Moments of love in the electronic music capital of the world
edited by Nina Mehta
documented by the community
Berlin: Where anything is possible and everything happens.
Things have changed a great deal since 1989, when the wall came down. In '91, '92, '93 - the early years of the club - there was an incredible atmosphere in the city.
The authorities from East and West had to negotiate how to run the traffic and so on. It was a crazy time. People from both sides were at last coming together. There were so many disused buildings in East Berlin, which gave us so much space for parties.
It was a real opportunity for the underground movement to thrive. Anyone who had an idea - a gallery, bar or club perhaps - could take the initiative. It seemed anything was possible! In some ways I miss the wall.
Nowadays things have settled down, but the city is constantly evolving - it will always remain a hotspot for creative people, seeking new experiences and great parties. It has such energy!
There's no city in Europe with such a strong tradition of underground movements, clubs, galleries and theatre spaces. So many great djs and producers choose to live here. Berlin has a big future.
Border controls on Sunday excursions, the rummaging through bags, the military: it was scary. My side of Berlin provided a home for the curious, those who were going against the flow. The island of West Berlin was a destination for creative minds in search of alternatives.
However, it was only when the Wall came down that Berlin became Berlin again.
Being able to breathe, to drive and walk wherever and with whomever I wanted. And no more borders.
Minimal sounds made from machines entered the charts. Kraftwerk's Model changed everything.
After spending a whole year in London I realized that despite the acid jazz house euphoria there, only one place felt like home: Berlin, the city of possibilities.
Techno is minimal, reduced, deep and rough at the same time. Techno and I have developed together. Sensual in my work, graphics, music, artwork, visuals and fashion merge. Body dance, space and lust for life overspill. I search for the fulfilling dance. Body, belly and brain start to swing and uplift me...us. Music is the drug nothing else!
I was immediately fascinated by East Berlin, by this atmosphere of curiosity and get-up-and-go. There was room for experiments.
not just since electronic music started. It was years ago with Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, who all recorded albums in Berlin and even made tributes to Berlin. I think it's always a good place to work as an artist and be creative, because you don't have to work three other jobs to run your life.
In the early days, Thursday night was the night when you would always listen to promos,
and it was easy, just sitting down with all the vinyl. But nowadays it's not possible, there's so much music coming out every week. It's unbelievable: I don't even have the time to listen to all of the music, every week. And it's not just me, it's everyone.
It's unbelievable what kind of parties are going on every weekend in the Ritter Butzke or in the park in the summer. They're always attracting 1000 or 2000 people. young people are still looking for their own way of making parties. They've built their own scene.
Even with their own music! There are still young people around saying, 'I'm not just a consumer, I will do this by myself, and I have another view of how to make a party.'
It's wonderful that every weekend all these tourists are coming to listen to the music. Berlin is like a Mecca for them.
The Berlin people will always look for their own niches.
that night at Week End. There isn't much more to say. You know, if you're passionate about something, then you see people who express that same passion with their music and all of a sudden you end up producing together such a great and harmonious album...that's overwhelming! We let ourselves to be guided by a feeling and eventually a record happened.
The purpose from the beginning was to be very unique,
not to rip off the Detroit sound or sound like British producers-showing the way to create something that would be different from what you could take from America or france or anywhere else.
It's a german sound maybe, which is not rooted in black music, but maybe german folk music and polka.
We're searching a lot for rhythms and aesthetics from what surrounds us.
We always regard ourselves as a part of the whole spectrum, something that will be freaky and cued by experimentation or something that brings back a smile when it gets too serious. We like to balance things out; when it gets too serious or too scientific, we'll be the ones to sing German lyrics or play a really nice melody.
The U.S. always used to be the origin of great dance music, something that inspired Europe for decades. It's reached a point now where, if we take away R&B and hip-hop, which is still creative and innovative, there's not much.
The four-to-the-floor classic disco stuff and house came to be stuck in a sort of dead-end.
U.S. house got really boring, nothing really changed over the past 10 years. It used to be a reliable source of modern, fresh, exciting new sounds. But at a certain point it shut its ears and eyes and stuck to a formula. It's sad, because they don't really witness what happened on the other continent, this progression, this joy.
It's a slow revolution in a way, and it brings lots of rock people back on the dance floor as it starts to cross over in very bizarre directions. Innovation became the motor in Europe for the club scene, and
people are thirsty for new sounds always.
Michael Mayer, Kompakt, Stylus Magazine
In one decade, Love Parade grew from 150 ravers to 1,500,000.
