I recently had the pleasure to work for indie publisher and Berlin start-up Trois Petits Points, on their first audio book release: “Grand Loup et Petit Loup”.

Jonathan Cohen rang up, as they wanted to have some music added to the story line and were seeking a composer.

After sketching up a first few demos, it became clear that we were on the same wavelength. Jonathan either approved immediately and enthusiastically, or cleverly and skillfully commented on the work done, to suggest a few modifications.

I was particularly struck by Mr. Cohen’s attention to detail, and his ability to get in the story, and discuss all the finesse and subtleties of the characters, and developments, and how those could influence the soundtrack. Un perfectionnisme that would probably rejoice only a few. But it did, me. As a somehow unexpected and yet familiar landscape can do, if that – unexpected metaphor – makes sense. Notwithstanding that John was simultaneously managing a much larger project for the Hörspiel “Louisette”.

For the occasion, I called upon one of my favorite drummer in town, Nir Sabag (aka the Rhythm and Groove Prophet), and a new acquaintance, bassist James Banner – from the UK – who proved to be as reserved as absolutely talented and to the point with his very musical playing.

We captured some of those tracks, at one of my favorite recording facility in Berlin; Kreuzberg. And I could not resist and engineer the session myself. Setting up those lovely microphones, sound-checking, leading certain pieces with the guitar, fumbling through freshly scribbled charts, and trying not to forget to press… Record.

Daniel Weltlinger blessed some of those tracks with his magic violin, and Jason Liebert with his trombone. Thank you.

I’ll keep some of my favorite tracks (Die Vereinigungsballade, Heart is Where is Home, etc.) for separate articles.




I don’t.
But a few.
“Dos Gardenias” is one of them.

We had this tremendous session in August, at our favorite facility, in Berlin Kreuzberg.
Featuring Nir Sabag on drums, Max Schlegel on bass, and Gil Livni on guitar.
We had the great Joel Holmes as a featured guest, on piano.
Julius Christus and Patricia Schichl were filming. This video will serve as a prototype for Berlin X.Berg 2015.

The piano is an old made in Breslau upright we got tuned-up for the occasion, an hour before the session. First tune-up in a while, it was already slipping a bit out of tune by the time Joel Holmes sat down. Not a comment from Joel – why state the obvious ? – who just explored the harmony, blessing us with some awesome playing and out-of-this-world harmonic considerations.

Nir Sabag, on drums, reminds us that it’s all about the sound, the groove, the simplicity.
Max, a soft spoken Kasachstani is one of the Berliner with the most eloquent latin groove. He blames Carly Quiros (pianist from Argentina) for that groovy ability.


Gil Livni is a surprise, over and over again.
He’ll remind you that he’s got to go in ten minutes, just before laying a guitar solo like this one (it’s all live, with no rehearsal). And then he disappears for Yom Kippur – may you repent, but not for that solo. I suspect some local colleagues here may try to have his return flight hi-jacked.

VIRGIL & THE BBs 23GMaj9 chord ? No, not sure. Who knows ?

That was scoring for Wrangelfilm.

Since I actually do not have a film-scoring background, I don’t use the same exact tools.
Or rather, I might be missing some of the more obvious sample libraries.
Which in a sense is probably a very good thing, as I try to avoid falling into the old cheap-sample-plastic-sounding libraries.

I suppose this little piece is a blend of music and sound-design,
used for Ben Mergelsberg “Meine Oma in Schlesien”.


The magic was discreet but immediate,
with Nir Sabag on drums and Max Schlegel on bass.


This was actually my first session at this studio in Kreuzberg, in February 2015,
testing the set-up and enjoying those great microphones.
And it was our first session together with Nir.

Nir is from Israel, and I have yet to have one bad session or rehearsal with him. There might be days with more or less energy, but the feeling is always there. It’s a kind of magic.
Moments are grounded in time.
Common Sense is spoken.

I might start calling him the Rhythm and Groove Prophet.

On bass, Max always surprises me with his ability to make those a latin beats grooove. He’s been hanging out with Argentinian – and fantastic – pianist Carly Quiros, says he.

It’s was difficult that day, being on both the technical and the musical side. Testing and checking out the set-up, signal flow, headphone mixes, etc. In fact I was terribly disapointed with the upright sound. An AKG was probably moved away from its position, or Max changed position while rehearsing.

I proposed a rhythm changes in Bb, with a Bossa-nova feel on the A’s and a swing on the B’s.

