This Saturday, Slow Motion & Nautilus take over our sandy beach floor with a mix of Italo Disco, House and World Music selections. Italo disco, a musical genre which originated in Italy and mainly produced in the 1980s, has been of great influence on many other music styles such as House and Indie Dance. It reminds us of white sandy beaches, summer vibes, Lamborghinis and fancy cocktails with colourful straws. In the past few years, this synth heavy genre has made its comeback on the Berlin dance floors with both the classic sound from the 80’s as well as modern House, Indie and Wave interpretations.
We asked Franz Scala, the owner Slow Motion Records and Friedrich Raphael about their favourite signature Italo Disco, or Italo influenced tracks. Their track selection offers us an overview of old school classics that carry the signature sound of the genre as well as more modern interpretations and cross-over genres.
All 3 tracks represent an aspect that I really like within the Italo genre. Neither of the tracks are classic Italo Disco creations, but give an idea about why and how this genre has been so influential for many music styles that have been produced in the 80’s and 90’ up to modern productions. They represent 3 different kinds of signature Italo sounds that are each important in their own and special way.
1. Art Fine – Dark Silence
Art fine is a duo formed by Fabrice Bellini (electronics, vocals) and Rush Blakemann (guitar, synthesizer) from Turin, Italy. Their track Dark Silence from 1985 is a very colorful track, full of New Wave and Synth Wave references.
2. Camomilla – Queen of the Night
Camomilla creates a nice bridge between classic Disco and Italian style Garage. Her EP and track Queen of the Night, also released in 1985 is a classic in all senses.
3. Max Him – No Escape
Max Him is more classic Italo bass line, but you can also hear a few elements of synth pop that has been used in certain kinds of house and electro produced later in the 90’s.
All tracks evoke memories or associations of beach, ocean, racing cars in in playful crisp and pop colours or bikes with various carbon elements. Italo always make me think of brands like Lamborghini, Cinelli and Bianchi.
1. Demi Riquisimo – Rocking You Internally
I discovered Demi Riquisimo early on, a newcomer who has made a name for herself recently. With 001 on 10Questions, the sublabel of Heist Dam Swindle. Demi is known for his Italo, Synth, 80s tracks. They are crunchy, organic &. have electronic playful sounds. His sound is clearly recognisable and utterly technical.
REES – Digital Joy
REES did a lot of House & Disco (edits) and I always bought tracks from him. He often hit the nail on the head with his sound and always creates true dance floor hits. In 2020 he sent me his promos and they were all in the Italo direction. I had to get used to some of them but Digital Joy and Pasion Theme blew me away.
Rhode & Brown – Wave 200
I know Rhode & Brown from and through Toy Tonics. They produce lush piano tracks and house-influenced sounds. On the Permanent Vacation album they show their broad taste in music very well: Breakbeats, Pop (DJ City), House, Deep-House, Wave, Italo and 80s Synth.
You are invited to come and experience the uplifting mood of Italo Disco this Saturday. With this line-up you can expect an energetic, colourful and expressive dance floor like no other.
16th September by Jurgen
Our second Plötze shindig will be themed by some of the city’s most promising artists. The perfect time to shine some light on the three acts that will be making waves on the lake and beyond.
Canadian born Sophie Sweetland – D. Tiffany, is as multi-talented in her musical direction as in her active role within the electronic music scene. The founder of Planet Euphorique, with earlier releases on Pacific Rhythm, 1080 and many more, has experimented with various styles, ranging from ambient and lo-fi house, to electro and breakbeat. The sound of Sweetland is ever evolving and feels like a clarion call from the future, combining upbeat drum patterns with dreamy melodies and spacey atmospheres.
The Berlin bound Irish dj and producer Cromby has been making name as a versatile, yet uncompromising dj around town and played a few celebrated gigs in some of the most notorious clubs. Starting as a dj and producer in 2012, he had his breakthrough in 2018 and 2019. He has earned his well deserved local recognition after a notorious 11 hour Panoramabar set in 2019. Similarly impressive is his frequent studio output, which includes some well received releases on labels like Rekids, Sulta Selects, or his own imprint Potency; that launched around the same time last year. Add the fact that he will be celebrating his 30th birthday this Saturday and it seems like nothing can stop Cromby from pushing his rousing and diverse selection onto our sandy dance floor.
From the same surrender, Bogotá-born Tania Humeres Correa (THC) is knocking out dance floors with a blazing force. Ranging from R&B to ‘90s house and rave, THC keeps it propulsive yet playful in both selections as mixing. A signature sound that attracted attention through multiple mixes for Club Quarantäne, Rinse France; and residencies at Radiant Love and Venus Vessels.
