Monthly Archives: July 2008

Bandmaschine

studera820

Even though the Brewery Studios isn’t exactly making a profit yet (Erik mortgaged off our future grandchildren to build the place),
There’s still such a thing as taxes, and hence, it’s worth Erik buying new stuff in order to write off some of that part of the balance sheet.
It’s somehow crazy to think that less than two years ago, that same tax department was banging on our door like the gestapo, before barging in and putting a sticker on Erik’s SP1200. The red sticker meant if he didn’t pay $500 in two weeks, they would come back, take that sampler and make some bad-ass beats of their very own.
Now they are (in a round about way) enabling the purchase of next-level analog recording equipment.
I don’t really get how that works either.

Anyway, the new Studer a820 tape machine is totally awesome and E got it for a way-more-than-reasonable price from a guy in England. It records to 1/2 inch tape. And it’s really pretty to look at.

Splicing the tape is the easy part. Now E is getting into all this mega-tech arcane alignment science. And I thought he was smart for hooking up the old dishwasher that Lars gave us.

studer

open studer

studerstudio

“Where Woman is, there is also Cry”

So yesterday I was driving along the foot of the Austrian alps with Many, in Toffi’s car. One of the highlights of being down that way – apart from the beautiful and sinister green lakes that are the colour of billiard chalk – is being able to listen to FM4 on the car radio. (You need windows media player to listen online).

I’m a fan of code-switching and an ADD approach to language (or music). FM4 is that kind of station. You’ll catch a fragment of an Austrian presenter with a booming voice, then it will switch to a man singing a beautiful accapella in an unidentified African language, before commenting in English that all his songs are about how life is painful and he is asking god to help him.
Then it’ll switch to an Austrian punk rock song, then an Austrian girl giving a weather report in English, then some trashy faux acid-haus by wannabee Vienna playboy Diskokaine. As Many commented, pumping his arms, “It’s not Rimini enough!”

(Rimini being an Italian seaside disco resort of the ’90s where gogo dancers in Barney Rubble costumes were likely to end up marrying short blonde DJs)

Of course, FM4 is where you can hear Heinz Reich, Erdem Tunakan and friends every Friday
presenting their 8-hour La Boum De Luxe marathon.

Below is a song by an Austrian band called Kreisky that we heard on FM4 that day. The video is not that great but the lyrics are kinda cool. The title is referring to Bob Marley (like, Duh). Wo Woman ist, das ist auch Cry.

The rest of the lyrics are something like “you didn’t create that woman, you didn’t invent her, you haven’t found her, so give her to me.”
“And now, cry cry, cry cry” (etc)

Don’t you think German is really best-suited to punk type singing?

But if you are German, you might not want to listen to it. Erik says the Austrian dialect is really annoying to him.

Just Being Frank

Frank is good at telling stories. The Detroit-raised MC has been in town this week, recording tracks with Adlib (Alphabet Zoo), who’s probably Germany’s best hip hop producer, by the way. On Thursday he laid down You Don’t Have to be a Bitch, and even sang the Om’Mas Keith-esque hook. You wouldn’t think he’d be in the mood for singing any lyrics other than those. He’s had a few ‘misunderstandings’ with a local promoter. I guess that’s all part of the fun of touring, even if some MCs are created equal. As Frank put it, Ghost Face Killer doesn’t have to put up this kind of situation (he shared a line up with the Wu Tang Clan in Copenhagen last week). Frank is far from a diva. He’s remarkably calm and cool about it all. At the local Vietnamese he recounted the story of his two-month tour to China. One minute he’s being put up in an apartment in Shanghai, by a club promoter who’s doing a nationwide tour on account of being African-American and fluent in Mandarin, and as a consequence has the mad hook ups. Apartment, driver, all of that. The next, he’s at a festival at the Taiwanese equivalent of Spring Break – sleeping on a mattress that’s so old it crumbles when he touches it. The shower and the toilet are on one surface so instead of stepping in germs, Frank satisfies himself with what he calls a ‘bird bath’ from the sink. He dusts off a little corner of the mattress and curls up to sleep (having spent two days in transit), but is woken by the promoter at midnight to have some Taiwanese jerk chicken (BTW: jerk chicken in Taiwan, WTF? I have to go to Taiwan). Later, when he tries to sleep, a saucer-sized spider appears on the wall, and an ex-army marine with long natty dreads tells him “It ain’t no thing, go to sleep.” It a brave dread who isn’t afraid of a lickle (big) spider crawling upwards. But this arachnid seems to be making it personal. Later, Frank wakes up to find the spider sitting on the ceiling directly above his face. He goes to war with the spider, only to wake to the presence of a lizard. Now he knows whose footprints he had earlier spied on the soap in the bathroom. Luckily the ex-army marine had been sitting there all night, smoking a cigarette, keeping an eye on that damn lizard.