It became “TEKILA”, which also is a phonetic for “T’es qui là ?”, which means “Who are you now ?” in french.

A fun topic.

Recording Joel Holmes’s The Green House Expansion Band.

We welcomes Joel Holmes’s The green House Expansion Band, last week at our favorite recording facility in Berlin, Kreuzberg.

Kuba Gudz on drums was nailing those Hip-Hop beats like a madman, grooving away tight and along with bassist Martin. While Joel Holmes confidently lead the band, playing some great harmonies and magic polyrhythms.


Featured rapper Stimulus was all Feeling and Inspiration.
Great stuff, thank you guys.

Some mixes and videos coming up.

GHEX006   GHEX005


And thanks to Julius Hahn and Patricia Schichl, we can show a little video teaser, to give you an idea about this refreshing band made in Berlin.

Cam and Matthew share the lead vocals in French and English, while playing their respective instruments (violin, for Cam, and rhythm guitar for Matthew). Antonio and Tiz swing it on the bass and guitar.

They will be playing live this evening 21h at the Terrasse vom ZK/U (Siemensstr. 27), Maobit, Berlin.

THE RIVER RATS: a first EP recorded in Berlin, Kreuzberg!

I was very pleased to record the River Rats last June and July at one of my favourite facility in Berlin, Kreuzberg.

V17 V31
This first EP features great songs with a lively and down to earth gypsy touch. From the broken-hearted “Checkmate”, to the lighter and humourus  “Gypsies” (both from Matthew Monahan, USA), from the somehow désinvolte “Paris” to the bohemian “El Dorado” (both from Camille Franc, France).
Some of these tunes are little gems.

The track list (in random order):

“Paris”, “Scoundrel”, “El Dorado”, “Checkmate”, “Gypsies”, “Sign Here”.

Cam and Matthew share the lead vocals in their respective tongues (French and English). Matthew also plays the rhythm guitar, and Cam, the violin. Antonio and Tiz laid down some really swingin’ tracks, and even bouncy and groovy for tracks such as “Gypsies”. Does “Scoundrel” bare some kind of Zappa influences ? I forgot to ask.

What struck me immediately is the nice vibe, the harmony among the band members (not that I quarrel with my own bandmates;). I was also very impressed by the quality of their repertoire, granted they have only been together for a few months !

V28The River Rats are performing live this evening, Saturday 29.8 at the Musique Maudite Festival in Moabit, Berlin.

If you see them live, don’t forget to buy 5 CDs, for yourself and your friends. The more CDs they sell, the sooner they ‘ll get back in the studio !

Well prepared and rehearsed, focused,  productive and to the point.
Great sessions !

It was a pleasure to mix the tracks!
Thank you,


V48    V50

Coming Out of The Keller…

Some come out of the closet.
We will come out of the Keller!

A Berlin K’ller.

And – à propos – it was grrreat fun getting to know Mackie Messer, along with Nir Sabag on drums and Florian Kolditz on bass. I love to record parts of those Keller rehearsals, and we happened to have a Canon (camera).
So we shot.

Such songs are part of our retro swing program when we play for parties and events, in Berlin and beyond.

I used my old ADAT Blackface to track the drums, the bass, guitar, and vocal,
along with a Mackie 1604Vlz3 and some nice microphones. I mixed in ProTools.

Meeting with the director and the editor.

It was very interesting – and great fun – to sit down with director Ben Mergelsberg and meet Matt Sweetwood, editor for the documentary “Meine Oma in Schlesien”.

We met at Matt’s editing and post-production studio, in Potsdam, and a five minutes walk from the legendary Babelsberg film studios.

Matt is also a writer and director in his own right (Beerland, Hacker, etc.) and – last but not least – a musician.


Americans do it in their Garage.
In Berlin, we have Kellers (cellars).

It’s been tremendous fun practicing and rehearsing with Nir Sabag and Florian Kolditz in my Berlin Keller. We’ve been preparing ourselves for a recording session at the Goldfisch, tomorrow the 28th of May. Rehearsals are recorded and will probably become the backbone for my Berlin K’ller videos and recordings. We did record a cue down here for Ben Mergelsberg “Meine Oma in Schlesien”: it sounded just great.

All you need is a 12m2 cellar.
And some gears.
We’ll talk about that, among other things, in my Vlogs.

Don’t stare at the METERS…