Monthly Archives: June 2012

Longing for a good cup of English tea in Berlin

For today I shall keep the texts short otherwise I feel I’ll be bombarding you with information! So here are some recordings from Jeffrey Sanders an English teacher from LA. He has recently moved to Berlin with his girlfriend who’s from the UK. They kindly invited me for lunch and we had a great  conversation about cultural traditions that are missed when travelling. With two British people in the room, the conversation inevitably drifted towards tea…

Anyways, after a few cups of not quite English tea and nice homemade pizzas, the sun was begging us to go and record outside. So we set out to find a nice location. When we did, we tried to record but the wind was causing too much of a problem. Thus, we decided to head back to record in the quiet of their appartement. Recordings finished, we set out again for a great afternoon/evening of the Berlin experience – it involved a great outdoor mini festival in an abandoned factory area followed by beer in a cozy little bar that didn’t close at 11pm.

Jeffrey ended up singing a long string of songs for the project like some sort of stream of consciousness expressing itself through music (!?). Unfortunately, many of those were rendered not useable by the wind. So here are the recordings that weren’t ruined by the annoying yet great natural phenomenon that I mentioned in the previous sentence (and in two others in the above text)!

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Express update

When I arrived in Berlin last Tuesday, I cycled around doing all the touristy stuff with all my luggage. This was a stupid thing to do as I put a lot of strain in my leading  knee by having to stop and start at every other junction… My right knee was alright for a few days but then a little tingling pain arose. It didn’t worry me too much as it quickly disappeared again. However, yesterday, when it reappeared and prevented me from walking properly I started to get worried. So I was planning on leaving for Poznan today but instead I’m going to give my whole body a good days rest.
I’ll set out tomorrow and will compensate by taking the train for part of the way between Poznan and Warsaw.

The positive side of this day’s break is that I have an entire day to go through all the recordings I’ve been doing for the past week and share them with you!! So look out for a series of updates!

 

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Busy Berlin!

It’s been a week since Doppler and me arrived in Berlin! As from when I arrived, I haven’t had time to stop and update the website! So I had to put this morning aside to give you updates!

The first band I recorded last Wednesday is a newly formed duo called Volcano Victims (formerly ‘Pilvet’). The groupe is composed of Gaui from Iceland and Yuri from Japan. Both moved to Berlin to pursue their interests in music and art. They welcomed me in Yuri’s home and played two songs for the project – one original and one cover. After a nice little chat and a few drinks Yuri kindly handed me over a CD of her own stuff she recorded back in Japan. If you like the recordings I invite you to go and have a listen to her stuff: http://justriangle.com/

Then on the Friday I was to meet up with Jan on the other side of town. I set out much earlier than I needed in order to wander round the streets of Berlin. Going through a market close to where I’m staying, I very unexpectedly passed two American’s playing some cool country stuff. So I hit the brakes on my bike and went to talk to them. One of them has slowly been making his way up from Greece to get to a friends wedding in Berlin, the other just arrived to join the former for the wedding and bit more of European exploration. There names were Adams and Peter.

When I finally got to you Jan’s place I parked my bike and walked into a very welcoming household of two. To get to the common room one needs to walk through Jan’s room which was dotted with weird instruments and two new speakers he’d found in the road. The shared room also homes quite a few instruments, notably two old organs and drum kit. As I was fiddling around with one of the organ’s, Jan wrote out the chords of his song and invited me to accompany him. I tried to (as you’ll here in the background of one the recordings) and wasn’t given a second chance!
Soon after Jan was joined by his music friend Hagen who wonderfully plays guitar and harmonica (I was told he plays other instruments but can’t remember which!). Together they organise an open mic night in a place called Mastul. Everyone is welcome to perform, and if one wants, can be accompanied by who ever is present! They called the event Sing Dein Ding (German for ‘Sing your thing’). So after playing some of there songs as a duo, they accompanied Jan’s housemate Swarali singing a Hindi song called ‘Yaaro Dosti’ by Leslie Lewis. The song is about friendship and love – improvising an accompaniment to it on the spot was a very nice way to accompany the songs meaning!

There is more to come! but it’ll have to wait!! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these recordings!

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Entr’acte from Paris

Bruno Labraska – El Desdichado by Gerard de Nérval from RecordandRide on Vimeo.

Filmed in the Forum des Halles in Paris with Bruno Labrasca. For more about him and other recordings here is the original blogpost.

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Deniz from Herrenmagazin in Hamburg

Last Friday the 2nd June, Doppler, the friend with whom I was staying in Celle and me took a train to Hamburg. There we met up with Deniz Jaspersen who took us to his parents house in the suburbs of Hamburg. After a nice cup of coffe (tea for me), we recorded four songs in a spacious and quiet living room – a big contrast to the outdoors recordings I’d done with other artists:

Deniz  is the front man of a German band called Herrenmagazin which translates as ‘Gentleman Magazine’. I’m not too sure what inspired this name – maybe it’s the close proximity of his shared apartment to the red light district of Hamburg? Anyways, the band was formed in 2004 and they signed their first contract in 2006 with Motor Records. The four members are:

Deniz Jaspersen – Guitar and vocals
Rasmus Engler – Drums
Paul Konopacka – Bass and Vocals
Torben Leske – Guitar

They’ve already released 2 albums. One in 2008 called ‘Atzelgift’ and a second one in 2011 called ‘Das wird alles einmal dir gehören’. At the fall of this year they will be entering the studio to record a third album!
If you like what you hear check out their webpage: www.herrenmusik.de or buy their nice gentleman’s coffee.

