BEVOR DIE MAUER FIEL

nikolaus-andre2

Dr. Nikolaus Andre erzählt über Berlin. Bevor die Mauer fiel.

Nikolaus and his brother Tommy grew up in Berlin and were teenagers when the wall came down.

They recall these days with vibrant emotions, as Berlin was still divided, and the eastern outpost of a free world, then surrounded by a Soviet ruled DDR.

If they remember the wall, and the surreal political tension omnipresent in the city’s daily life, they will never forget the incredible scene that developed in Berlin, and around the AFN (American Forces Network).

The radio programs. The disk-jockeys.

The music, the parties.

And a somehow exuberant sense of freedom.

I am quiet thrilled to submit some music for this project.

 

BROOKLYNITE DYNAMITE!

Eric (below) practicing and recording some at a pre-production session in Berlin, Kreuzberg, for his Album “Travel Poems”.

Eric Pan is back in Berlin!
From Brooklyn. And he is not alone.
The pianist, whose talent and skills are only matched by his humble and authentic approach to making music, has introduced us to yet another Brooklynite: Brian Trahan.
Talent literally wrapped in optimism and positive energy.

1476105164477.jpgDYNAMITE has never looked so chilled and relaxed and friendly.

Travel Poem is going to be dynamite indeed, as we will be matching Eric with some wonderful local talents, such as the Rhythm and Groove Prophet, Nir Sabag on drums, and possibly Hugo Reydet on bass.

RABAJAH !

They are so young. They are so talented. They are so good already. And when you think they will only get better, it makes your head spins!  …  aja, and they are Berliners.

“GLPL”

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.

 

 

KNOW YOUR CLASSICS.

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.

VIRGIL & THE BBs 25
VIRGIL & THE BBs 16
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.

VIRGIL & THE BBs 19J
VIRGIL & THE BBs 9N
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.

VIRGIL & THE BBs 24M
VIRGIL & THE BBs 2
VIRGIL & THE BBs 8.2

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 22g
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”.

TEKILA.

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

TEKILA MAx 2

TEKILA NIR DR3
TEKILA MAX V3
    
TEKILA MAx 1  TEKILA MAX V
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.

TEKILA NIR 2
TEKILA NIR
TEKILA NIR DR2
I might start calling him the Rhythm and Groove Prophet.

TEKILA V 3
TEKILA MAX V2
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.