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The history of Berlin music in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s is well documented. Punk, new wave, acid house; the fall of the Berlin wall and the stellar rise of techno. By the end of the millennium, more than a million people raved at the infamous Love Parade events every year. Dance music had arrived. But then what happened? Who are the people and what are the sounds that shaped the Berlin we know today? To celebrate 20 years of Red Bull Music Academy, Berlin Zwanzig – “Berlin Twenty” in English ...
 
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Under the name Monolake, sound designer, programmer and techno icon Robert Henke mined the intersection between abstract computer music and dance-derived techno. Today, albums like 2001’s Gravity remain touchstones for new generations of electronic musicians. On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig, Sick Girls DJ Alexandra Dröner joins Vivian Host to dis…
 
After several years in Halle, Annegret Fiedler moved to Berlin in 2010 with aspirations of producing a new sound. She combined her rock sensibilities and love for electronic music to create Perel, her current alias as a DJ and producer. Her debut single “Die Dimension,” released through DFA in 2017, shows a multilayered approach and helped establis…
 
From the margins of techno and noise, Chinese-born artist Pan Daijing pulls from myriad influences, including migration, dreams and sensuality, to create catharsis-inducing soundscapes. Since moving to Berlin in 2016, the PAN affiliate and RBMA alum has been an integral part of the post-club scene in Berlin. On this episode, Vivian Host is joined b…
 
Rap will forever be preoccupied with regionality. With his trap-influenced single "Ich bin ein Berliner" (“I’m a Berliner”), Berlin rapper Ufo361 created an anthem for his hometown while spotlighting some of the city’s more sordid circles. On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig, Vivian Host sits down with Marcus Staiger, the journalist and founder of tr…
 
Indie rock band Isolation Berlin offset their melancholic lyrics with jangling, often upbeat melodies. This juxtaposition has resonated with German music fans since the group’s critically-acclaimed debut Und aus den Wolken tropft die Zeit (And Time Drips from the Clouds). On this episode, music journalist and radio presenter Martin Böttcher joins V…
 
When Lotic moved to Berlin from Texas in 2012, they found a scene that wasn’t quite fitting their needs. Since then, Lotic and other expats – such as Janus co-founders Michael Ladner and Dan DeNorch – have been instrumental in carving out a radical and experimental space in the city’s nightlife. Lotic’s 2015 EP, "Heterocetera," left an indelible ma…
 
Berlin-bred duo Modeselektor came of age in the post-Wall era. As such, their unique blend of electronic music ignores all divisions, pulling from a variety of seemingly incongruous genres. Though they were always hometown heroes, Modeselektor’s joint project with Apparat, Moderat, earned them fans around the world. On this episode, Vivian Host sit…
 
Under his Head High and Shed aliases (to name but two), Berlin producer René Pawlowitz has established himself as one of the city's most essential techno artists – and his chiming, hard-as-nails "Rave (Dirt Mix)," released on Modeselektor's Monkeytown label, is one of many gems in his incredible discography. On this episode, Vivian Host sits down w…
 
Berlin label BPitch Control has a reputation for releasing techno and electronic music, but the imprint has also trafficked in non-techno sounds – including music by the Brazilian singer-songwriter Dillon, who has released two albums through BPitch over the last decade. On this episode, Vivian Host sits down with former BPitch Control manager Danie…
 
Brotherly techno duo Paul & Fritz Kalkbrenner are perhaps best known for "Sky and Sand," which featured in the smash 2008 film _Berlin Calling_ (which Paul also starred in). The track became an anthem when BPitch Control released it as a single a year later. On this episode, Vivian Host sits down with Dirty Doering – a mainstay of shuttered Berlin …
 
Over the past 20 years, Berlin-based singer, songwriter and producer Barbara Morgenstern has fused the steely techno commonly attributed to her home city with the bright sounds of synth pop, resulting in a unique take on melodic, danceable music that is unmistakably hers. On this episode, Vivian Host sits down with Morgenstern to discuss her 2008 s…
 
In the wake of major releases from the label Aggro Berlin, the city saw an excess of hard-nosed gangster rap. K.I.Z. counteracted that self-seriousness with humor and irony, filling their loquacious verses with hilarious punchlines and violence so grotesque it descended into black comedy. On this episode, Vivian Host sits down with Marcus Staiger, …
 
Quite simply, “Rej” is one of the most iconic house records of the past 20 years. Produced by Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer, AKA Âme, it was also one of the biggest tracks to appear on the hugely influential Innervisions label, an imprint headed up the duo and Berlin house icon Dixon. On this episode, the music journalist Martin Böttcher talks…
 
Berghain is Berlin’s most infamous club, and Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann are perhaps the most famous DJs to emerge from its environs. The pair’s taut techno tracks were built expressly with Berghain’s dancefloor in mind, where they played lengthy DJ sets that hypnotized techno fans the world over. On this episode, music journalist Sven von Thülen…
 
For a few years, Ricardo Villalobos was the face of minimal techno and house in Germany. While he’s perhaps best known for his lengthy, freewheeling DJ sets – which were just as likely to include free jazz as they were pumping techno – Villalobos’ high water mark in terms of production came with “Dexter.” On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig, music jo…
 
In the ‘90s, Berlin rappers borrowed heavily from the music and style of rappers in the U.S. The arrival of record label Aggro Berlin in 2001 signaled the beginning of a transition, a move toward a more authentic Berlin sound. On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig, Vivian Host meets with Marcus Staiger, the founder of influential German rap label Royal…
 
Though techno and rap has often taken center stage, Berlin’s reggae and dancehall scene is not to be overlooked. In 2001, the 11-piece band Seeed scored a major hit with their reggae ode to the city “Dickes B,” an anthemic tune that intertwined verses in German, English and Patois. On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig, Vivian Host sits down with Spide…
 
Ellen Allien has made monumental strides in a male-dominated Berlin scene as a DJ, musician and label head. In 1999, she founded the label Bpitch Control, through which she released her 2001 debut Stadtkind. A love letter to the city that made her, the project further cemented Allien’s critical role in the fabric of Berlin nightlife. On this episod…
 
Berlin has a history of attracting eccentric artists. In this regard, Canadian-born Peaches is no different than any other expat. In every other respect, she is extraordinary. Her avant-garde electronica oozes sexuality and blurs the lines of traditional gender roles. On this episode, Vivian Host sits down with DJ Alexandra Dröner, who worked at cl…
 
Jazzanova is the renowned Berlin-based DJ/producer collective who founded influential German label Sonar Kollektiv and pioneered nu-jazz, the innovative hybrid of jazz and electronic music that has since inspired countless artists in both genres. On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig, Vivian Host sits down with Jazzanova member Claas Brieler to discuss…
 
Atari Teenage Riot was one of Berlin’s most incendiary groups during its late ’90s / early ’00s heyday. They took electronic music’s building blocks and gleefully deconstructed them, turning jungle into what frontman Alec Empire called “digital hardcore.” On this episode of Berlin Zwanzig – the first in the series – Vivian Host sits down with Empir…
 
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