Showing posts from November, 2012

Review: Dub Der Guten Hoffnung @ Subland

We only dropped in to Dub der guten Hoffnung at Subland to take a quick look, which is exactly how crazy nights usually start.  My friend had never been to the venue in the industrial Lichtenberg/Friedrichshain borderland and I decided that he had to check it out.

"Where are you taking me?" he squeaked as we turned off of Gurtelstrasse and down a street that seemed to be made entirely of eroded pavements, ragged brickwork, rusting gates and graffitti.  I laughed evilly.  After a few minutes, he seemed about to make a break for it but just then, and with perfect timing, the venue appeared.  As we walked alongside it, the audible bass coming through the wall started to calm my friend.  I pointed to an iron-barred grill at street level with ghostly blue light glowing through it.

"That's where the party is," I said, and his face started going pale all over again.   

It was all I could do to drag him through the club gate and into the courtyard of Subland. The tow…

Review: Farbfernseher

A few weeks back I got an email from a reader asking for recomendations of a "few nice bars with good techy house tunes with a bit minimalistic sounds".  I sent them to Farbfernseher and they wrote back later to tell me that they had gotten turned away by the bouncer because they had knocked on the club's door, a move that the bouncer took issue with.

Stories like that make me wonder why Berlin clubs bother hiring bouncers.  They clearly don't have enough real work to do - people here are generally too well-behaved for that - and the result is that they turn on the punters instead and for increasingly petty 'infractions'.  Fascism is alive and well in the ranks of Berlin's door staff, it seems... or maybe it's just testosterone?  The question is, how long can the scene put up with their nonsense before they start to demand tighter official regulation of the Berlin bouncer mob and Berlin clubs in general?  When that day eventually comes and word-of-mou…

Comment: The Song Remains the Same?

I often get accused of taking clubbing too seriously but that's simply not true.  I find clubbing fun - and, at times, funny - but serious? Don't make me laugh (pardon the pun). In a club, I know I can go through the motions of change but that's all. No matter how far I get, I know that at some point, the lights will go up, the bouncer will shepherd me out the door, the floor will be swept and all traces of whatever transformation I experienced there will be removed. The club is not a community center, after all: it's a product and as such, it needs to be consistent. Any alterations by its users have to be removed, its original shape restored, before it can be re-packaged and re-sold. How could somebody who is committed to real change take that seriously?

A recent article about the crisis of creativity in dance music made it clear to me that some DJs and producers have a way more serious view of the club scene than little old me, though.

"Artists who want to h…

Preview: Something else for the weekend...

I thought that my previous Preview would sum up the first two weeks  in November quite neatly.  Well apparently, I thought wrong!  Late additions to this weekend's party recommendations have been pouring in through my wireless router so fast that I think it's actually starting to melt... kind of like my brain, which has been working overtime to keep up.

Experimental dub techno will join forces with wobbling, twisted vocals and confuse everybody in the room as one half of the Swedish duo Telebild takes to the decks tonight, at  Du Alter Schweder in Eschloraque. That should make for a good talking point - not that it's generally difficult to  talk to strangers and this comfy alt.Berlin lounge bar.  The flow of unpretentious out-of-towners is pretty constant, thanks to the Monster Kabinett underground-tourist-attraction that's situated next door.  

Tomorrow, Zero2Nine will be taking over Cube Club in Neuk├Âlln for a night of pristinely erratic beats by Drumcode DJs, playi…

Opinion: Love Techno, Hate Sexism!

I went to an underground techno party a while back.  There were a lot of guys there.  Guys playing great music, guys working on the door, guys hanging out by the decks and bar and even guys dancing.I wanted to dance too, but I had a problem focusing on the music because I was distracted by the dance floor's only decoration: an inflatable sex doll hanging by her neck with her wrists tied behind her back.

At the majority of underground techno parties I've been to, decor was of the bring-your-own variety; whatever was there represented the views of people in the crowd.After a few tracks, I decided that I didn't like the view represented by whoever had  brought this inflatable murder victim.Their view seemed to be, “Violence against women is a sort-of sexy joke”.Maybe a very angry man would agree that it is, but most women would not.  They would tell you that a cloud of potential violence already hangs over their heads, kind of like how that inflatable doll did, and so the …

Review: Open Source Music Party

Computers, technology, music and counterculture have been intertwined since the days of rave (and earlier).  Last week's Open Source Music Party showed that their respective evolutionary steps continue to complement one another, like free-form dancers.

Governments and big business have attempted to chaperone that dance through the privatization of the Internet and the aggressive-ization of Western piracy laws. Like a bad Sheriff in a Western, they mostly have their own good in mind: greater control all things digital allows them to vet new ideas and movements for subversiveness, weed out potential competitors and harness creative energy for the purposes of financial 'progress'. Open source music is about freeing those same energies for the greater goal of creative progress.

The resourceful and versatile people behind the Retune Open Source Music Party have been keeping one step ahead of the legal and financial stumbling blocks that the Powers That Be have thrown at them.…