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Port of call for Sounds like Katía

So back in the Amsterdam days, on the day I spent cycling and recording round the sunny capital of the Netherlands with Sophie Ter Schure, I ended up at Katía’s house. She lives in a very beautiful part of the city very close to the center yet quiet and peaceful.  Sophie, Katía and her guitarist, Deniz, and me had a few glasses of water then headed down to their shared garden to record a few songs in the sunshine.

Deniz and Katía have decided to write a series of songs for every new season and you can download them from their website. The EP they wrote for spring will soon disappear to make place for the summer one, so while the songs are still on the website I’d go grab them as soon as possible! In the meantime, here are the songs we recorded together on the 24.05.2012 in their garden:

On the same day I recorded them, they had a little evening concert in a bar. I went to it and heard the last few songs of the supporting act. When he finished I meant to ask him if he wanted to take part in the project but the beer made me forget… The next day, I went to Volendam to record the band AlscA. After the recording, I walked out of the room and stubbled across the support act I had missed the night before! I tell him about the project as I get my recording gear ready and hit record. He goes by the name of Port of Call, his real name is Pieter Van Vliet, here is his website: http://www.portofcallmusic.com/ and here are the recordings we did together:

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Quick update – Celle, Hamburg and Berlin!

Before taking the train to Hamburg I wanted to repair my poor little Doppler who had broken spokes, slightly loose brakaes and an unhappy luggage rack… The main repair was obviously the spokes and I desperately needed a good bike shop who could either give me a pair of spokes or a new wheel. The first shop I took Doppler to greeted me with strange looks as I wheeled him in. They seemed utterly surprised when I asked if they could help. After telling them what needed to be done they said “Sorry that’s impossible! The standards for your bike are at least 20 years old! Nothing can be done unless we change the whole peddling system! Even then, no.. it’s impossible”. Although I was expecting that answer I was frustrated as I knew very well it was possible and it wasn’t as disastrous as they were acting it out! We didn’t insist and went looking for another shop.

The second shop we found had none of the corporate look the first shop had. It had all kinds of bicycles standing, hanging, old and new – the complet opposite of the overly clean, tidy with a small variety of new and up to the current perfect professional standards bicycles of the first shop. Here, the workspace was the first thing you saw when you walked in. I briefly told the man working there what I needed and after a quick glimpse at Doppler he turned to me and said “That’s fine leave it with me come back tomorrow at 5pm”. I didn’t know what to say so thanked him and was about to leave when the friend who was with me told him about this project – I gave the bicycle doctor a sticker with the address to the website and left.
The next day I arrived slightly late but found Doppler in perfect condition. He’d adjusted the spokes, the brakes, my gears and the luggage rack! When I asked how much I owed him said “Nothing, save it up for your project”. I didn’t know what to say. I asked if he was sure, he didn’t understand the word ‘sure’. He smiled and asked me where was the next stop. After a very brief chat, we left happy and in an amazingly good mood! I promised I’ll write him a postcard and I think you should all do! The shop is called Zweirad Schollmeyer and the address is Am Heiligen Kreuz 17, 29221 Celle, Germany.
And next time you need a bike repair in Celle you know where to go!

The next day, I took the train to Hamburg where I recorded a german singer songwriter (the recordings will be up soon). I stayed two nights then set out for a three day ride to Berlin!

The cycle ride was beautiful, flat and easy! On the first day I followed the Elbe cycling along variably well looked after cycle paths. I overtook and mostly was overtook by other cyclist following the Elberadweg, a route running for nearly 1000km from the start of the Elbe to where it reaches the northern sea. It was fun crossing the Elbe as the divide between East and West Germany used to partly run along it – for two days I freely crossed it on bridges and ferry boats, 20 years ago this would not have been possible and no one would have imagined doing it unless they were some sort of clever spy!  Anyways, the first night I spent not far from a beautiful little town called Dömitz on the eastern side of the river. This was my camping spot:

By the end of the second day, I left the Elbe and started to follow an other river for a bit, the Havel. It flows past Berlin, however, following it all the way would have taken me on a long detour. So I decided to swim in it then leave it. I got carried away that day and cycled 40-50 km over the 100km I’d initialy planned to do. I slept next to a field and got to the outskirts of Berlin by 10.30am the next day!

So there you go. I am now in Berlin and already have lots of recordings lined up! First one is tonight! So I’m going to be busy, I also have a last series of recordings from Amsterdam coming up in the next hour! and don’t forget to send a postcard to the bicycle shop man! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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