Combine the energetic sound of these 3 local talents with the upcoming sunbeams onto our cosy beach, and you have the recipe for a perfect late summer dance floor experience.
picture by Szymon Nieborak
Forgotten by many, dub notably has been at the Jamaican cradle of modern DJ culture. By stripping it down to the bass heavy rhythmical essentials, dub music was meant to free the way for live remixing. Either being it with other tapes or records, or accompanied by live effects and a so called ‘MC’; dub sound-systems pushed boundaries already since the late ‘60s in terms of performing with prerecorded music. A legacy that cleared the road for disc-jockeys ranging from hiphop to electronics later on.
However, it occurred to be in the early ‘90s that dub and techno really fused and evolved by the hands of Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus. Projects like Basic Chanel, Maurizio or Rhythm & Sound are considered as some of the most influential in electronic music, giving birth to so called ‘dub techno’ by putting even more emphasis on rhythm and bass minimalism. It was at that time that dub vocalism also found it’s way back in. Dominican vocalist ‘Paul St. Hilaire’ aka ‘Tikiman’ features on a lot of their early works, setting the tone for years ahead with classics like ‘Acting Crazy’ or ‘Music a Fe Rule’. Nowadays, Tikiman explores the boundaries of contemporary dub by joining forces with Canadian producer Deadbeat, who has been pushing the genre since the early ‘00s.
The sound of the ‘90s dub techno culture has inspired electronic music producers and DJs for generations to come. Putting their own take on the dub legacy are DJ Dustin and rRroxymore. As one of the co-founders of Giegling it’s needless to say that Dustin finds his roots strongly infused in the same corners. One who listens to some of the label’s early releases of ‘Prince of Denmark’ or ‘Rau’s – The Blessing’, understands why. rRroxymore on the other end, leans more towards complex breaks and dubstep structures, genres that are parable with the rhythmical Jamaican origin.
It is with great pleasure that we present you this program, and invite you to the first of Plötze’s eponymous event series. Either it be the more classical take on dub techno, the more hypnotic deep house perspective of Dustin, or the bar pushing of rRroxymore, be ready for a beautiful journey at the beach, that is as complementary as it is challenging.
25th August by Dorus
picture by Stela Als
Over the past few months there has been a dispute on whether music and culture may take place at Plötze or not. Due to unclarity in regulations and broken promises from the local district, Plötze has been blocked to offer any kind of cultural program that involves music during the past weeks. Even though the contract of the location clearly allows music to be played, the local authorities have tried to stop every form of events, which, to our surprise, has lead to an intervention by the police during one of our events. After months of back and forth, there is finally clarity: Culture at the Plötze will take place and dancing is allowed again, even if only on one leg.
We are relieved to finally have planning security. Unfortunately, a closer look reveals that the required conditions severely restrict the planned events and in some cases, make them impossible. No instruments are allowed to be played and therefore live acts cannot perform. It’s with a heavy heart that we have to cancel the local live bands that we’re planned for our weekly program.
Plötze is aiming to bring people together through music. The beach has always been a place for people to gather. Our aim was to strengthen this identity by offering a broad spectrum of musical styles, supporting local collectives and inviting all to come and celebrate together. It is frustrating that our vision cannot be pursued for the time being, especially in a period where there is such a great need for open air gatherings and cultural exchange.
Even so, the team is looking forward to welcome you to the approved weekend program and is grateful for the great solidarity we have experienced over the last few weeks: from the people of Wedding, numerous cultural workers, the Club Commission, the Berliner Bäderbetriebe, the Senate Department for Culture and various political representatives.
Following this year’s open-air season, the district office has promised further talks, which gives hope for a conceivable long-term cultural location. How this might look like, remains uncertain for now.
More information on the weekend program may be found on our website during the coming days.
the Plötze team
11th August by Jurgen
Thanks for having a few words with us Luke! When was it you played your last – The 7th Plain – show?
Actually, I never played a live show as – The 7th plain -. I did some ambient DJ sets before the pandemic. But these are the first live shows ever. It was a decision born out of everything that has been going on, with venues, and how everything in our industry got affected. – The 7th Plain – felt like a really good thing to do, something for the soul! So all the time that I have been locked up in the UK, I have been putting stuff together for the shows.
Can you tell us a bit about the time your alias came to life?
