BLACK BOX is the new B2

7 06 2009

On may the 31 B2 stopped being a magazine. Now, and inspired by our last issue, we are BLACK BOX BERLIN .. the yearly guide to Berlin’s b-side. Watch out for our next issue, spring/summer 2011…




27 04 2009

mo' mobili!

by Juan Mobili

Three albums that may remind you that songs from other cultures may be a chance to save us from being the fanatics we are supposed to be fighting.

Thanks primarily to the last eight years of an American president who’s convinced to be Richard Lionheart—although he’s more the king of the mumble than the jungle and the Tin Man has a better shot at ever having a heart—we’ve been taking our shoes off in airports and embarking in a movie that could be called “The New Crusade: This Time We’ll Kick Their Ass.”

Since music, and art in general, has always educated our hearts, perhaps listening to any of these impressive women—not a coincidence, I think—might rescue us from dipping our swords in our testosterone.

Al Andalus Project – Deus Et Diabolus

Al Andalus was the Arabic name given to the regions of the Iberian peninsula that were governed by the Moors between 711 and 1492. During much of that time, Al Andalus was a center of learning and point of convergence for Muslim Sephardic-Jewish and Christian people who not only lived in peace but, together, were a beacon of true civilization.

So there’s no coincidence that it became the name of this musical collaboration and that Deus Et Diabolus is a passionate and beautiful meeting of members of Estampie—a German group— and the Spanish ensemble L’Ham de Foc. After some members of the latter attended a concert of the former, they sent a tape of their music and the whole thing led to collaborations that included the Moroccan singer Iman al Kandoussi, which culminated in this incredible batch of Sephardic songs, Christian Cantigas and Arab-Andalusian nubas from, Medieval times.

Although most members of both groups are involved in this recording, it’s the voices of Mara Aranda, Sigrid Hausen and Kandoussi that makes this album an extraordinary experience. When each of them leads a song or they join in exquisite harmonies, you may be reminded that these three worlds often at war had lyrical roots that grew close to each other and that a global vision existed before we reduced it to massive marketing campaigns.

Mor Karbarsi – The Beauty and the SeaIn Karbarsi’s new album, old Ladino songs—about 500 years old—and her own recent compositions come fully together—bloom, really—thanks to a voice that bridges centuries of feeling. Unlike Al Andalus Project, she brings our times to the past, partly due to Joe Taylor’s production & turns at the oud and the guitar as well as some guest chops by Trilok Gurtu and Kai Eckhardt

To name favorites is not so much pointless as it is pointless. The whole plays amazingly well together. If you skip a track, it’d be your loss.

Natacha Atlas – Ana Hina

In Ana Hina, her new album, Natacha Atlas’ voice is stripped from prior expeditions into contemporary Electronica and allowed dives sinuously in the deep waters of traditional Middle Eastern songs of longing, and offering us her most heart-felt singing in many years.

Ana Hina journeys back to the night-long conversations suspended on the smoke of sheesha worshippers in so many cafes in the Middle East, where men and women look intently at the mint leaf at the bottom of their cups waiting for their lovers.

Natacha’s voice conjures up the power of melodies that take us to times and places where, although bound to be eternal foreigners, everything will feel deeply familiar … like returning home.

free-spirited folkster – WAITING

19 04 2009

And even more. The World is waiting… for Davendra Banharts newest album soon to come out. This guy rocks and we still have to hang on to Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon with its frantic “Carmensita”. Damn!

Davendra Banhart

The mystical love-child of the nu-folk movement, Devendra Banhart exerts an inexplicable pull on the music world. People that don’t like folk, like Devendra Banhart. People who think long-haired hippies belong in the sixties, like Devendra Banhart. People who think singer/songwriters belong in Room 101, still lap up anything by this free-spirited folkster.

So it’s with a degree of trepidation that I approach his new album. Are my critical sensitivities going to stand firm, could I dare to criticise the international pin-up of the folk scene? Thankfully, I don’t have serious cause to. Yes, it’s slightly over-long – weighing in at a weighty 16 tracks – but Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon is his most sophisticated, sprawling work so far.

Recorded late at night in the hills of hippy Californian haven, Topanga, it’s infused with caffeine-fuelled nocturnal energy. Banhart dances from genre to genre, lingering long enough to record the odd ten minute epic and then skipping off again through reggae, rock, jazz and Latino rhythms. His distinctive, lilting growl guiding you through to this entrancing musical jumble.

Reference points abound – there’s a nod to his Venezuelan roots on the lush, tropical sounding “Samba Vexillographica”, a dash of 50s doo-wop with a Jewish twist on “Shabop Shalom”… (read the complete review here)

And if you’re not lucky enough to be in California these days just wait. And wait for more to come…

divided|back_ MODERAT

8 04 2009

Sorry but we will abuse from the word milestone. Two german electronic giants fusioned to one: Moderat are Modeselektor and Apparat. But this is not a new joint. We have to go back in time: Moderat’s formation began back in 2002 when Sascha Ring (aka Apparat) and Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary (aka Modeselektor) recorded an EP for the record label BPitch Control. The making of this release was incredibly exhausting for the three of them, and at the last minute they renamed the EP “Auf Kosten der Gesundheit” (which translates to “At The Cost Of Health”). When it came time to begin working on an album, Moderat suddenly broke up. What follows is an incredible story. Divided they created two milestones in electronic music:

Picture by Melissa Hostetler

Picture by Melissa Hostetler

A short time later both Modeselektor and Apparat simultaneously worked on their own full-length albums — Modeselektor’s debut, Hello Mom!, and Apparat’s collaboration with Ellen Allien, Orchestra of Bubbles. Each went on to become successful releases and were followed by two career-defining albums for the individual acts. Additionally, since their debut releases, both acts have performed over 1,000 shows at nearly every point of the globe.

