TEKILA.

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

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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.

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I might start calling him the Rhythm and Groove Prophet.

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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.

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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.

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

Some mixes and videos coming up.

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THE RIVER RATS LIVE

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.

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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.

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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,

Virgil

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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.

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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.

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Don’t stare at the METERS…

Film music for german documentary “Meine Oma in Schlesien”.

I was pleased to score for Ben Mergelsberg and Clara Hahn’S documentary “Mein Oma in Schlesien“.

Ben is a cameraman and director who runs Wrangelfilm in Berlin.
http://wrangelfilm.com

It was great working with / for Ben. It only took a little while for us to tune into the same wavelength, so to say. And then it was just great fun.

Here is a first version of the main theme I proposed.

The documentary revolves around Ruth, Clara’s grandmother, as they drive back to Schlesien: Ruth’s native region.
Der Film will nicht belehren, nichts Erklären, sondern zeigen was passieren kann wenn eine Enkelin die Oma fragt: Woher kommst Du ?

Meeting Ruth.

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Meeting Ruth.

I invited some of my new acquaintances and favorite musicians to participate on some parts of the soundtrack, such as Florian Kolditz and Nir Sabag, respectively on bass and drums. Daniel Weltlinger – photographed with his violin – from Australia, blessed us with some awesome violin playing. I had not heard Daniel before that studio session. I had met him once over a year ago, and I just knew. Sometimes you just know, you don’t even need to hear the cat play. The vibe, and a nice conversation are enough. And even then, I was happily surprised…

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In any case, thanks to all of you musicians, and Ben and Clara for the chance to work on this lovely project.