Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Berliner Trance
April 7, 2007 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Berliner Trance. A 1993 documentary tracing the origins of modern trance music in East Berlin. Featuring interviews with many of the biggest names in trance, including a very young Paul Van Dyk, now currently ranked as the #1 DJ in the world.
posted by empath (49 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
cool. thx.
posted by bhouston at 2:55 PM on April 7, 2007


it's so earnest.
posted by bhouston at 2:57 PM on April 7, 2007


I read that first as 1939, and I thought, wow, cool, who knew?
posted by tula at 2:57 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


of the ten dj's listed on the top 10, the only one i've heard and respect is dj dan.
posted by phaedon at 3:03 PM on April 7, 2007


Trance is an earnest genre.

I wasn't introduced to trance until 1999 and I'm watching this and I'm a bit surprised by how much of the sound was fully in place by 1993.

The explosion of musical sub-genres in dance music from 1988 with the introduction of Acid House to 1994 when Drum & Bass came into its own is pretty astounding. I think it easily matches what happened to jazz in the earliest part of the 20th century. And really all of that incredible variety was the result of the intersection between a single chemical and new computer technology.
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on April 7, 2007


phaedon, just to cut off a derail here -- that list is a pure popularity contest and not particularly useful as a ranking of talent. However, you can be sure that the top 10 are the biggest draws in dance music in term sof club attendance. You can book PVD in any city anywhere in the world and draw thousands of people, with almost no advance promotion necessary.
posted by empath at 3:06 PM on April 7, 2007


Dr. Motte (guy in the cool glasses) was the guy who founded Love Parade.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by phrontist at 3:13 PM on April 7, 2007


empath, to expand further... you could book PVD (Tiesto, van Buuren, Corsten, Digweed, Sasha..) in any city in the world, and the only advance promo you'd need would be a single posting on the local dance music board.

A few years ago, when I was much more plugged into the scene, I was helping out a friend by flyering for a night he was throwing. Turned out I was flyering outside a party Tiesto was spinning at. The place was rammed (and it's got something like a 5K capacity), and there had been no promo whatsoever. Word of mouth only.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:26 PM on April 7, 2007


Err... looks like they mention the Motte connection, nevermind.

Can somone hipper than I give a track listing by scene?
posted by phrontist at 3:30 PM on April 7, 2007


you could book PVD (Tiesto, van Buuren, Corsten, Digweed, Sasha..) in any city in the world, and the only advance promo you'd need would be a single posting on the local dance music board.

You are talking about two different genres there really. Digweed & Sasha are progressive house. And there are places which all of these artists (except PVD) would find it hard to get a gig including, ironically enough, Berlin.
posted by dydecker at 3:30 PM on April 7, 2007


I opened for Tiesto at an event in 2004. Sold out 3,500 tickets days in advance, people were paying $100 for tickets outside the club. That was heavily promoted, though.

I saw van Buuren a couple of weeks ago at a club on a Wednesday night where there was no promotion at all, in fact, I was told not to even tell anyone it was happening when I found out about it, and it was still rammed full of people. And that was just a few days after he had sold out a much larger club in town.

So, anyway, talented or not, they draw huge crowds. DJ Dan, btw, is not only really talented, but a hell of a nice guy and very modest, which is not the case for many big name djs.
posted by empath at 3:31 PM on April 7, 2007


dydecker, with both Sasha & Digweed it really depends on how they're feeling that night, in my experience. While it's true they're not playing trance in the same vein as PVD, Tiesto, or Corsten, both of those guys regularly throw down a lot of trance.

