On 9th of November 2014, thousands of Berliners and tourists alike crammed into the small space in front of the Brandenburg gate to watch the final performance commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall, Paul Kalkbrenner. Some people may find it strange that the final act of the night was a techno DJ, at the modest hour of 9pm, but to Berliners – little music is more important than techno. Four months later Kalkbrenner signs to label giants Sony and Columbia Records indicating a different direction, but any fears of him ‘selling out’ can be banished by his latest release.
Kalkbrenner’s seventh album, 7 has all the dreamy house and stomping techno that you would expect from the Lepzig legend, but it also has radio friendly aspects that his new label surely would have demanded. Every cloud has its silver lining though, and that proved to be the extensive database that Kalkbrenner was able to sample music from. He was the first artist to ever be given access to the master vaults and tapes of Sony and Columbia, where he had the chance to take samples from icons ranging from Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, to Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan. Free from the risk of copyright infringement, he was able to sample the likes of Luther Vandross, Jefferson Airplane and D-Train and with great results. Feed Your Head is a unique re-imaging of a classic that very few would be able to pull off, and that is just one example of expert sampling. Mothertrucker is on the heavier side of things, and it will surely make its way into the record bags of many techno DJs post-release.
Paul Kalkbrenner was only 12 years old when the wall fell, but now, 25 years later, he is one of the most well known producers in Germany. 7 is a soundtrack to Berlin, a story of recovery and triumph against great tragedy.