Sounds of Berlin #4

Help yourself to our buffet board of Berlin’s best new music

Jake Kelly Main image: Moscoman by Nuphar Blechner

Are you feeling cooped up, trapped, cramped? Strung out, wound up, ready to explode? That’s pretty understandable, and maybe even unavoidable, but you’re in luck – we can help by giving you some music tips to help with escape and release.

Music changes the space around us. It’s someone else’s experiences, fears, passions, and hopes, bottled up and shipped directly to you. It rarely does what you’d expect, and you can never guess where it’s going to lead you, but you can be sure that it’s going to grab the world around you and paint it a new colour. In these rough days, weeks, even months music isn’t going to provide all the answers we all need, but there’s a chance it will give us the boost we’ve been missing.

Check out a few of the recent Berlin releases we’ve been loving. Let them be your Mario Kart Starman and provide you with extra speed and invincibility.

Moscoman – Time Slips Away [Moshi Moshi]

This is the best thing Moscoman has ever done. That is high praise considering his output to date, and the fact that he is the mastermind behind the Disco Halal record label. Time Slips Away is a dancey record, but it’s not a dance record – it’s a flawless collection of timeless electronica. It sits in the same crossover school as LCD Soundsystem, The Chemical Brothers, and Cut Copy. Yes, these are some big names to drop, but this is a big record. Like all of these artists – Moscoman included – traces of Bowie, strains of psychedelia and hints of 80s neon pop permeate as influences, but always shaped and skewed in individual ways. Right now, this is the electronic album of the year, and it’s going to take some beating. Jonny Tiernan

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J. Vague – New Life [Mansions and Millions]

J. Vague makes a mysterious entrance; an experienced artist arriving under a new name, after swearing off the music industry years ago. He brings with him four immediate, unabashed love songs grounded in very real emotional intensity. His voice is soft and sweet, hovering over a silky bed of synths and guitar, driven by machine rhythms. Falling somewhere between the warped soul of Jai Paul and the pastel psychedelia of Sandro Perri, J. Vague crafts a tight EP of lovely, intimate pop, drifting into focus like sun-dappled mist. Jake Kelly

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Various Artists – Una Vida De Barrio

At a time when many of us are feeling cut off and reduced to individuals, a story of friendship and camaraderie can really get you in the gut. This compilation comes straight from a rundown football cage in Kreuzberg, and the team who have been playing there for 6 years. Spanning 7 nationalities, each team member has contributed a track. Whether leaning towards house, techno or disco, each track shares a depth and fullness of spirit that feels in tune with 90’s euphoria. The team plays with glowing, resonant chords and the loose-limbed rhythms of broken beat and garage. The result is comforting and encouraging, even if you aren’t aware of its joyful origins.

While the tracks vary in sound and tone, the through-line is the palpable spirit of a team pushing together and sweating together – a familiar feeling for anyone that has ever played a game of football on the weekend. Great story, even better tunes. Jake Kelly

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Robert Owens, Floxyd, Ted Warehouse, KAISER66 –  Zeitlos [Jean Yann Records]

Although it may still be a long while before these tracks can be experiences in the setting they deserve, this collaborative EP is still essential listening for anybody seeking to lose themselves and leave the ground behind. The irresistible vocals of Chicago house legend Robert Owens glide over classic, pure, honeyed house production from Floxyd, Ted Warehouse and Kaiser66. Sometimes all you need is a burst of that timeless Chicago sound to reconnect with the past and propel yourself into the future. Jake Kelly

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Big Eater – Dark Thoughts/Uncaged Birds

Longtime Berlin punks, Big Eater, are also here to help you lose yourself, though not in quite the same direction as our other favorite releases. Their wild, heavy rhythm section feels like disco slipping across a wet road at night, complete with spiraling bongos and a booming tuba supporting the illusion. They pack a huge, danceable punch into these two tracks, and their creativity is infectious. With untamed vocals and persuasive energy, these songs worm their way into your head and your feet. There’s no use resisting. The impression Big Eater leaves is fully their own – the real thrill of their music is being able to hear just how much they enjoyed making it. Jake Kelly

To hear these records and more follow LOLA on Spotify.