As for DJ Dan.. he's one of the few really really nice DJs I've ever met. Him and Carl Cox. Big teddy bears, both of them.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:46 PM on April 7, 2007


aw, well thats cute. thanks for the video, empath. berlin's renaissance is pretty jaw-dropping.
posted by phaedon at 3:48 PM on April 7, 2007


phrontist, here's a couple:

Humate - Love Stimulation
Microglobe - High On Hope

Many of the tracks are on this record X-Mix from Paul Van Dyk.
posted by dydecker at 4:01 PM on April 7, 2007


Plus, even if S&D don't play trance now, in the mid 90s, they produced two genre-defining trance records: Heaven Scent and Xpander.
posted by empath at 4:05 PM on April 7, 2007


but where would dance music be without genre hairsplitting? :)

I found the video pretty fascinating - people don't really party in such an innocent way anymore.
posted by dydecker at 4:10 PM on April 7, 2007


Oh God, empath... Heaven Scent. It is impossible to listen to that song without blissing out on all sorts of great memories.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:11 PM on April 7, 2007


My name compels me to shit in this thread by saying I hate Trance.

That is all.

Oh except the early 90's stuff, as in this video.

Thanks for this!

I guess I'm not thread-shitting then?
posted by basicchannel at 5:34 PM on April 7, 2007


Now is the time on Mefi when we dance!
posted by good in a vacuum at 5:40 PM on April 7, 2007


people don't really party in such an innocent way anymore.

It does, though, feel pretty earnest/innocent to me at places like Burning Man (& related events), the SF Love Parade (or whatever it's called now) or the How Weird festival. Same for the Goa Trance events I've been to.
posted by treepour at 5:51 PM on April 7, 2007


I'm sure that my laptop does not do justice to this music.

To me, however, it sounds a lot like the music of Kraftwerk, Kitaro and Jean-Michel Jarre from the late 70's.
posted by notmtwain at 6:13 PM on April 7, 2007


At the time I liked trance a lot, but Jesus, there came a time when if I heard Vernon's Wonderland one more time I just wanted to go and kick the DJ in the head many times.

Also highly evocative of that era, from the anti-commercialism side: Spiral Tribe's World Traveller set of films. Trancing out in the Black Rock Desert alright, yeah, but driving your convoy rig into Sarajevo and across the caucasus on to India for a rave and then down to Senegal is quite something else...
posted by meehawl at 6:16 PM on April 7, 2007


Also, my funniest personal interaction with trance came when Van Dyk was DJing in the POD (Dublin) one night. After some discussion, me and a friend decided to position ourselves right in front of the DJ booth and, whenever a quiet moment presented itself, shout loudly "FOR AN ANGEL... YOU BOLLIX" Given that this tedious song had been over-played to death a few years earlier by a factor if around 20 billion and that PVD had stated that he would really rather not ever have to play it again, we thought this was the height of wit. Until the bouncers arrived.

One thing I like about the German approach to techno/trance is that unlike the anglosaxon model it's *much* less driven by personalities. Except for the rare few heads that get endlessly replicated in anglo mainstream DJ media, the identities and names of the tune releasers are far more fluid and anonymous.

For example, one of the yardstick tunes, "The Age of Love", released by 'Age of Love', is actually Giuseppe Cherchia and Bruno Sanchioni. Sanchioni, to take a single example, also goes by the names of Dr. Phibes, L'Indien 2, Pedro Ramon, Rave Inspiration, The Sickelys and The Two Points. And groups that he's collaborated in include 2 Deeep, 7even, Age Of Love, B.B.E., Bassliner, Bazz, BST, Channel 5, Chico Crew, Classex, Deep Touch, E-Legal, Ener, Enter, Illicit Experiment, Introsik, Jennifer Crew, Plexus, Public Ambient, Red Princess, Two Fishes and Zeta 3.

This is why I find personally find collecting and tagging german trance to be an endlessly absorbing task. I actually find it quite soothing.
posted by meehawl at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2007


notmtwain. Nope, you nailed the roots of trance pretty well. Though it's way more complex and energetic than the artists you mention.
posted by empath at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2007


but where would dance music be without genre hairsplitting? :)

It's fun to use LivePlasma and Musicovery to 'explore' the genre.

