Nice to find some more socially conscious and also quality rap in Germany.
English language critique of Turkish rap produced in my backyard here in Berlin. That’s the way I like it.
I remember some very early conversations about the Basslet (now Lofelt) and its creative possibilities. Building their own design tools for this medium is a key move and I look forward to trying it out.
Finally a proper English language profile of Turkish star rapper Ezhel.
After their long nap, I took both out for a round of recycling cardboard, pumping some tires and buying some coffee beans.
Both of them put on their helmets of their own accord and jumped into the Christiania as soon as we got there. It was clear that they had a destination in mind. They then tried to describe to me which playground they wanted to go to and how to get there lacking most of the vocabulary to do so. Extremely adorable and no doubt in my mind that they’ll be able to describe their wishes here pretty soon as well.
On the way back both kids were singing something in the cargobike while I in the back was trying to vocalize a rendition of Lemon Tree from very distant memory. We should definitely install a sound system in the bike.
Turkish MC XiR has a new trap song out with the noteworthy title Angela Merkel. There is even somebody with a Merkel mask in the video.
The video has a quick and dirty German subtitle bundled with it which you can turn on and read.
In the spirit of international relations, I will translate to English the hook of the song (lyrics on Genius). The rest of the song is either not that interesting or I’m missing out on a lot of inside baseball. Either way, I won’t try it.
Karaköy’e sen gel
Yol aldı yengen
Karaköy’e sen gel
There is no Schengen
You come down to Karaköy
You’ll lose your senses
Your woman’s gone
You come down to Karaköy
I can’t make much more of it other than that the mythologization of Angela Merkel continues. I’m curious what the German foreign office thinks about that.
Kraftwerk Mitte is a disused power plant in the middle (Mitte) of the city that is now a club venue and host to a variety of events. The most striking features of it are large open spaces and lots of exposed concrete everywhere.
Max Richter I didn’t know before but I quickly confirmed that I would agree with his music. It had been one of my desires to attend a classical music concert while lying down being able to doze in and out of sleep as your mind and body dictate. Classical concerts tend to be long and uncomfortable affairs.
I hadn’t imagined I would get the chance to do this during an 8 hour overnight concert.
The music is very smooth to listen to and it is a kind of music that Richter is known for (read this interview). I’m listening to From Sleep now as I write this. I listened to the first couple of hours and then fell into a fitful sleep until I woke up again at 07:30 to catch the end.
Sleeping on stretcher beds at a power station 15 minutes cycling away from home with a couple of hundred other people was a strange experience. It was for one one of the lowest key camping trips I have ever undertaken. Though I’m used to the occasional communal sleeping arrangement, those are totally different situations. Berlin’s club spaces facilitate experiences in between the intimate and transgressive but even then this is an odd one out.
I probably also wasn’t the only person in the room who considered it wry that we would pay €48 to sleep in circumstances similar to thousands of others in Germany right now.
I’m still not sure what to make of the event but it is a memorable experience that will stay with me for a while like a dream but more powerful.
The Komische Oper is a ten minute bike ride from my house and you can get a discounted ticket with some mild visual obstruction for €18. This makes it a fairly ideal way to spend a Sunday in Berlin which otherwise can be fairly quiet (stores aren’t open, most places close at five or six).
I’m not an expert on opera but I enjoyed the staging and the performances a lot. The Komische Oper’s productions can look a bit kitschy but this was all fairly in line. I can’t share anything from the play thanks to an extremely stringent copyright policy, so below is a recording of one of the major songs by the Met.
After having severed my relation with theater, opera is something that is still fun and interesting to me. What is especially interesting about opera is that despite it fielding some of the biggest budget stage productions we have, it allows a lot of space for weird things. That is not just the case for this opéra fantastique but reading the plot of any opera will leave you amazed at how cheesy it is.
The fact that opera is so open to even the dumbest of stories and at the same times is a spectacular confluence of the multimedia arts would indicate that it has a grand future. Unfortunately the average age of the attendees indicates that that is not the case yet.
A story I meant to write up for a while is my discovery of the German rap formation K.I.Z. (Kapitalismus ist Zauberhaft) and with that German pop culture that is actually worthwhile and fun.
I was cycling through Berlin when at a traffic light a car full of women next to me was bouncing to some heavy beats. The lyric I caught through the open window was “Sie klatschen aneinander bei der Double Penetration”. That of course piqued my interest.
The story does not end well. I overtook them at the next traffic light and I was sure that they would not appreciate my vehicular cycling. Indeed they didn’t and they honked at me when they overtook (a particularly bad habit of Berlin drivers). In the spur of the moment I shouted the F-word back at them and I didn’t expect it but that did shut them up.
After that incident I listened to a bunch of K.I.Z. and found their lyrics to be funny and smart. Their general modus operandi seems to be lots of clowning and ironizing topics by taking them to their utter extremes.
A great example of this is the song “Ich bin Adolf Hitler”. I actually had to look up whether K.I.Z. were nazis or not. Irony in Germany can be difficult to gauge. They also had a song about Jörg Haider called Straight outta Kärnten. I was on holiday in Kärnten this summer blissfully unaware of its dubious reputation.
K.I.Z. is a breath of fresh air in German popular culture. It does not take itself or anything particularly seriously and that is something Germany could use a great deal more of.
On Saturday evening I was in the Volksbühne for Stargaze among others to see Cantus Domus perform a set with an odd German band called 1000 Robota. After that there was an intermission and the main performance of the evening by Pantha du Prince and The Bell Laboratory.
The artistic mandate of the evening bordered a bit on the odd. 1000 Robota is more or less a lunatic act part of the melodramatic German singer-songwriter movement. Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory were forced to interpret Terry Riley’s in C as part of the program. Of course they said it was a great inspiration to them and they did quite a good job of it. After the official part of the program they started making some real music and the entire Volksbühne got to its feet. I asked myself: ‘What the fuck were we doing up until this point?’
I realize that the evening wasn’t supposed to be a club night, but if the unofficial part of the program is so much more vibrant that should be a clear signal.