So back in ’93 and ’94 I did a couple of albums, and then I resurrected it a few years back for the Berlin Staatsballett. They asked me to produce a piece for them to dance to, and then I took it from there. To be honest in later years it turned into a really ambient project, where the earlier works have a lot more beats. There is a lot of history with a massive gap, but the whole idea with – The 7th Plain – is still the same: an alternative antidote to stress. Music to get your mind somewhere… It’s all quite positive, although it can get quite dark.
Do you see similarities in what you want to express between the early 90s, and right now?
I think what we just have been through, what just happened and is about to happen, has a lot of similarities with the 90s… It is almost like it just started again, back in the early ‘90s there was this urgent feeling to discover; things weren’t that great, so people wanted to explore new things in both music and culture. In a weird way I almost have the feeling that we are back in that situation again. I really hope that it touches some things good if you weren’t around in the 90s. That those new generations can feel that vibe in the whole project. You know the thing is: no matter what generation you come from, you always need to have some people that have a healthy rebellion inside to create culture, and it’s always different for every era, for every generation, but nothing moves forward without this kind of power to want to change something. I am a bit of an old rebel, I still am. I thought when you grow older that it’s supposed to go away, but I think it is just getting worse for me.
So it is gonna be the first live set under this alias, what can we expect? How did you prepare?
There are some of the older tracks in there. The ones that I know people really like. Then there are a lot of projects I have been experimenting with over time around the musical idea, although I never released any of it. Also I have incorporated new ideas around the well known tracks. It’s not very linear, It’s not the kind of set that goes along with a beat and continues for an hour, it moves around a lot.Then there are the dancers hailing from Berlin, who will be performing with me on stage. They’re classically trained but will put it into a more modern representation of dance. Everything I did for this moniker in modern days was with dancers, so I thought I need to approach some of them. I didn’t want it to be me controlling some instruments, I wanted another dimension. So they put a lot of work in how to interpret – The 7th plain -, it is going to be interesting to see that in this setting. Also every form of interaction and the work we have seen from each other so far has been online, through zoom. So this will be the first actual live performance… Different times man! I am excited!
So Dana & Lukas, how do you actually do that? Interpreting – The 7th Plain -? Which emotions or expressions does the music evoke to you?
Dana & Lukas:
We interpret the music as an odyssey: which is warping through vast dimensions of time and space. The music takes us through an alien universe, with storms, explosions, hyperbolic highs and ambient lows. Also it is interesting because of the morphed grooves, so we can go real-time, slow motion or in reverse time. We would say the music evokes worlds to us. Worlds of futuristic utopias. But it also triggers a very real nostalgia of pre-covid concerts. It makes us want to party like it’s 2019 and celebrate how music makes us feel, not just as professional dance artists, but also as people, and music lovers.
How did you all prepare for the show? How was the creative process?
For a lot of the old tracks I literally had to go back in the archives and find all of it. Everything was written on an AKAI S950 and an Atari 1040 with Cubase. So I had to find all the old discs, and had to get all the old sounds from the equipment and re-put it back together. One of the tracks I am definitely doing for example is Lost. I know a lot of people like that track, and I like that track as well, so I recreated it as much as I could. I had to go back to find all the parts, and believe me; it took ages man, it took forever. But I was really determined to find all of it, as it’s a labor of love at the end. For special tracks from that long ago I think it is worth it. I am happy I have done it all now, but I don’t want to do it again! Don’t want to go back to 1993 again after this!
Dana & Lukas:
Our creative process is always closely linked to how we live. Choreographing for this show we had brainstorming jams while listening to – The 7th Plain – in our living room, at the lake, biking through Berlin, and at the end in the studio. In our brainstorming, we were able to define scenes of distinct improvisational movement concepts that weave a journey taking us through this musical soundscape, leaving spaces for Luke to just be Luke and do his thing!
How do you all think the interaction is gonna be? How much is improvisation for example?
I think it’s a mixture. Whether I am DJing, as – The 7th plain -, or – Planetary Assault Systems -, nothing is ever 100% scripted because I just don’t work like that. So there are always elements of improvisation, and I think that’s the same with the dancers. We have a basic script, but full permission to wander wherever it needs to go. Anything can go wrong, but hopefully it won’t! I kind of have safeguards for things that might go wrong, but you just don’t know. Sometimes I am really surprised about where things go in a live show. Sometimes it can get off in different angles or engines.
Dana & Lukas:
Our interaction with Luke is entirely based on when he has space to do it. Although we are constantly aware of his presence, even when we are not physically interacting with him. We tend to leave space in our choreography to adapt the movement to the space we perform it in. And of course it is important that we dance with a sense of the audience’s presence as witnesses to each present movement, acknowledging their presence in the performance constantly.
So you mentioned earlier – The 7th plain – is an alternative antidote to stress. Could you tell me both how you are experiencing this, and how it relates to what you want to express?
Dana & Lukas:
For us it is about transcendental intimacy, about expressing active unity, love, freedom, joy and an unbridled passion. While bending the laws of nature and physics.
– The 7th Plain – has always been an excuse for me to get out of myself, into another sort of thing. It has a certain idea of feelings in the music. To some people it feels like love, and to some people it is depressing. Depending on your stands of what is beautiful you interpret it in that way. Personally, I have always thought beautiful music is not just music that ‘sounds nice’. There is this other sort of heart touching side to it; the pain of beauty. For some reason a lot of what I do has that in it, and for me that is beautiful.
Dana Pajarillaga & Lukas Malkowski
21th July by Dorus
image by @omergaash
image by @rebeccadorothyx
Meet Pornceptual: A progressive erotic platform, launched in 2012 in the Brazilian capital: Brasilia. Pornceptual took shape as an online platform intending to explore narratives in sexuality, questioning context in both controversy as banality. Since then, the platform has moved to various parts of the globe and has evolved beyond an online gallery for erotic art, into a community where people from all over the world can express their sexuality in all its diversity.
Founded by photographer Chris Phillips, who was later joined by Raquel Fedato, Pornceptual presents pornography as queer, diverse and inclusive. They believe pornography can be respectful, intimate and artistic while questioning usual pornographic labels. Over the course of the years they have spread their artistic message throughout a series of events, where the visitors themselves are part of an extravagant interactive performance.
To respect the intentions of the guests, a crowd is carefully curated. Although they intend to keep the party as open as possible, it’s important that guests understand the policy on consent and safe spaces. This message is communicated clearly in the process running up to an event. At every event a professional awareness teams protects the boundaries of their guests in a friendly and respectful way. By taking these measures, their guests can express themselves freely and are invited to interact through dance and touch.
image by @igorskaletsky
After a long period where the expressive Berlin crowd has been deprived of social and intimate dance-floor interaction, Pornceptual is opening their doors once again for people to engage and extravagantly express themselves in an intimate open air environment. For their first summer event at the beach of Plötze on Sunday 18.07.21, Pornceptual is going back to its roots as a Brazilian art collective, honoring the Tropicalismo movement in Brazil. Tropicalia was a cultural movement from the 60s that presented art as a form of political expression in Brazil, celebrating free expression. Expect a liberation of love in full regalia, one that only Pornceptual can offer.
17th July by Jurgen
The idea of creating a unique space for music and culture to unfold in a natural setting, is deeply rooted in the team spirit of both O MATO and Plötze. Over the past year a fruitful and creative co-operation between both organisations has come to life. One that has evolved from partnership to family.
O MATO originates from a German/Brazilian collective and is a platform on which natural and cultural values are exchanged on a global level. It is their goal to unite a hedonistic vibe with a responsible lifestyle, by raising social and ecological awareness through a series of carefully curated events. Their interdisciplinary portfolio ranges from cultural trips and film screenings, to daytime festivals, charity open airs and club nights.
Their core project “The O MATO Experience”, is a new form of social gathering, incorporating adventure travels, outdoor parties and indigenous traditions in the midst of the Brazilian Rainforest. By offering local held workshops and nature explorations, environmental awareness is enhanced among the participants. Local staff, regional products and recycled materials are the essence for a sustainable treat that supports the local economy and natural habitat.
Over the past few years, O MATO has grown into a renowned organisation that presents a broad portfolio of nature friendly event concepts to the local music scene. Their musical repertoire is defined by a more organic type of music; such as Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, Brazilian, and African sounds. Yet they seem deeply rooted in the left field corner of all types of electronic dance music, mostly coming from the 90’s era. The sound that is strongly tied to Berlin’s loving vinyl culture. Their booking policy is simple. Instead of booking the obvious, they choose to focus on offering local talent a chance to express their musical direction.
After a long hiatus, it’s finally time to kick off their family residency on Saturday July 10th. Next to dancing and celebrating in nature – we’d like to give something back, supporting the natural development of the Brazilian rainforest, by handing out a tree plant to every tenth visitor.
pictures by Eneko Brög and Johannes Erb
5th July by Jurgen