‘Lost and Sound’ by Tobias Rapp (Innervisions, 2010) can’t be recommended enough to anyone wanting to understand the emergence of Berlin as house and techno Mecca over the past decade. With enthusiasm and lucid insight it captures the interlocking social, economic and aesthetic dynamics of the scene: tensions between party people and urban developers, the influx of tourism via low cost air travel (which, in a provocative thesis, Rapp suggests is having a unifying effect on a significant slice of the population, i.e. Europeans, increasingly connected by taste networks rather than nations), the institutions unto themselves that are ‘Ricardo’ and the Berghain, and much more. Perhaps most interesting is that, while many of the individual characters Rapp converses with retain a sense of the transience and even ‘precarity’ of their situation, the picture painted of club culture as a complex whole, tangled up with the particular, and peculiar, heritage of Berlin, suggests that the party may be primed to carry on for many years yet.
I still have yet to partake. Admittedly, as the months and years pass I console with the thought, ‘well, it’s probably not as good as it used to be anyway’. But according to Rapp, it’s still going strong, and may be getting warmed up for something completely different.
Oh and there’s this appropriately elusive yet intriguing meander from Villalobos:
…Everybody’s dancing for the same reason. Yes, you have to pay a small entry fee for the sound system, but it’s essentially an anarchistic situation. It’s like air molecules which disperse themselves across the room. The capitalist system would like to gather all these air molecules together in one corner and sell them. But actually things should be different: everyone should get what they need- in every corner of the room. But the way our world works is all wrong. Here, all the molecules are gathered together in one corner, and everyone else has to think about how to get over there. So that they can breathe. Those that don’t make it are left for dead. And if you preach exactly the opposite then it soon becomes clear that restrictions will come, that this is not approved of. That’s why it’s important not to be political, but to define yourself as political.