the original soundtrack

Got back from Cologne yesterday! Big rundown of the Kompakt Total 6 festival and more coming up!

08.29.05 @ 09:59 AM EST [link]

My first feature story for the New York Times, which feels like some kinda milestone.

(And I just noticed that the International Herald-Tribune picked it up, in slightly different

08.25.05 @ 07:47 AM EST [link]

I interviewed Rem Koolhaas today. It was...strange, in only a way that interviewing Rem Koolhaas can be. Partway through the interview, he turned the tables and started interviewing me about what I thought about architecture, which threw me off to say the least. I called my friend and told him about it, and while I was telling him about it he said "Haha Richie Hawtin just went by on his bicycle!"

"Sorry, continue."

08.22.05 @ 04:21 PM EST [link]

The entirety of the Palast der Republik--the crumbling old East German parliament building--has been converted into a massive art installation. There's a giant mountain inside of the Palast built out of shards of wood and metal and canvas, and it is brimming with wonderful things. Book your flight to Berlin now and come check it out. Seriously, it's that inspiring. Photos to come.

08.11.05 @ 07:38 PM EST [link]

Aside from the music stuff--which is great of course--everything else is heading south, unfortunately. (You can email me if you want the nightmarish details.) This week has been one of the absolute worst in recent memory. So posts here will probably be on the short side, and not as detailed as I'd like. This situation will be remedied soon.

Last night was Dan Bell, Magda, and Alex Smoke at WMF. Beautiful. Best Dan Bell set I've ever seen. The dude just looked so much happier than he looks in New York. His set was a lot less hard than I expected; it was really colorful techno, with ribbons of house and disco running through it. Prismatic. I walk over to the bar and hey look--Steve Bug and Troy Pierce are getting drinks. I meet John Tejada, who is standing next to the DJ booth. He tells me he really doesn't like clubs that much, even though he goes to them all the time. Good grief it really is weird to see all these people in one place.

08.11.05 @ 10:28 AM EST [link]

physical music for physical people.
Being in Berlin really is like being a kid in a candy store. I just got back from the Get Physical label headquarters--a ten-minute walk from my apartment. I got to hang out with hitmakers Booka Shade in their studio, surrounded on all sides by gear and good vibes. More later!

08.10.05 @ 12:14 PM EST [link]

Superpitcher in Berlin last night? Awesome. I feel like every DJ works harder in Berlin. It's not easy to impress people here. And DJs really work harder at Berghain/Panoramabar, where the venue's so massive and legendary and the crowd's so demanding that you can't just play any old thing. I'm not actually a huge fan of Superpitcher's weepy pop side. But I love Superpitcher's more bangin' edge--the side of him that pens pulse-pounding anthems like 'Fieber.' And that's exactly the side he threw down last night at Berghain.

It was great just to watch Superpitcher--the dude was bopping all around the decks, mouthing along with the odd vocal track, and flopping his hair from side to side. Weird epiphany: The Mayer mix of Baxendale's 'I Built this City' really works on a dancefloor. When I first heard the remix on the Total 6 comp, I thought it was a weirdly gothy and leaden take on a sweet disco-pop tune. Any doubts I had about it were erased, especially when that falsetto started! The ruff 'n tuff crowd at Berghain went bananas. Muscle Marys with their shirts off flexing their abs to Baxendale! Even weirder was what Superpitcher was mixing the track with: Steve Barnes' 'Cosmic Sandwich'. On its own, 'Cosmic Sandwich' would be too obvious. On its own, the 'I Built this City' remix would probably be too obvious. But together...holy shit. With the th-th-thumping backbeat from 'Cosmic Sandwich' and its insane, twittering psychedelic mumbles, 'I Built this City' soared to new and surreal heights. It was one of those cosmic 'what the fuck?' moments I'll remember for a very long time.

By the way, if anyone's around Berlin and wants to hang out, drop me a line!