Modeselektor’s sophomore album in 2007, Happy Birthday!, set another milestone in German music history including musicians such as Puppetmastaz, Mäximo Park and Thom Yorke. Amongst a slew of remixes for the likes of Thom Yorke and Björk, Modeslektor also went on to tour with Radiohead across Japan in 2008. Apparat, on the other hand, moved forward with his album Walls in 2007, taking a musical path that was more band-oriented and kept him on tour for several years running.

It was a twist of fate that brought about Modeselektor and Apparat’s reunion in the spring of 2008. Szary and Bronsert, both proud fathers, were on their way to the “Stadtbad Mitte” (Berlin-Mitte City Pool) with their children for their regular Monday swimming lessons when they ran into Ring, a devout bachelor who happened to be accompanied by several dubious females. After a battering of verbal abuse, the three gentlemen quickly made peace and decided to get back to work on their collaborative album post haste. Thus, Moderat was reformed.

In recording Moderat’s self-titled album, the three men began by renting studio space at the legendary Berlin Hansa Studios (where Bowie recorded Heroes) in order to record the album in analog with the help of the studio’s vintage tube technology and an old EMI console from 1972, restored especially for Moderat…

Check a first result and


RELEASE: 20.04.2009

FORMAT: CD / CD+DVD / LP / Digital


EAN CD: 880319409523 (Basic)

880319419928 (Deluxe)

EAN LP: 880319418815


01 A New Error

02 Rusty Nails

03 Seamonkey

04 Slow Match (feat. Paul St. Hilaire)

05 3 Minutes Of

06 Nasty Silence

07 Sick With It (feat. Delle aka Eased from Seeed)

08 Porc#1

09 Porc#2

10 Les Grandes Marches

11 Berlin

12 Nr. 22

13 Out Of Sight

14 BeatsWaySick (feat. Busdriver) [Bonus Track – Deluxe Version Only!]

15 Rusty Nails (Shackleton Remix) [Bonus Track – Deluxe Version Only!]

btw. of course Moderat will be at this years Sónar: read more …

Refined electronica – SÓNAR 09

2 04 2009

Ok. The guys had a weird trip this winter. This year, the Sónar image takes the form of a short film. The central characters are surreal majorettes from the world of dreams, who have lost their bearings in the land of the living as a result of calls from a fiendish telephone booth. They’ve been producing the official Sónar vid somewhere in France – a good idea how Sónar you can get in june. Without freeze:

Click on the picture to watch this years Sónar full length image vid! Or…

What else should be said on Sónar 2009? Get your Barcelona hotel, be prepared for some Raster Noton artists on june 18, Carsten Nicolai’s label touches down at the festival with all its big guns: Alva Noto, SND, Atom TM and Byetone.

Bpitch will be represented by the most expected joint Moderat, the Berlin fusion of Modeselektor and Appart (Ellen Alien’s best bud), more Berlin tunes by Ostgut Ton and on Sónar Nights on june 20 you’ll dance to Crystal Castles. Check the complete line-up here. What could be added to this line up? Just book soon and be there:



UK tix
0844 847 25 11
mon to sun 24/7

Et je sais que tu aimes les animaux

23 03 2009


This guys from Montreal will soon rock Berlin. Check for the day and find their sounds on the web. Malajube is a Canadian pop-rock quintet which took the indie scene by storm. On February 10, the band released its third catchy rock album, Labyrinthes. Fully packed they’ll present their actual release in Berlin’s Magnet Club. Another proof that those guys in Prenzlauer Berg do great booking work. After Trompe-l’œil (2006) and Le Compte Complet (2004) they completed a weirdo masterpiece with highly addictive tracks, though we’re still loving La monogamie from their second one. Don’t miss!

An analogue bubble bath

16 03 2009

On april 26 you’ll have one of the greatest electronic acts around served at Ostgut. Don’t miss this L.A. guy: Flying Lotus’ Los Ángeles is already a milestone. Tune in for a review on Steven Ellison’s june 08 release…


Along with the rising profiles of both Scottish producer Rustie and fellow Warp artist Harmonic 313, FlyLo’s migration to the Sheffield label for his first full-length release indicates that this strain of instrumental, broken hip hop is whetting aural appetites. Steven Ellison’s hometown provides the impetus for a narrative of city life where off-kilter beats, cloaked in ambience, set the soundscape. His is an L.A that threatens; the ominous, static fog of opener Brainfeeder seduces, while Roberta Flack is just sublime.

