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[ "Back to Berlin" is the title of the 11th edition of Raudio's mainstream. It contains extracts of the tapes found in Berlin, some isolated oddities and parts of the synth recording I made when visiting Berlin way back in 1984. All is centered around "Kentucky Freedom Chicken - The Master of Germany", a selection of several hundreds of extracts taken from the about 18 hours of field recordings that I made during and around das kleine field recordings festival in Berlin (monophonic using my dictaphone, and stereo on an MD recorder), between february 6th and february 13th of 2007 ... Now listen to this ... ]

Back to Berlin

[ 1. "bo tunty te ...!" ]
other episodes -->
[ 2. found tapes ] [ 3_i. feelt ] [ 3_ii. reek or ] [ 3_iii. dinges ]

february 27, 2007.

If one allows me to say so.

...

The one time I was there before, it was 1984. According to my way-back-then diary we arrived in Berlin by train on the evening of thursday august 30th. We were back in Amsterdam on thursday september 6th. We mostly stayed on 'our side of the wall', of course. And there - again according to my diary - we mainly stayed in Kreuzberg.

koepenicker chaussee I remember buying my stylophone on a flea market, but not where that market was. For severe lack of money I did not buy the old long black leather coat that I saw in a second hand clothes shop and that I wanted so much because - from the look of it - it had been around for forty years or more. We sold Amphibious records to independent record stores, went to see Felix Hess who in some gallery was exposing his moving, sounding and sensing mechanical frogs, and met up with one of die Tödliche Doris.
We were staying at a couple's apartment, who were doing something or other with radio. As to the interior of their apartment, I mainly recall an enormous coal-burning stove. The guy wasn't much of a musician, though he did have a synthesizer lying around, and I recorded one side of a cassette worth's of me playing the thing.

I still have that cassette. Of course.

But we didn't take pictures. We hardly ever took pictures way back then.

I can't remember much of a sun. My memories of the 1984 Berlin are of an all pervading gray. Except for the very last evening. There they are lined with the glitter of car lights brushing past a rain-wet street and the bright neons outside the cafe where I got to talk to a sweet Italian girl. That's the good news. Simonetta studied philosophy. Simonetta was living in Schöneberg, in the Leberstraße. The bad news was that Simonetta was living there with a truck driver. When Simonetta told me this, over - say - our third beer, it was in a low-ish voice which made it sound sort of like a warning. But we got on with the beers, had a big talk, and by closing time we decided that together we would write a novel. A big novel. We'd start by writing and sending each other big letters.
From Amsterdam to Berlin and back again.
I am sure that some of them I must still keep. Somewhere in the back of a big drawer, maybe ...

polish losersOn friday february 9th, when Rinus and I were biking along the Karl Marx Allee, in the direction of Alexanderplatz on our way to the Club der Polnischen Versager for one of the das kleine field recordings festival events, we passed the Karl Marx Buchhandlung. And I did remember that I had been there before, inside that big bookstore, on the one day in 1984 that we passed the wall to visit that 'other side of town'. This and the spaciousness of Alexanderplatz with its Fernsehturm actually were the only triggers of visual memory that I encountered during this second stay. Both triggers originated in that former communist part of town. But maybe that was simply because during all of this week I hardly set foot in what used to be 'the west' ...

Takt, BerlinThis second time in Berlin the center of my daytime activities was in the Friedrichshain quarter, near s-bahn station (or rather: labyrinth) Ostkreuz, in the Wülischstraße where one finds Kunstprojektraum Takt. Takt was founded in 2003 by three americans in Berlin, and later on was continued in cooperation with Berlin natives by Marcus Ahlers, one of the three Americans.
It was in Takt that I arrived on the evening of tuesday february 6th, and it was from Takt that I left again on the evening of tuesday february 13th.

'Berlin' happened in between.

Das kleine field recordings festival ( * ) was a first reason to get back to Berlin. A second reason, that while being there it might be possible to work here or there on the found tapes exhibition. That indeed was possible, and it got to be a very busy week in Berlin...

Rinus in_Takt
Rinus in_Takt
Rinus in_Takt

As a 'parallel event' to the festival, Rinus enthusiastically launched Found Tapes, Found Sounds, Found Recorders, to take place within the Takt Kunstprojektraum. Posting to the 'usual suspects', he invited interested parties all over the world to send anything more or less related to the show's title, to be put on display, and eventually to be sold, in the gallery.
Several actually did ... send from all over ...
Rinus put the contributions up on Takt's walls, and daily held office, late afternoons, from february 3rd until february 12th.
There were several small things there, and there were things slightly bigger.
Some came with a little battery powered light, but most were unlighted.
Bryce Beverlin II, from Saint Paul, Minnesota, sent a red 'Realistic' (Radio Shack) audio cassette tape found at the salvation army store in Colombia Heights, Minnesota, in the fall of 2006. On the cassette's label it reads April 30, 1982 session. It is a recording of someone teaching. The subject seems to be a relational database type of computer software. "This tape," Bryce writes in a note accompanying his contribution, "is released on late-nature label, specializing in 'one of a kind' or 'one-off' releases ..."
From Paris, France, Cédric Anglaret sent an envelope containing 'an undeveloped pinhole photograph' ... "!Do not open in broad light!", Cédric warns ...
cd cover I was surprised to find someone having sent or handed in the cover of a CD from a KIP release, and to find among the other releases listed two from my Det Wiehl pals from Amsterdam. These CDs must date back to the early or mid 1990's. "Soundtracks for theatre and ballet," I read, "that move away from their rock style, into musique concrète".
Here it somehow seemed sort of an appropriate phrase ...
Danny McCarthy sent a bulky contribution from Ireland. It contained neatly framed, named, numbered and signed works from his current series 'The Rematerialization of Sound as an Art Object', together with detailed documentation and CV. All was diligently put up on the gallery's walls by Rinus. And in the end he - literally - cut it in two: Feedbacksociety's Kim bought Danny's contribution, but he wanted only half of it...

And there was more, still more ...

The second das kleine field recordings festival started in the wake of the 20th Transmediale, a big 'festival for art and digital culture'. The das kleine started with an opening on saturday 3rd of the 'sideshow' in Takt (performances by the dutch Feedbackers - who were sent into Berlin by Rinus with a dictaphone in order to 'find sounds' - and by Paulo Raposo.) The festival itself kicked of the day after, with four performances in Wendel on sunday february 4th, which was the first 'day of the imaginary homecoming'.

Then it stopped again for a few days.
Meanwhile Rinus set up his recording equipment in Takt, and continued to keep office there every late afternoon. He spent his time well.

I was not back in Berlin. Yet.

- next: found tapes -

notes __ ::
(*) Not even four months ago, end of november 2006, Rinus van Alebeek organized a first edition, putting all of it together within a period of barely ten days: a five-day no-budget event, happening solely through the force of him willing it to happen, and - of course - thanks to the enthusiasm of participating artists and locations. Besides its philosophy and content, it was also the name that immediately seduced me: das kleine field recordings festival ... That is, 'klein' wie in 'Das kleine Fernsehspiel', as Rinus confided to me. [ ^ ]

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