08.07.05 @ 11:05 AM EST [link]

I saw Monolake on Thursday night--the Berlin release party for their new album Polygon Cities--at massive club WMF and holy shit it was totally incredible. Completely rearranged my brain with respect to what minimal techno could do. Photos to come once I figure out how to get them off my camera and onto this computer, but good lord. There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people at WMF, on a Thursday night. Lots of the Berlin dance music elite were in the audience; I was standing next to Miss Kittin, Apparat, and a bunch of other folks I recognized but couldn't quite place. The sound was huge and all-encompassing, like you were swimming in this giant, er, monolake. Mono-ocean. More later when I'm not at an internet cafe, paying by the minute.

And I'm pleased to present my first article for Die Tageszeitung, a live review of Monolake and DJ Premier (separate shows, in case you're wondering. But they were on the same night, and I went to both.)

08.06.05 @ 08:17 AM EST [link]

There's this cool new German DVD magazine about dance music called Slices. (It's not a magazine about DVDs; it's a magazine on a DVD, about dance music.) They give it away for free in record stores here in Berlin. Strangely, it's sponsored by T-Mobile--I feel ever so slightly better about all the money those bastards have milked from me over the years on cell phone bills now. I'm sort of obsessed with Slices already. Each DVD is pretty long--over an hour--and consists of a series of (really well produced!) video interviews with German-based house/techno DJs and producers. Last night I watched a hilariously lovey-dovey Slices interview with Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos on how they've gotten to be best pals (they finish each others' sentences, even!), a goofy interview with DJ Koze where he dons some sort of Transformers costume and marches through the streets of Hamburg, a walk-through with Wolfgang Voigt through Kompakt distribution HQ (Wolfgang looks like David Bowie now, all clean-shaven and with that bright blond hair!), dinner with the Wighnomy Bros. on Musik Krause home turf, a visit to Playhouse headquarters, footage of the Get Physical guys rocking a crowd, a visit to Ewan Pearson's vinyl-filled Berlin apartment, etc etc. Awesome stuff. I can't seem to find a place online where you can watch Slices without the actual DVD, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

There's also this trailer for a new film produced stateside by the electronic-music heads at Square Productions that you can watch here.

As night fell on Berlin, I walked home listening to the Geiger mix of Dorau/Kohncke's "Durch Die Nacht." I still can't get over how beautiful it is. Used to dazzling effect on both the Total 6 comp and the Optimo Psyche Out mix. It's got that real lost-on-the-dancefloor vibe to it, that endlessly looping disco-diva echo.

08.04.05 @ 10:12 AM EST [link]

...and I have just been informed that Superpitcher is DJing at the best club in the world--Ostgut/Berghain/Panoramabar in Berlin--this Saturday. On the main floor. I will be there, of course. Oh man I am psyched.

08.03.05 @ 12:05 PM EST [link]

Here's a feature story I wrote for the Village Voice about making meat in test tubes! Go Team Science!

08.03.05 @ 11:53 AM EST [link]


Hello from Berlin! I'm all settled in. I have a beautiful apartment in Prenzlauer Berg that costs a third of what I was paying in Brooklyn, and I have an amazing view of the East German planetarium from my bedroom window. Looking out at the massive silver orb makes me feel like I'm living in some retro-futuristic sci-fi flick. I already have my first assignment for the paper; I'm going to be interviewing Chelonis R. Jones from Berlin's mighty Get Physical record label. Chelonis! From Get Physical! Holy shit! "I Don't Know"! "One and One"! I'm not really awake--I didn't sleep much on the plane from New York and I was stranded in Brussels for a few hours waiting for a connection, all in the raw early hours of morning. After passing out for a few hours in my new room, I realized this: I am not in New York anymore. It took a little while for this to sink in.

I think I am going to go to Ostgut this weekend.

And here's a new music blog with lots of people I know in it: Beat Research. I hope they ask me to contribute!

Photos on the way.
08.02.05 @ 07:29 PM EST [link]

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