Issue 53 PDF Edition
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When is a Berlin album not a Berlin album? When it’s ‘Lodger’ by David Bowie. When we talk about Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, what we really mean is ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes’ and, erm, the other one… ‘Lodger’ was the afterthought, the wobbly third wheel, a series of “planned accidents” stitched together into an album. It wasn’t recorded in Berlin, Bowie wasn’t even living in Berlin. It’s an imposter of an album. But then, Bowie’s entire career up to that point was a series of invented characters, made-up people he occupied for a year or so before discarding them.
Berlin – West Berlin as it was then – steamed into the 1980s without Bowie. His legacy hung over the city, but the post-Bowie generation had problems of their own, and the likes of Gudrun Gut’s Mania D and Malaria!, and Einstürzende Neubauten became the new core of the city’s intense underground nighttime music culture. The city’s clanging 80s noise even attracted Depeche Mode to Berlin, where they embarked on a dark new chapter in their biography with ‘Black Celebration’ album.
So, don your dark overcoat and head with us for Kreuzberg. Just avoid the heroin, we hear it’s not good for you.
When you’ve emerged blinking on the early morning light from our Berlin coverage, you can refresh yourself in the company of Barrie, Leaf Cutter John, Erland Cooper and Ela Orleans. Or delve into the deep history of Munich’s abstract electronic art project Popol Vuh, then check out the new wave of new age, and/or try to get your head around Mute’s new tribute to John Cage’s ‘4’ 33”’. Shhh…