Where David Holmes’ Bow Down To The Exit Sign packed a visceral, urban punch through spoken monologues from corner street dwellers, Ellison’s eschewing of M.Cs smacks of confidence. Without lyrical clutter the imagined city is as much the listener’s creation as the artist’s, a trick that perhaps betrays Ellison’s jazz lineage (his aunt is Alice Coltrane).

Prefuse 73’s shadow looms large over the wonderfully-monikered Beginners Falafel and the crunchy edits of Camel. That aside, Ellison’s deftness of touch, matched with the application of ethereal backdrops that recall EL P’s stone cold work with Cannibal Ox, ensure this street storyboard intensifies with each listen. The rabbit-warren, rhythmic …

For the complete review click tha pic, hon!


26 02 2009

The Tijuana label Static Discos is know among music fans worldwide for its small but solid selection of experimental electronic acts, which are often better known in Europe than within the boundaries of Latin America. One such project is Antiguo Automata Mexicano—originally a single-man operation founded in the northern city of Monterrey by Ángel Sánchez Borges, which now includes drummer Carlos Icaza on its heavily improvised live sets.


Ángel began to work on AAM in 2000 as a side-project to his electro rock group Slowmotionlove. He wanted to give the ideas on noise and improvisation developed while he was cello student in the mid 1980s a digital outlet, which made it easier for him to develop new soundscapes. “I composed Microhate an album full of crackle soundscapes with a melancholic evening mood”. Angel dedicated the first track to Florian Fricke the front man of the band Popol Vuh, one of the most important projects associated with the Krautrock, the German avant-garde musical movement that emerged at the end of the 1960’s.

Not only was Microhate influenced by German experimental music, it was also released through Background Records in Düsseldorf, Germany home to groups such as Neu! and Kraftwerk. According to Ángel, being associated to minimalist and avant-garde German music can be both good and bad, but has never been a gimmick. “I always dedicate some pieces of my work to musical heroes of mine”, says Ángel , “for example, to Walter Schmidt, in my opinion one of greatest electronic and experimental musicians ever to have come from México.”

A project such as AAM is rare for Monterrey, an industrial culturally and politically conservative city best known in Mexican music circles for norteña music and the “avanzada regia”—a movement that included hip-hop, rock, and electronic bands once considered commercially viable by MTV and the record industry. AAM has had little relation to this phenomenon. In fact, the music of Antiguo Automata Mexicano with its abstract and challenging disposition stands in rather sharp contrast to most music from Monterrey. I ask Angel about his relation to his native city and whether he has found support for his music? “I do believe that my music could only emerge from Monterrey”, says Ángel, “I don’t know why, but perhaps just being bored in the middle of this infernally hot place!”

AAM has certainly achieved an important level of attention among adventurous musicfans. With his latest project—Kraut Slut—in which Ángel has further developed the intensity and intricateness of his sound, AAM has generated considerable attention from publications such as Fader, Urb, Pitchfork and Texture. Unfortunately, such level of international attention remains elusive for the majority of Mexican experimental projects. When I asked Ángel how he has been able to put AAM on the global musical spectrum, he replied, “I think AAM has gained such recognition because of all the work I’ve been doing in Mexico since the 1980s. In Monterrey and Mexico City people started paying attention to my music because the “German album” (Microhate) and a review by the electronic music publication De:Bug”.

Read the complete article from Oscar León Bernal in B2 MAGAZINE BERLIN #9, BLACK BOX BERLIN

Let’s get it started Mr. O!

26 02 2009


Ok, somehow we like the Obama Idea. Suddenly a saviour appears, amidst the biggest crisis ever. People still think there is a way out. And there is a way out: but the way out is preceded by a hard paradigmatic change. The markets can’t expand anymore. Our ways of living have to change. The worldwide saturation with goods has reduced China to a dumb toothless plastic tiger. Faking the possibility of recovering and getting back to the state of happiness with consumption is just a lie. Some “O”-Quotes:

“We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.” Really? How?

“The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care; the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit. That is our responsibility.” Another American century? Fuck no!

“Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.” Oh, please!

I don’t know why we like Mr. Obama. But he shouldn’t be confounded by some weird advisors. The truth is that we won’t recover, that we won’t overcome this crisis. But live will continue and maybe the Berlin way could be used as an example. Berlin is, was and will always be poor (but sexy). And what once was a different model of living could be a way out for humanity? It is hard to recognize that politics has no idea how to get out of this mess. But there is no need to lie. Let’s be honest, we knew that politics never served the people and therefore we never expected solutions, so don’t sell cheap philosophy. Just don’t lie. Be honest or do what your predecessors did. Nothing.
Consumerism has come to an end – a real chance to change for good. To measure with quality, not quantity… Let’s get things started Mr. O!

BTW_ B2#10 will offer you some easy receipts how to cope with unstable environments in life. Cheap philosophy for free, soon on B2 MAG…


23 02 2009

Cuci Amador and Toni Smurphio … are Afrobeta. The Miami based microband not only offers a fresh electrofunk mix, but Amador also was present on Calle 13’s last vid ELECTRO MOVIMIENTO.. njoy:

check their myspace