the people here, the energy here. I don’t think it’s every going to be something where I think, “Yep, that’s it – I’m a Berliner now!” But I definitely feel like I’ve made a home for myself here.
This article originally appeared on Bang Bang Berlin.