It’s a jungle out there for touring hip hop MCs.

Speaking of stories, support Frank, go cop his records (especially the forthcoming EP with Adlib), and if you are a Dilla fan, check Youtube: Frank ‘n’ Dank are the the protégés of this era’s most influential hip hop producer. So you know, they can really tell it like it was..

http://www.myspace.com/frankndank
http://cdbaby.com/cd/franknitt
http://www.myspace.com/djadlib
http://www.brewerystudios.com

Rühr-ei

tolerance

Germany’s Love Parade yesterday attracted 1.6 million visitors to the unlikely location of Dortmund. For New Zealand readers, I would compare this to having a Love Parade in Papakura. Dortmund is located in the industrial Ruhr area, apparently Europe’s fifth largest ‘urban area’ after Moscow, London, Paris and Madrid. Polish people abound in this coal-mining region, and after WWII the area became home to a large number of Turkish and Italian ‘guest workers’ as well.

The Italian ‘ndrangheta mafia clan have established something of a stronghold there, causing a stir last year with five sensational murders in Duisberg.

Maybe that’s part of why the region agreed to hold three successive Love Parades (last year’s was in Essen, which is also in the Ruhr area), despite the security and sanitation head-aches suffered in its long-time location of Berlin.

The mayor of Dortmund presented this new, upbeat face of Ruhr on TV in a ketchup red t-shirt with some crazy yellow graphic on it, while self-professed ‘stadium minimal’ jock Dubfire rocked the proletariats (‘prols’ as they call them in Deutschland). Then the camera turned to some good-natured grannies who were dancing around in plastic Hawaiian leis. They were probably the cutest thing about the footage. And by the way, ‘stadium minimal’ is probably not such a stretch from the persistent beat of schlager music (Germany’s ‘party pop’ for old people).

It’s hard to imagine now, but for the first couple of years (back in the early ’90s), the Love Parade really was a celebration for music lovers, queers and true freaks (not just office workers in body paint). Even my workmate Wulf confesses to having danced on a speaker stack there in purple leggings. That was just what you did. But things were different. Back then, Moby even had a few OK songs. I can vouch for it: I had one on a mix-cassette from a local radio show in New Zealand. (I didn’t wear leggings but I did copy some gothic purple eye-paint from a story on rave culture in i-D magazine. Hey, I was 13.).

My boss Torsten says the second Love Parade, the one when it rained, was the best. You can imagine the fun to be had, with a straggling crowd of anarchists on ecstasy.

The Love Parade today is far from anarchistic. But musically, it could be worse. Dubfire (once part of US deep house act Deep Dish) is still marginally better than, say Paul Oakenfold or Tiesto.

Needless to say, we didn’t visit the Love Parade, but we did accidentally end up on a train headed to the Love Parade (we were going to nearby Düsseldorf for Japanese groceries). Despite Deutschebahn supposedly adding 500 trains to the networks that day, it was packed, and clouded with smoke of both varieties.

manyazis

The antics of the techno gangbangers above led the kids sitting next to us to grumble about the ‘azis’ (German for bogans or white trash). ‘C’mon’, I wanted to ask them, ‘Did you really think this was going to be 1.6 million people who are all there because they really, really love Dubfire?’

azis

Who do you think the Spiegel showed photos of in their coverage? Techno gangbangers getting down with the Ruhr area’s Turkish, Italian and Polish Germans in a symbolic act of unity: or ugly girls with bare breasts?
Like Nas said, it ain’t hard to tell

There was only one way to deal with this long, tangled journey, with prolonged stops in Benrath and Leverkusen as the train attendants struggled to get people to mind the closing doors.

emocouple

Where Am I?

Rheinpark

Seilbahn

Theatre

Seilbahn 2

Another Big Idea

Everybody’s talking
But I find to hard to hear
They’re all explaining something new
(It happens every day)
A new inspiration that can change my way of life
Another big idea
And then they disappear 

Undercover at the airport
I saw your smiling face
But I don’t have a place to go
So leave a flower or you can fax me

This sinister spin
The state that I’m in
The words that I’ve read
Keep going round my head
Been driving me crazy for years