Following his podcast from last year, DJ Neewt shares his favorite music in a different way this time, in a form of 5 stories about 5 records that mean a lot to him. Yes, it’s what I call the topfive. The songs about Holocaust and an addiction to crack, breakbeat, trance and folk rock. A very deep and personal selection from one of the funniest guys in the Offenbach music community (shout out to Max from RE:BOOT, he told me some stories hehe).
טרבלינקה הקטנה התחנה / ואבק אפר – Yehuda Poliker (CBS, 1987)
I found this record during a 4 month stay in Tel Aviv last year. Besides taking part in a psychological research project, I was definitely in Tel Aviv to discover the art and music scene and dig records. I was especially interested in Israeli records in Hebrew, so, in the August sun, I went to several shops to find some new heat.
I spent some time in a small shop called “תקליטים חמור” that has a donkey with headphones as a logo. There I listened to many records in Hebrew until I found this single by Yehuda Poliker. The deep and psychedelic folk track טרבלינקה caught me immediately. While the spoken repetitive lyrics, trippy guitars, the straight bass and beat line impressed me, the vibe really stuck out to me. Talking with the record shop owner, he explained that the track actually dealt with the transport of Jews to Treblinka, a concentration camp in Nazi Germany.
As I bought the record, I was touched by conflicting feelings. It didn’t feel right to appropriate the record or to have a positive feeling about the song’s atmosphere, and I felt a bit ashamed. Dealing with the Holocaust as a German always evokes a strong sense of sadness and guilt, a longing to take responsibility for something you have not done personally. For Israeli society, the remembrance of the Holocaust is understandably an integral part of their collective identity. When I listened to that song by Yehuda Poliker, it directly impressed upon me the importance of keeping the memory of the Jewish faith in Europe alive. In the beginning, I was not sure whether I would play that song in a set, but now I am convinced to play it for an audience. But it heavily depends on the context and the crowd.
Space Cat – Karraveth (Candyline Records, 1995)
A year ago I found this trippy Trance LP released in 1996 from Australian artist Space Cat. Since then, the record has been a constant companion. The first half of the record creates a thrilling atmosphere, mostly broken beats layered with progressive and psytrancy soundscapes absorbs you into the Cat’s LSD world for almost half an hour. Just at the moment, you can’t bear it anymore, the housy tune “Cluster” gives you release. Afterward, the trip continues on a higher level; “When The Sun Turns To Ice” hypnotizes you again. While every single track is outstanding, as a whole the tracks fuse together into a breathtaking whole. Regarding the sound, it’s engineered a little thin, so I made myself some analog saturated versions to give it some more kick!
Various – Dirty Warped Funk (Hydrogen Dukebox, 2000)
These days the Frankfurt music scene is developing in a good direction. One new interesting project called Changing Factors operates without names and institutions. Their statement:
“Skipping names and appearances to put sound at the forefront, changing factors is a network that returns to techno’s roots only to alter its direction towards a more hybridized future, not only sound-wise, but concerning the ‘rave’ experience as a whole; trying to provide equal access and participation through collective DIY organization and a focus on inclusion. – cf”
I like their strong activist attitude while not being offensively political. In a time when underground culture is becoming more and more commercialized, projects that focus more on “inclusion” rather than on financial success should be widely acknowledged. Furthermore, they upload good tunes on their channel! Check out the IDM track “Subway” by The Experiment which is the second track on the Dirty Warped Funk release.
Changing Of The Guard – A Story Of The Rock (The Unwise Crack) (Ethrotac, 1986)
To some, this tune is only an early and poorly produced electro track from the States. For me, it has special relevance. It deals with smoking crack, making a very true statement in the name “unwise crack”. Most Frankfurters would agree on the sad story of crack-addicted people. In the 80s and 90s, we endured the biggest drug wave in Europe crashing around the central train station. Some of us personally know people whose lives were destroyed by addiction to crack or heroin.
But Frankfurt as a city has taken care of people suffering from drug addiction. Several consumption rooms have been established, as well as a special police department that works closely with social workers and social institutions.
Technically, ‘The Story of the Rock (The Unwise Crack) (Dance Mix)’ is crazily arranged, features some drops and a tripped out guitar solo that rocks the rest out. Yet for me, this track remains controversial as I perceive it as either a well-produced „Frankfurt Hit“ but also as a tune that is socially charged and tainted with the abuse of crack and the effects.
Symbiosis – Sensory / Of The Mind Of The Spirit (Sunburn, 1996)
In my opinion, this record of the mysterious producer duo Symbiosis is a bit under the radar. Both sides are energetic breakers in a psytrance mood. “Sensory” starts with a tribalistic atmosphere and a broken drum machine beat. After some time a trancy melancholy pad comes in, followed by goa acid synths. At the peak a voice starts to speak, referring to a dream. The person stands in the ocean and begins to run, shedding light on the contraction of the muscles. This scene beams me directly back into the 90s, where happiness and freedom seem to be a hedonistic and endless seduction of the sensory system while it connects with extraterrestrial life. Only 25 years later it feels like a completely different time. “Of The Mind Of The Spirit” might even be the better track, similar feeling, but possibly a bit cooler. Play them on 45 or 33 +8%.