Sounds of Berlin #10

A selection of great tracks from old faves and new talent

Words By Jake Kelly
Photos By Main image: Joseph Kadow

Welcome back to Sounds of Berlin! Just in time for our tenth roundup of all the incredible new music we love in Berlin. Ten seems like an appropriate time to have a quiet moment reflecting on all the great tunes and magical LP’s we have shared and enjoyed together. Wow. It’s enough to bring you to tears.

The good news is that, other than possibly climate change, there is nothing standing in the way of another 100 Sounds of Berlins, so get stuck in below and enjoy what the city has to offer this time around.

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Ghost Pony – Ghost Pony

Ghost Pony have arrived with their debut, self-titled album, after spending the last few years nailing down the specifics of their unique sound – a mix of dream pop, garage and surf rock that the trio refer to as ‘mud pop’. The twelve track album sounds confident and assured, the murky production providing a perfect balance for lead singer Julia Beresikowa’s powerful vocals. Applying post-punk edge to the daydream surf rock of bands like Khruangbin proves to be a winning combination, but it’s Beresikowa’s heartfelt performance across the LP that seals the deal.

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Ziúr – Blur [Now Now]

Ziúr already released one of the year’s best albums with Antifate, a collection of widescreen electronic vistas that rise and fall like sheer cliffs, delving into alternate, utopian worlds. Clearly not quite done with 2021 yet, the producer is back with a new EP on her own Now Now label. ‘Blur’ moves away from Antifate’s high-minded concepts and cinematics, and instead offers four new experimental club tracks. The EP combines galloping rhythms and blasted sound design to menacing effect, with the ever-shifting elements of each track often blurring the line between percussive and melodic – it’s a sound that’s hard to pigeonhole and impossible to ignore.

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Local Suicide – This Is Iptamenos Discos [Iptamenos Discos]

Wife and husband duo Local Suicide have dedicated the last decade to providing club goers with an unforgettable dancefloor experience, and now they are stepping it up a notch. ‘This Is Iptamenos Discos’ is their way of announcing the launch of their brand new label called, yep you guessed it, Iptamenos Discos – the Greek translation of ‘flying saucer’. The track makes good on the name, bringing a space age, ethereal atmosphere to new wave-tinged EBM. ‘This Is Iptamenos Discos’ is short and creeping, and feels like a glimpse of big things to come – a tantalizing teaser for old and new fans alike.

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Plaisir – Hunting Season

‘Hunting Season’ is Plaisir’s second single from their upcoming EP, but the band sound ready to take on the planet. A multi-national trio, the band met in 2019, and have been building Plaisir from then on. A 2020 EP, Sap, introduced the foundations of the band’s sound, and ‘Hunting Season’ picks it up with a reverb-soaked slice of post-punk anchored by hypnotic bass and slow, pounding percussion. The track’s not-so-secret weapon is the band’s vocals – a ghostly harmony that tower’s over the rest of the song, stretching 100 metres tall into the sky.

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Lyra Pramuk – Everything is Beautiful & Alive (Eris Drew remix)  [Bedroom Community]

Lyra Pramuk’s Fountain was one of 2020’s best albums, and now we are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a remix album, Delta, where Pramuk has opened up the album to a host of brilliantly creative artistic friends and peers, and given them free reign to create whatever they feel like. Delta is out in September, but here we have Eris Drew’s take on Pramuk’s wordless electronic evocations. Drew is a DJ and label head known for her passionate dedication to breakbeat house, dance music as queer history and the all encompassing philosophy of the motherbeat. ‘Everything is Beautiful and Alive’ finds Drew pairing Pramuk’s fluid, vaporous vocals with ecstatic breakbeats, crafting a mind melting banger ready for any club, any time.

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DJ T. – Patci [Get Physical Music]

DJ T. pays tribute to Patci Wilde, the celebrated Berlin booker, with a glittering new track. If not you are not familiar, DJ T. has been doing this for three decades. He rode the first wave of house and techno in Frankfurt to become one of the city’s most celebrated DJ’s, as well as launching Groove Magazine and co-founding the Get Physical record label. ‘Patci’ brings a polished edge and a vintage heart, building an ecstatic atmosphere from classic breaks and trance-y synths, with a deep, stirring bassline that leads into a timeless breakdown.

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DJ Paypal – Spending Money / Turnt

DJ Paypal is a member of the seminal Teklife crew, which helped take Chicago’s own Footwork from a local scene to a world conquering sound. Paypal’s 2015 album Sold Out is a fan favourite, and it’s impact is still palpable, but releases have been sparse since then. Fortunately, these two new tracks were worth the wait. ‘Spending Money’ flips chipmunk vocals into a hyperactive whirl, gliding over a thick, funk-flavoured bassline before exploding into a synth solo stuffed with 80’s yacht rock cheese.  ‘Turnt’ keeps the same frenetic energy, but moves into darker, leaner territory, with growling synths and neck-snapping drums.

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Inky Lee – one of many

Inky Lee is a performance artist, dancer and musician, and the artistic director of tanzschreiber. ‘one of many’ is a conceptual work built from conversations with the artist’s mother about her experience immigrating into a foreign culture and working illegally while supporting children. Lee provides musical accompaniment to lyrics extrapolated from these conversations, each song a self contained capsule featuring droning keyboards, collaged field recordings and delicate piano pieces. The gentle spoken and sung vocals from Lee herself combine with spacious field recordings and bittersweet compositions to create a transportative body of work.

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Takumi Motokawa – Forethoughts / Afterthoughts / Mind Scrub

Count yourself lucky if you are a fan of cosmic electronics and unpredictable patterns, as Takumi Motokawa has a trilogy of full releases for you to dig in and enjoy. A member of Shackleton’s Tunes of Negation ensemble, Motokawa is extremely comfortable on the balancing beam between fractured club electronics and downtempo hallucinogenics. Each project offers a deep and exploratory experience without ever losing track of their playfulness, moving between wild breaks and otherworldly drones seamlessly. Currently available on Bandcamp, each project will appear on streaming services early September.

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Photo by Sara Arnald