After a pretty late night out, I slept in until about noon and then slowly put myself together. I managed to head out a do a bit more grocery shopping (including the milk I had forgotten about yesterday), and then I came home and worked on my blogging and answering emails.
Tonight was going to be a big night, as one of my roommates was leaving Germany next Tuesday and we needed to party in style. At around 21h or 22h, she went over to a friends studio space with a few other folks, and I headed over to Kottbusser Tor to pick up Fantô and her girlfriend. From there, we joined the rest of the crew at the studio space and partied there until about 5h.
But this was just the pre-party. Our real goal was to go to Berghain, but (as I learned last week), the headliners don’t come on until 6h usually, and the lineup is ridiculous from 1h – 5h usually. By the time 5h rolled around, we called a van-sized taxi (we were 8 people in total at this point) and we headed over to Berghain.
According to the several Berlin natives in our group, the lineup should’ve been nearly empty by then, but when we arrived at 5h30, the lineup was still ridiculously long. It wasn’t quite as long as last Saturday, but it was still more than halfway to the taxi stand. They presumed that maybe it had to do with some of the big names playing that night, or maybe with the fact that it was the summer and every college-age techno-lover in Europe was in Berlin trying to get in here.
We stood in for about 45 minutes before finally getting near the front. At that point, one of the people in our group asked, “How are we going to get in as a group of 8? They’ll never let us in.” To which another one of us said, “What are you talking about? Tonight we are each one alone.” There’s something poignant or ironic or maybe just comical about the fact that a merry band of partygoers have to deny their social ties so that they can continue/re-create them on the inside of the club.
Anyway, we broke into a trio, two pairs and a single and made a point of not talking between the groups as we approached the door. To bring up the stakes, much like last week, a group of four young girls were turned away at the door as we got close. Again, they probably waited as long as we had for the pleasure of being told their night had to re-start somewhere else. And at 6am in the morning. The sun had been up for at least two hours, and our party was just officially beginning.
After checking our jackets and getting the first round of drinks at the lower-level bar (right next to the darkrooms, I might add), we headed upstairs into the main “Berghain” room. I knew from experience that the music upstairs in Panorama Bar tended to be more my style, so after a few minutes I told my friends where to find me and headed up there.
6h00-7h00: Format B
This pair was about halfway through their live set when I got up there, so I can only comment on the last half of the set. Nonetheless, it was certainly the clicky-yet-bassy minimal that I had been missing last night at Tresor (you can hear some of this on their website (click on this section header) and on their Myspace Page , although you have to imagine a much, much more powerful bass kick to the whole thing.
I spent most of this set trying to find where our group had gone, then trying to help them find each other. Finally, I gave up on the endeavor and settled near the front of Panorama Bar. I ran into one of the members of our group that I had just met tonight, and she pulled me right up front and center, against the DJ booth. I would stay there for another 3 hours or so.
7h00-10h00: Phage and Daniel Dreier
Again, I don’t know what it is about Panorama Bar that does this to me, but I found Phage and Daniel Dreier both freaking hot—Phage scorchingly so (and I’m usually not one for red-heads). And the fact that Daniel Dreier’s (presumed) last name is also the German slang term for “threesome” just made everything a bit more pornographic. Just to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating, I checked in with my new party-buddy next to me, and she said, “I’ll take all of them, thank you.”
So, sexiness aside, their set was really excellent and a more intense than the set Phage did alone a week earlier at Watergate. Their track selection put a lot of emphasis on basslines that were pitched (i.e. had a somewhat melodic shape) and rhythmically complex patterns. The remixes they did of Autotune’s “Dirty” and 3 Channels’s “Night Track 2” are good examples of what I’m talking about. Here's a quick transcription I've whipped up of the bassline on each track, with links to a long sample from Beatport.com:
NOTE:You'll want to listen to this with good earphones or speakers with good bass, otherwise you won't be able to hear the basslines. The pitch levels are approximate and relative, and the colors are just to help distinguish pitch levels.
Autotune, "Dirty" (Phage & Daniel Dreier Remix)
3 Channels, "Night Track 2" (Phage & Daniel Dreier Remix)
Although I certainly like a lot of complexity in the high-frequency range (i.e., “clicky” stuff), there’s also something about rolling, moving, melodic basslines that really get me dancing.
10h00-12h00: Jens Bond
I listened to the first few tracks of Jens Bond’s set, which were a bit less sublte and more aggressive than the previous set, then decided that I needed to sit down for a while. There was plenty of space to sit down in the Berghain area, but I still wanted to be upstairs so that I could hear what was going on in Panorama Bar, so I circled around the bar area, looking for some open seating. Finally, as I walked down one of the dark hallways that cuts long the back of Panorama bar, I saw a group of people jump out of one of the many cubbyholes that have remained from the days when this former power plant used to hold heavy machinery. The cubbyhole had a cushion along the bottom, so I got in, leaned my back against one concrete side (which were vibrating!) and proceeded to rest my weary legs.
I was sort of half-asleep and half-awake, with my eyes partially shut, which may be why a young man later walked up to my cubbyhole, turned to face me, opened his pants, pulled out his cock, and proceeded to rearrange and then re-pack his dangly bits back into his pants. After that was done, he looked up and realized that I wasn’t asleep. His response to this moment of unexpected (and unsolicited) intimacy-exposure was to smile affably and put his hand on my knee before disappearing off onto the dance floor. While I certainly appreciated the sentiment, that same hand had been on his sweaty genitals a minute before; ah well, it’s Berghain, after all.
12h00-16h00: Nick Höppner
I don’t know whether he would take it as a compliment or an insult, but I couldn’t tell when Bond’s set ended and Höppner’s set began. They both cultivated a sound that stayed within the zone of Berlin minimal techno, but with a taste for pounding, straight-ahead percussion that approached the sort of big-room techno you usually hear in the Berghain room.
By about 1:30, my roommate and another pal felt like heading home and crashing, so I decided to go along. I had been planning to keep on dancing for as long as I was enjoying the music, but I sort of hoped to meet another friend Sunday night, so I thought I ought to get home…since it was already Sunday afternoon.
We wandered our way down to the coat-check and then off to the taxi stand, from which we made our way back to our respective places. After taking a moment to fire off a text message to tonight’s date (“Hi, it’s 2pm and I haven’t slept yet.”), I fell into bed.