The Love Parade was started in 1989 by Dr Motte, as a political demonstration designed to unite the youth of Germany and the world. To quote dr Motte, 'the Love Parade recognises no borders, no nationalities. It stands for internationality and the positive youth partnership for the development of society in the United europe and in the world.'
I think Berlin clubs already showed they can handle rave tourism pretty good in selecting voyeurism from passionate'd hedonism.
Berlin is the only bigger city in the world where the government recognised that there is also an economical power in the their own music scene. So they even support clubs with all the help they can give them. There is less danger of a sellout and commercialisation than anywhere else. At the end of the nineties, the whole techno thing went back underground. In Berlin around and after these years, something new grew up without media support or any other hype stuff.
I have to admit that I think this is true that Germany and Berlin in particular is the forefront of music at the moment.
The reason is that there are so many different producers, DJs and music lovers in Berlin both from Germany and even more from abroad. This allows people to interesting collaborations. And Berlin is still cheap which is better for artists as well.
I absolutely think that Berghain and Panoramabar had a big stake in what Berlin is now for techno and the club scene.
Maybe it sounds romantic, but even back then when I played my first sets there, I felt that we were part of something big that was going to happen. I knew that more and more people would see the quality that stands behind the idea of Berghain. It's for lovers.
Totally different from what I had done before, when I played on the East side of Germany. I was inspired, and so I continued.
For me Berghain the perfect club, because the people are a really good mix - gay, young, old, all kinds. you have tourists, native Berliners. You can go around and you can meet people from all over the world.
It's amazing, it's so crazy.
It looks to me like the early 20th century, or Berlin in the last century. A big room, a bar - very industrial. You come into it and you go, "Wow" and it hits you. The sound system is so special too. The whole package. For me it's amazing.
If you want to listen to Berlin techno or house the cabinet classic tracks are it. This is really what describes a Berlin party. Some of the tracks are too techno so I can't play them because all the girls leave.
They're like "oh, techno" and then everyone starts crying. It's is too much for girls. But it's fantastic.
You play it and the atmosphere changes and everyone's like 'Wow. What's this? But it sounds great. I wouldn't call it old- fashioned, I would just call it classic.
Berlintechno celebrates moments of love in the electronic music capital of the world.
It was initially designed as a type specimen book (video below) to showcase the font, Glypha, designed by Adrian Frutiger in Germany 1977.
Glypha is a square and slab serif font modeled on the basic forms of well received san-serif font, Universe. Its high legibility, condensed proportions and ten weights makes it especially well suited for for poster and magazine design. It is said Glypha began the revival of the English slab serif, much like the revival of the music community when the wall came down just a decade later in Berlin.
When the Berliners and their community talk about the music, the clubs, the people, the movement, the dancing and the city, they talk about love.
This book, like technical music, is designed on a strict, mathematical, square grid reflecting the music and font. It celebrates the work and spirit that is both inspired by and overcomes cold, mechanical, rigid structures to introduce warmth, humanness, emotion and unbounded love.The print book is designed on 12x12 inch pages such that it would sit comfortably in a crate or sleeve for vinyl records.
Berlintechno was designed and edited by Nina Mehta in Bloomington, Indiana in 2010 and in San Francisco, California during 2011. It was first printed in January 2012. All content belong to their rightful owners and creators linked here. Many journalists, writers, photographers and ravers worked hard to produce this content. For that reason, this book is not and cannot be for sale.
Thomas Schuessler for teaching me to love Berlin.
Atish Mehta for teaching me to love techno.
Adrienne Dye for teaching me to love typography.
We rode home with dust on our shoes, döner in our bellies and cheese puffs strewn across the graffiti tagged floor of the s-Bahn. We said gooodnight in the morning to love for techno in Berlin. This is us doing that in March 2007.
Ich libe elektronische musik
Ich libe berlin
Ich libe dich
The island of West Berlin was a destination for creative minds in search of alternatives.
It provided a home for the curious, those who were going against the flow. However, it was only when the Wall came down that Berlin became Berlin again. There was room for experiments. Electronic music united East and West. A club unites people without words. The music speaks. Recognizing the beauty of the world and absorbing the otherness.
Nina Mehta is a designer and writer and electronic music enthusiast in San Francisco.
She now works in tech and comes the world of newspaper design. She makes live music visuals to enhance embodied dance and listening experiences.
Nina has over 10 years of classical music training, danced ballet and jazz and has a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction design. Part of her heart is still in Berlin.