The websites of some of those interviewed in the 'Berliner Trance' documentary: Paul Browse , Mijk van Dijk, Laurent Garnier and Mark Reeder.
posted by ericb at 6:34 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


meehawl, that's not just german trance, that's dance music in general. Eric Prydz, for example, also releases tracks as Pryda and Cirez D. I'm not actually sure WHY they do it. I assume it's either so they can release a ton of tracks without flooding the market place or because of contractual issues with labels where they have exclusive deals for certain aliases.

Another dirty little secret of the trance world is that a lot of these big name djs have partners that actually produce most of the tracks they release under their names. Paul Oakenfold was a prime example of that, but even someone like John Digweed relies on his production partner Nick Muir. Most of Sasha's artist album was produced by Junkie XL and James Holden. Tiesto also has a team of guys that he works with to produce his tracks. This isn't to say they're being dishonest about it or anything, because usually the credits list the producer, but I don't think most people that buy trance singles don't know that. Paul van Dyk is a notable exception, because he does most of the work on all of his productions, which is why they've been few and far between since he's started focusing on DJing and live performance more.
posted by empath at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2007


Oliver Lieb.

That is all.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2007


Lieb's a Westie though, one of the Frankfurt crew. Ah, sweet Harthouse...
posted by meehawl at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2007


people use aliases often to release different styles of music.. eric prydz is the commercial stuff, pryda is the more underground synthy stuff, and cirez d is harder and more in your face. this way i know i can just buy the cirez d track no matter what.. if it was all eric prydz i couldnt be sure if would be playable or if it would be another call on me
posted by cmicali at 8:32 PM on April 7, 2007


Most of Sasha's artist album was produced by Junkie XL and James Holden.

If you are talking about 'Airdrawdagger', it was produced by Charlie May & Junkie XL. James Holden did one track 'Bloodlock'.

It feel pretty earnest/innocent to me at places like Burning Man (& related events), the SF Love Parade (or whatever it's called now) or the How Weird festival. Same for the Goa Trance events I've been to.

The difference is that you live in America. Especially if you live in California, the experience of dance music is largely throwbacks from ten years ago with little room for the innovation or indeed the club culture which is happening every weekend in Europe, Japan, etc. DJs like Lee Burridge, or house DJs like Mark Farina, who play the Love Parade in San Francisco are really trading off ideas which have done to death in Europe and England. There is a market for breaks, progressive and trance in Europe still, but it's really just kids who just getting into the club culture/or people who are in it for the money rather than the music,
posted by dydecker at 9:27 PM on April 7, 2007


I mean basically, these days trance (Tiesto, Oakenfold, BT etc) is the retarded little brother of dance music, despised by all.

I have a place in my heart for new trance people like James Holden, Guy Gerber, Minilogue, etc but listening to trance trance is just kinda braindead. It died in 1997. RIP let's not go there for another ten years.
posted by dydecker at 9:31 PM on April 7, 2007


Those Germans, they just got natural rhythm. They're born with it. It's in their blood.

Fun little documentary!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:41 PM on April 7, 2007


1989 - The Berlin wall comes down. Thousands of East Germans now have the freedom to discover that dance musc exists.

Huzzah!!
posted by bumpkin at 10:11 PM on April 7, 2007


I mean basically, these days trance (Tiesto, Oakenfold, BT etc) is the retarded little brother of dance music, despised by all.

These days? It was like that ten years ago when I was writing for dance music magazines - even the really cheesy dance music mags would be at least mildly snooty about most of the DJs mentioned in this thread. And when I say really cheesy, I mean Ministry magazine.

Not that I'm dissing the music myself - each to their own - but even in 1993, when my 16-year-old self could be found dancing to hard hardbag (now there's a sub-sub-genre!) in Northern superclubs, folk would be sniffy about trance, even from within retrospectively much less credible genre scenes.
posted by jack_mo at 5:54 AM on April 8, 2007


Your favourite subgenre sucks.

