The Berlin Spirit

berlin

While writing these lines, I am on the bus, leaving Berlin. I am vividly replaying last week’s highlights in my mind. Am I ready to leave the city, that never was just a city but a spirit, behind?

No, I am not, never was.

Therein lies the lure of Berlin. The city catches you in its spell and before you realise it it holds you hostage without a ransom. Like a drug it captivates you in an eternal dream. To lose oneself in a world of fun or drown in a pool of opportunities is easy. Many open-minded people seek their luck in Berlin, because it promises freedom.

Countless times I have enjoyed the energy and atmosphere of Germany’s capital city, at which I arrived on a Saturday midnight in Berlin’s West end. I hurried immediately to Urban Spree, as there was an event I didn’t want to miss.

Urban Spree is part of the alternative quarter Warschauer Straße in Friedrichshain, where on this night a concert by French synthwave duo Opale was taking place. Fortunately, the concert just started when I arrived there. Like engineers the two girls were operating their instruments and provided a pleasurable soundscape experience.

 

As always when I am in Berlin I was hanging out in the café An einem Sonntag im August during the days, reading, writing, meeting people. If you are as specific about the quality of your coffee and a cosy atmosphere as I am, I recommend you sincerely to visit this place on your next Berlin trip.

On Monday I met with Andrew Jigalin, drummer of Australian trio Ascetic:. Together with a group of friends we had a blast at Berlin’s Duncker Club, where every Monday there is  an old-school wave/gothic night.

The backyard of Duncker is a place where people can talk, smoke and make new friends. There I got acquainted with Marta from Warsaw, one half of darkwave duo Monowelt who recently released the awesome album Rückschau.

For the next day Andrew invited me to Ascetic‘s rehearsal and I could enjoy their new album Everything is Becoming live. Wow! I was impressed! This was also an opportunity to take some great pictures of Andrew, August and Saxon. The Australians had moved to Berlin about three years ago and are feeling much more at home here than in Melbourne.

Another Australian now situated in Berlin is Zoe Zanias (former Linea Aspera, Keluar) who is also a good friend of the three guys. They collaborated on the amazing Keluar song ‘Rupture’. Zoe invited me to listen to her DJ-set at the legendary KitKat Club on Friday.

 

I thought that techno was a 90s thing that died out in the early 2000s. In Berlin there is a huge revival of techno culture going on. Renowned clubs like Berghain and Tresor are known to have strict face controls, but once you are in (almost) everything’s allowed. Even more is this true for the KitKat Club. Founded by an Austrian porn producer and his wife, KitKat is a place where sexual interaction is not just allowed, but encouraged. I stayed for Zoe’s DJ set (which was quite danceable) and left for the Dark Summer Night at Duncker Club, where I had a nice long chat with Marta from Monowelt.

When I went home it was already bright daylight. In summer the nights in Berlin are quite short. Until 23:00 there is still some light and the sun rises again at about 04:00. In the beginning this was confusing but I actually enjoyed it. In winter, however, it is the other way round.

Lola Kumtus live @ ACUD macht neu

Lola Kumtus live @ ACUD macht neu

The next day we decided to go to to a small synthwave festival organised by DJ-team Herzschlag. Three concerts in the small club ACUD macht neu in Prenzlauer Berg. It was great to see Froe Char and Dolina live, but the revelation of that night was definitely Lola Kumtus from Finland.

The day before I left I met August and Saxon for a coffee at my favourite café. Also Andrew dropped by for a moment just to say goodbye and to give me a cool Ascetic t-shirt and a vinyl of Everything is Becoming. It was a great pleasure to talk to the guys about their band, their life in Berlin compared to Melbourne and about music in general.

August and Saxon from ASCETIC:

August and Saxon from ASCETIC:

As the bus driver announces that we arrived at Vienna I realise that I have to let loose of Berlin for now and continue my journey for other adventures.

But for now I need some relaxing time in the Slovenian nature.

Soča river in Slovenia

About André Savetier

Since 2011 André Savetier is actively working as a music journalist with an expertise on contemporary new wave music phenomena. His scientific specialization is anthropology of music and anthropology of popular culture. Savetier remains intrigued by the interplay between the aforementioned social phenomena, the told (and untold) legends of music and its roots.

One Thought on “The Berlin Spirit

  1. Nice trip and story, thanks for sharing) I want to have relaxing time in the Slovenian nature either!

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