[Above image credit: Mapsland]
Upon leaving work, Berlin was described to myself as both “debauched” and “hedonistic”. Neither term resonated at the time, however following the trip of several of the Mantissa crew to Berlin for a four day trip it is extremely clear just what my colleagues meant. Unlike many Europe cities it takes pride in its club and nightlife culture; giving Berghain ‘High Culture Status’ and allowing many more clubs the right to remain open well into the following day.
After hearing many positive reviews we headed to ://about blank, a small night club located slightly off the beaten track. The combination of its run down façade, smoke and bright lights illuminating the upstairs windows, you could not help but be reminded of Glastonbury’s NYC Downlow as you walked up to its entrance. Music was played over two rooms the entire evening however it was Borrowed Identity who instantly caught our attention with a selection of grooving house music. His set was smooth, easy on the ear and perfect to ease ourselves into the evening with. Many tracks stood out as Borrowed Identity built the mood, however it was the closing Regelbau – A1 (01) that shone brightest as the set reached the perfect climax while simultaneously setting the stage for the next DJs. Wilhelm and Jessamine, residents of Institut fuer Zukunft and ://about blank respectively followed on perfectly from Borrowed Identity. Slowing the pace and opting for more leftfield, downtempo house music by the likes of Red Axes and Tom Demac, the two residents managed to keep the groove while moving towards a darker more twisted sound perfect for the later stages of the night.
Slowing the pace and opting for more leftfield, downtempo house music by the likes of Red Axes and Tom Demac, the two residents managed to keep the groove while moving towards a darker more twisted sound perfect for the later stages of the night.
The following day our attempted trip to Berghain to see Ben UFO back-to-back Joy Orbison resulted in rejection. Our spirits were raised by two elderly accordian players who led us away from the hallowed club as we made our way towards Hoppetosse where DJ Masda and Unai Trotti closed the last few 8 hours of a weekend long event celebrating Vera’s birthday. DJ Masda played an amazing set filled with minimal house and garage of the intergalactic sounding variety. Both the flow and mixing of the set were perfect as he treated the dancers to many brilliant records from his collection. Unai Trotti kept to a similar vibe as he closed out the event – there was no need to take it down as the dance floor remained full till the end.
Whereas the focus in London is on often on the stacked ‘big name’ lineups, the sets witnessed in Berlin, all by DJs we had not seen to date were enhanced by the overall clubbing experience. The lack of obtrusive security, and focus on all areas of the club including chill rooms and gardens at ://about blank and Hoppetosse combined to produce an enviable clubbing experience that left us wanting more, and will see us returning to Berlin in the near future.