*sigh*

Why do so many people have a hate-on for trance? Could y'all maybe give us the benefit of the doubt, and realize that we know exactly what the music is, and like it for what it is?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:48 AM on April 8, 2007


Is it time yet to bring up Scooter?
posted by meehawl at 8:11 AM on April 8, 2007


Okay, just watched the whole thing. At 17:50 (the e-Werke walkup) it's got Armani's Circus Bells (one of the Hardfloor remixes) with a snare drum overlay. Nice.

Why do so many people have a hate-on for trance?

There's a lot of cheese, and because of its narcotic environment encouraging a less critical reception, trance possibly enabled a higher cheese factor than many other genres.

What's good trance for me? It's hard to remember because there have been so many personal fads since (darkstep, ragga, clash, dub) but one album that I return to every so often is Cosmic Baby's Thinking About Myself. It's a timeless piece of classic Germanic introspection, a generational antecedent of Schnauss's Far Away Trains Passing By.

Baby (Harald Blüchel) also did one of the other great (and over-remixed) classic choons, Café Del Mar, along with Kid Paul as Energy 52. The fact that the CdM meolody ends up being remixed every couple of years acts as a kind of calibration record for club music. Future cultural historians may be able to trace some sort of trend line from its gradual mutation. Much the same way Prodigy's No Good sample of Kelly Charles' You're No Good For Me seems to have been taken up by DJs in the UK for serial, progressive re-interpretations.

As regards different moods, Blüchel also did Butoh as a once off with the Futurhythm project. That's a hardcore stepping tune that's simple excellent, and provided the template for a decade of Goa and Psy Trance derivatives.
posted by meehawl at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy writes "Your favourite subgenre sucks.

Yup.

Scouse House or STFU!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2007


meehawl: ... Wow, Scooter has used a few KLF riffs, haven't they?
posted by Pronoiac at 4:31 PM on April 8, 2007


Why do so many people have a hate-on for trance?

Because trance fans dance with their hands not their hips.
posted by dydecker at 6:36 PM on April 8, 2007


Nice rhyme scheme there, dydecker: "trance fans dance with their hands"
posted by Bugbread at 5:34 AM on April 9, 2007


Nice rhyme scheme there, dydecker: "trance fans dance with their hands"

In France?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on April 9, 2007


you guys speak funny. that doesn't rhyme :)
posted by dydecker at 10:48 AM on April 9, 2007


Well, near-rhyme. It would probably rhyme if a German sang it. "Tranz fanz danz with their hanz!"
posted by Bugbread at 4:40 PM on April 9, 2007


Scooter has used a few KLF riffs

Well, KLF did...
invent the mash-up
make techno safe for scouses everywhere
burn 1 million quid (in today's money, more like 4 million $)
scare the pants off the BRIT crowd
kickoff the free party scene
start The Orb
and so on...

whereas Scooter...
sang HYPER HYPER
(and probably "Tranz fanz danz with their hanz")

sad, really.
posted by meehawl at 7:34 PM on April 9, 2007


Yeah, but Scooter is truly fantastic cheese.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:54 AM on April 10, 2007


Scooter is truly fantastic cheese

Vengaboys vs Scooter. Who would win a Battle of the Cheese?
posted by meehawl at 4:03 PM on April 10, 2007


Scooter. They know what they're doing. I think Vengaboys are actually serious, or reasonably so, in the lines of ABBA or whatnot (though not, let us be clear, with ABBA's talent).
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:26 PM on April 10, 2007


PeterMcDermott writes 'Scouse House or STFU!'

Donk! The happy hardcore it's okay to like! Er, okay-ish. Had no idea that had spread so far beyond the racks at 3 Beat...
posted by jack_mo at 6:56 AM on April 12, 2007


« Older The New York Sun endorses Dick Cheney for Presiden...  |  "These are my friends. I love ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments