Up the stairs, along the expression of the people's appropriation of space (which some will call "graffiti"), you climb up to what is one of Berlin's real temple of Techno, where Mark Ernestus and his pals have set up in 1996 after moving their almost 10 years old store to the third floor of Paul-Lincke-Ufer 44a.
One of the most precious stores in Berlin, all kind included. Originally sitting on Reichenberger Strasse, moved by the water nearby Kotti, upgrading to a bigger space that could hold a house for Basic Channel, and Dubplates & Mastering Studio.
I would have loved, high upon my 11 years old to see the old store and what the vibe was like in there, in the old Berlin of real freedom rejuvenated by the a brand new Germany reuniting after all of its dark years.
Still, I quite feel like you can grasp a good bit of that atmosphere in the "new" store : an exceptional selection of Techno, Reggae, Dub, Disco, Dubstep and a bit of house hidden under all them other gems.
Let's be honest : this store is a nightmare for a vinyl junky. I had the pleasure to have my friends offer me for my birthday a gift card from the shop and almost spent my entire paycheck in there. And if you don't feel like going through the records themselves? There's an Ipad on which you can listen to everything, or get your ears onto those rarities kept away from dirty hands of unexperienced youngsters.
Staff is extremely helpful, unless your brain is on strike since you got outta your mom's, they will help you find the one record you came in to get, if you're courageous enough not to spend the entire afternoon digging these golden crates.
What will you find there, you can also find it on their superb website, where they sell both downloadable files for some, and vinyls.
Here now let's go through a few records I have selected for this week
10 BANGS FROM HARDWAX
African Head Charge - Songs Of Praise.
Words from the store : "Valuable, two disc expanded reissue of Adrian Sherwood's landmark futurist dub tribalism, w/ all cd tracks + three bonus tracks, poster, interview & dl car"
Indeed this is valuable! Like many times the first choice offered on the selection is mine to get. Instant hook for tribal music lovers and people in quest for madness in rhythm. Healing Ceremony is my personal pick in there. The essence of Dub!
Langham Research Centre: Tape Works Vol. 1
Music Concrete, here I come! As much as I love to buy records for the dancefloor, or for the heart to open, I love to open my own perpective of music and "force myself" (if i may say) to buy this particular kind of piece of music.
To me, percieving music like this is a form of higher intelligence. That may be my very own honest opinion.
Making music like that, is the next level of musicality. Litterally making the sounds of everyday life sing along and create an atmosphere that, if you listen closer, involves your brain to image a bunch of crazy things. Again here, the audience becomes part of the performance. A not so friendly invitation to Music Concrete, but would you turn away an invitation from Hardwax? Not sure you wiill.
The Undersized Shadow is my pick, for the beauty of that padded taped sound.
Ohrwert: Fidelis / Blavus
Greyscale, you have my heart since your first release!
Dubtechno expressed with heart and soul! The kind of record you simply cannot pass by. You'll play this tomorrow, you play it today, and you probably wish you played it yesterday.
Beauty, simplicity and groove is what you came for when you put the needle on this.
Blavus (Grad_U Remix) is my pick on this one.
SW: Reminder Part Two
This one gets a special little box. The kind of record I will DREAM to play until I find the exact right situation for it. Records like that are kept in a very special place on my shelve. I tend to not want to play it too much not to use it (I'm a nutcase I know).
Everything is in there. Intelligence, groove, old, new, future... Losing my entire sense of time and space listening to this piece.
If anyone had to ask me what electronic music is to me, I would totally give them that record.
What else could we expect from SW?
Sorry, i've no pick for this one, i'm still wiping my tears :D
DJ Lily: Lilies 5
Now in case you weren't really awake, here's something for you. The sound of repetitive techno by excellence! Straight outta Gothenburg, Immediate Access will be my pick on this record for that lovely snare and ambiance in the back.
YPY - 551
Now let's chill it out a little with a bit more rhythm madness. Franken deploys these Alesis-ish raw sounding percussions to drive you down the deepness, Garando goes even deeper with that mesmerizing stick and bass combination, and Sennengo messes up with the back of your mind. If that was a Killer Instinct fight, i'd call it an Ultra Combo!
One more beauty from Acido.
Al Wooton - Operator
Oh Johnathan, you'll certainly have more snare in your plate? You're looking hungry for that hit stiill.
Lovely breaks! Franz is my pick in there for this fantastic Dub atmosphere and organic percussive elements.
Seriously what more than a driving bassline, a wee bit of phasing effect and an impecable groove do you need ?
I'm conquered from first second of listening.
Horace Andy - Don't Try To Use Me
One of the reasons why mainly you go to hardwax : Reggae and Dub.
Here's one of them great 7" you'll find right at the end of the crates that blew my mind from start to finish.
I'll pick the dub side on this one.
The Black Dog - Virtual
And here comes the Classic! In case this one isn't already part of your collection.
Reminds me of the 90's UR vibe (which I only had the pleasure to go through 10 years later).
This early break record is a must have in case you wanna bring tears to an audience of well grown up adults missing their young days and the beginning of it all, or if you wanna pay respect to those without who we wouldn't spend a second listening to what we listen today.
Various Artists - For The Love Of You
And there you go, the finish line. Outstanding is my pick here for all of what the original reminds me in terms of warm up memories back in the days I was playing hours of funk and soul to start with. And entire record filled with sunshine and slow beats to wake up to for a beautiful day. Did I say I had one favourite track on this record? Not even sure any more. This is a must have for any record collector.
Hope you enjoyed these beauties! If you did, pay a visit to their physical store or their website!