Tag Archives: Music

Ohrwurm: Bill Bailey Kraftwerk Tribute

Bill Bailey Tribute to Kraftwerk - Still from Part Troll DVD

Photo: Bill Bailey Tribute to Kraftwerk – still from the Part Troll DVD

“I would like now to present another tribute to a favourite band of mine – Kraftwerk”, says Bill Bailey.  “This is one of their lesser-known tracks…lesser-performed tracks, which I’d like to give a rare airing to tonight so this is my tribute to Kraftwerk.”  What follows, I hope you’ll agree is genius.

If anyone is unfamiliar with Kraftwerk you should check out Sunday Documentary: Krautrock – The Rebirth of Germany.

I won’t say any more for now because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Bill Bailey Kraftwerk Tribute

The attention to detail is what makes it so great – from the music to the set, to the translation of the lyrics.

For those not in the know, the Hokey Cokey (or the Hokey Pokey depending on where you come from) is a song with an accompanying dance routine, popular at children’s parties.

Berlin Songs: Solomun – Kackvogel

Still from Solomun - Kackvogel featuring Friedrich Liechtenstein from the Edeka Supergeil advert

Still from Solomun – Kackvogel featuring Friedrich Liechtenstein from the Edeka Supergeil advert

An advert for the German supermarket chain Edeka went viral recently. My social media streams have been full of ‘Supergeil’ all week. The star of the advert is Friedrich Liechtenstein, a German musician and entertainer.  He also stars in the video for Kackvogel by Solomun, dancing through the streets of Berlin and eventually fighting with a man in a bear costume under a bridge near Alexanderplatz station.

Solomun – Kackvogel

Sunday Documentary: Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor

Removing the Tresor sign - still from Sub Berlin - The Story of Tresor

Photo: Still from Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor

Tresor was at the vanguard of the Techno movement in Berlin as the city adjusted to its post-reunification status.

Berlin newcomers and the press hail Berghain as one of the world’s greatest clubs but Techno lovers of the 90s and early 00s will say ‘you should have been in ‘the old Tresor’.

The old club on Leipziger Strasse was torn down in 2005 as part of the redevelopment of Potsdamer Platz.  The building housing the original Tresor had a checkered past.  It was previously the vault under the Wertheim department store, seized by the Nazis and subsequently destroyed during the bombing raids of World War II.

Tresor re-opened in 2007 in Heizkraftwerk Mitte, a former power station on Köpenicker Strasse, and a new shopping mall is currently being built at its previous location on Leipziger Strasse.

Through interviews with clubbers and DJs who were part of the story, photos and video footage, Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor, a 2009 documentary by Tilman Künzel tells the tale of Tresor from its opening in 1991 to the closure of its original location in 2005.

Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor

Ohrwurm: Adel Tawil – Lieder

Und ich singe diese Lieder - still from the video for Lieder by Adel Tawil

Photo: Still from the video for Lieder by Adel Tawil

Lieder by Adel Tawil should possibly come with a warning as it is essentially 32 Ohrwürme in one (if my Maths is right).  The English translation of the title is ‘Songs’ and the lyrics refer to other songs, e.g. the first line ‘Ich ging wie ein Ägypter’ – I walk like an Egyptian – is a reference to the 1980s hit by The Bangles.

In my efforts to learn German, I have completed the whole Rosetta Stone course and I’m working my way through Duolingo.  Georg of Digital Cosmonaut has often suggested listening to German Hip Hop as a learning tool and when I heard this pop song I got a glimpse of how that might help.

The fact that so many of the songs used in Lieder are familiar to me makes translating the lyrics and working out the references a fun way to improve my Deutsch.

This video posted on Adel Tawil’s YouTube channel includes the lyrics and some pictures that make deciphering the references a little easier.

Adel Tawil “Lieder” (Lyric Video)

If after watching the video you’re still a bit unsure of the lyrics here is a very handy table from the Wikipedia.de article for Lieder by Adel Tawil.

Text Anspielung auf
1. Strophe
Ich ging wie ein Ägypter, Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles
hab’ mit Tauben geweint. When Doves Cry – Prince
War ein Voodoo-Kind, Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix
wie ein rollender Stein. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Im Dornenwald sang Maria für mich, Maria durch ein Dornwald ging
ich starb in deinen Armen… (I Just) Died in Your Arms – Cutting Crew
…Bochum ’84. Bochum – Herbert Grönemeyer
Ich ließ die Sonne nie untergehen, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me – Elton John
in meiner wundervollen Welt. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
2. Strophe
Ich war willkommen im Dschungel Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
und fremd im eigenen Land. Fremd im eigenen Land – Advanced Chemistry
Mein persönlicher Jesus Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
und im Gehirn total krank. Insane in the Brain – Cypress Hill
Und ich frage mich wann werd ich, werd ich berühmt sein, When Will I Be Famous – Bros
so wie Rio mein König für die Ewigkeit. König von Deutschland – Rio Reiser
Ich war am Ende der Straße…angelangt, End of the Road – Boyz II Men
war ein Verlierer, Baby! Loser – Beck
Doch dann hielt ich ein Cover in der Hand, Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
darauf ein Mönch, der in Flammen stand,
Kurt Cobain sagte mir, ich soll kommen wie ich bin. Come as You Are – Nirvana
3. Strophe
Ich war einer von fünf Jungs, The Boyz
„One Minute“ aus, dann war’s vorbei. One Minute – The Boyz
Ich sang nur noch für mich,
für ’ne unendlich lange Zeit.
Dann traf ich auf sie Annette Humpe
und sie erinnerte mich. Du erinnerst mich an Liebe – Ich + Ich
Wir waren Welten entfernt Ich + Ich
und doch vom selben Stern. Vom selben Stern – Ich + Ich
Refrain
Und ich singe diese Lieder,
tanz’ mit Tränen in den Augen. Dancing with Tears in My Eyes – Ultravox
Bowie war für’n Tag mein Held, Heroes – David Bowie
und EMF kann es nicht glauben. Unbelievable – EMF
Und ich steh’ im lila Regen, Purple Rain – Prince
ich will ein Feuerstarter sein. Firestarter – The Prodigy
Whitney wird mich immer lieben I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
und Michael lässt mich nicht allein You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson

Source: Wikipedia

Berlin Songs: Parlez-vous anglais ? – Last Paradise On Earth

Parlez Vous Anglais ? - Last Paradise On Earth Promo Photo

Photo: Damien Stein

The eagle-eyed Urban Explorers amongst you may recognise the location of this promotional shot for the new song from Paris / Berlin based outfit Parlez-vous anglais ? as it’s the basketball court at Kaserne Krampnitz.

The video for Last Paradise On Earth, a catchy bit of Disco-Synth-Pop was filmed at a number of Berlin locations, including Spreepark, Eisfabrik and the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park.

Parlez-vous anglais ? – Last Paradise On Earth

The new Parlez-vous anglais ? EP, Dancing On The Other Side will be released in March 2014 and they will be in Berlin for a DJ set at Intersoup on 31 January 2014 with a live show to follow at Kaffee Burger on 28 March 2014.

Parlez-vous anglais ? - Dancing On the Other Side Artwork

Artwork: Paul Roche

If like me you’re new to the band you might also like to check out their previous EP.

Parlez-vous anglais? – Sunglasses and Shirts

You can see more from Parlez-vous anglais ? on their Facebook and Soundcloud pages.

Berlin Summer Rave 2013

Neon at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Last night I went to my first Berlin Summer Rave at the disused Tempelhof Airport – a great location despite the distinctly un-summer-y weather.

I went with Summer Rave veterans Steffi, Bine and Olli and after a few short queues in the Berlin rain we could feel the bass even before we entered the building.

After a quick look around we made our way to the Planet Bass Hangar to see Lady Waks followed by Westbam.

Lights at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Dancer at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Taking Photos at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Westbam as GIF (with a hard G)

http://picasion.com/i/1TFBQ/

And if you’re wondering what it all sounded like here’s a little taster of the Lady Waks set.

Lady Waks at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Ohrwurm: Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind

Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind (screenshot from YouTube video)

Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind has been playing on repeat in my head since I heard it when I walked into a Berlin clothes shop last week.  I first heard the song when it featured in the BBC Sound of 2012 list but hadn’t thought of it since.

This unofficial video (the official video won’t play in Germany because of GEMA) features the acrobatics of Mouvance – trapeze artists Helen Turcotte and Luc Martin – which really matches the mood of the track for me.

Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind

Berlin Songs: Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun

Sex Pistols - Holidays in the Sun (official promotional poster)

My Berlin Songs series, which features songs that are either inspired by Berlin, about the city or by artists based here, continues with Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun.

Singer John Lydon says of the song on the Sex Pistols website:

“I loved Berlin. I loved the wall and the insanity of the place. The communists looked in on the circus atmosphere of West Berlin, which never went to sleep, and that would be their impression of the West.”

Thanks to Gilly for sending me a link to this great video of Thierry Noir in Berlin in 1985 (including footage of him painting the Berlin Wall along the Bethaniendamm in Kreuzberg with Christophe Bouchet) that features the song.

Thierry Noir is a French Street Artist whose work features at the East Side Gallery next to a section removed by developers in a move that inspired protests and brought David Hasselhoff back to Berlin.

Thierry Noir paintings at the East Side Gallery Berlin

Holidays in the Sun is the opening track on the Sex Pistols only studio album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols.

Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun

Berlin Songs: Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau

Peter Fox - Schwarz zu Blau (screenshot from Official Video)

It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention in Berlin that what may have seemed like an endless winter could finally be over.  Temperatures have leapt from single digits to nudge the Mercury at 20ºC so it seemed appropriate then that the second instalment in my Berlin Songs series should be Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau.

I’m a Berlin enthusiast so I will love the city come rain or shine but it’s so much easier to love when the sun is out.  As soon as temperatures climbed into double figures Berliners sat outside cafés and bars and there was a buzz about the place again.  The seemingly solar-powered beautiful people emerged from their winter hibernations and the streets rang with the sound of bicycle bells.

Schwarz zu Blau tells the story of a man noticing some of Berlin’s less pleasant aspects as he drunkenly stumbles out of a club at 5:30 in the morning and walks home as the city changes from black to blue.

Despite the ugliness he has noted though, his true feelings for the city emerge in the last lines:

Doch die Sonne geht gerade auf

Und ich weiß, ob ich will oder nicht

dass ich dich zum Atmen brauch (brauch, brauch, brauch…)

Which with my poor German skills I would translate as:

But the sun is just rising

And I know, whether I like it or not

That I need you to breathe (need, need, need…)

Peter Fox is a member of the successful Berlin band Seeed but Schwarz zu Blau is taken from his 2007 solo album Stadtaffe (English translation – Urban Ape).

Peter Fox – Schwarz zu Blau

Bowie and Beyond: A Music Fan’s Guide to Berlin (BBC Radio 6 Music)

Brandenburger Tor - Brandenburg Gate at Night

Danny Robins’s programme for BBC Radio 6 Music’s Easter Weekend celebration of David Bowie is called Bowie and Beyond: A Music Fan’s Guide to Berlin but he goes all the way back to the Weimar era in his quest to understand why Berlin has made such a significant contribution to music.

This is about more than music though.  In this one hour radio documentary Robins also looks at the social and economic factors that shaped the city’s history.

Travelling to Berlin, through interviews with artists and producers, he tries to find out if Berlin attracts a certain kind of musician or if the city affects the music that those who are drawn to it create.

The usual suspects get airtime – David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode and U2 – but there is also an attempt to see beyond these artists to the contribution of seminal German bands like Die Toten Hosen and new artists such as Prinz Pi and Berlin-based Canadian, Peaches.

Click here to listen: Bowie and Beyond: A Music Fan’s Guide to Berlin