Experimenting in Berlin is like hanging between two flying saucers.

Finally! Last Berlin post and I promise I’ve got some cool stuff coming from Poland – be patient!

Berlin is a flat city with an incredibly rich and tumultuous 20th century history. What I find amazing about the capital is that its history is still very present and visible. At the end of WW2, just like many other German cities, Berlin was in ruins. Not knowing what to do with all the rumble it was decided to pile it all up creating 6 hills around the city disrupting its flatness. Then as the Cold War developed, the American teamed up with the English and built a huge observation post on top of one of these hills: Teufelsberg.

The station supported satellite dishes that where sheltered in four big golf-ball-like structures. Aaron, a sound engineer from Berlin, took us all the way up to the highest golf ball. The structure being empty and only composed of very reflective material you get a ridiculous acoustic phenomena – endless echoes. As the structure is round, all the reflections are redirected to the center of the dome, if you stand there for more than a few minutes I think you’d go mad! You’re madness might be cured by appreciating the spectacular view you have over the Berlin and all its surrounding.

We went there as party of five: Jack (a friend from London), Aaron, Christina (my wonderful Berlin) host, Stephan (Saxophonist I randomly met in Berlin)  and me (me). We took loads of instruments and  played around with the space pretty much all day. Unfortunately, I was so excited by the space I spent most of the time playing rather than recording, so most of what we did isn’t recorded and I made a few misjudgements of mic placement – sorry… Anyways, we recorded a selection of Jack’s songs and covers with improvised sketchy accompaniment. The most exciting thing we did was stand all around the space and singing different notes while individually searching for a resonant pitch. When a point of resonance is found we slowly start increasingly the volume. The corresponding recording is Teufelsberg by Impromptu collective.

A few days later, on the same market I recorded Sirte Trio I met Adam a crazy percussionist who played along to some Gypsy Jazz musicians (whom I recorded but have lost the files… I’m sure I’ll find them at some point, I have to! they were really good!) in a perfectly inappropriate manner that I thought was great! So I asked him if he played stuff on his own or played with a band. He said he could play some hangdrum for the project and invited me to go and record at his place the next day. After a brief chat, he told me he needed to warm up and started playing. 4-5 minutes passed and he didn’t look as if he were about to stop, thus I hit record and he went on for another 35minutes of nearly nonstop playing. So I separated the performance in 3 parts for you and then you have a piece that sounded as if it had a prepared idea (Berlin). Unfortunately, I was so absorbed by the performance I forgot to take any photos… So you’ll have to imagine him! 🙂

That’s it for Berlin! Unless I find those Gypsy Jazz recordings!

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