Review: Tasty Morsels, vol. 2

07 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller

Tasty Morsels, vol. 2 is a compilation album by a “group of best friends” who are also in some vague way all members of an avant-pop music collective called Tasty Morsels. The best compilations tend to revolve around a palpable theme, and though Tasty Morsels 2 is explicitly genre-agnostic there is a definite sense of cohesion in terms of the direction and purpose of what’s been included. Predominant, here, seems to be the idea that what by many might be regarded as musical kitsch is actually capable of being renegotiated into something novel, honest, or even stunningly pretty. Tasty Morsels 2 is a proverbial smorgasbord of novelty tools: faded synthesizers, blunt tearful vocals, over-sexualized disco riffs, and RPG adventure music (not to mention children’s poetry).

Tasty Morsels 2 starts with an experimental composition that sounds like the ‘myths of the ocean’ version of Sciene of the Sea (“Forevertime Journeys pt. 1” by Naran Ratan) and ends with a pun-reliant poem about a shoe whose companion has gone missing (“Lonely Shoe” by Daniel Scott, age 9); it’s a journey from one version of the avant-garde to another. And despite not being an album proper, it is hard to imagine Tasty Morsels 2 opening or closing in any other way. Indeed, Ratan’s whisper of a track sets a tough example to live up to; “Forevertime Journeys” is gorgeous and its atmosphere immense enough to rival the more emotionally exploitative works of people like Vangelis or Angelo Badalamenti. It’s the kind of piece that would make any scene in a film the best scene in that film by virtue of its inclusion.

 

Read more →

Other highlights are the Haunted Graffiti-esque funk/disco/Mario Party track “Don’t Be Scared” (Ceefax), the meticulously weird “Secondarny” (Bwengo), and the surprising pop-richness of Laurie Bird’s “Detail Wash”, which sounds like the Fiery Furnaces as fronted by Avey Tare. Truth be told though, this is a consistently awe-inspiring compilation. Songs waver between intellectual kitsch and ridiculous soul sendups, never once coming across as anything less than fun. When Sad Eyes sings “she only loves me for my personality” on the  sleek and mesmerising “The World’s Greatest”, you start to see how heady compositional pieces can be linked to a poem addressed to a shoe.

 

NFOP Recommends: Jylda at Grüner Salon

23 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

For reasons beyond my understanding, straightforward and unashamedly grand pop music from Germany that is not either insignificant or outright cringeworthy still is, apologies for the rather trite proverb, the needle in the haystack – which is just one reason to warmly recommend the rare exception that is Jylda, whose approach to the noblest of pastimes is at once audacious and profound. The former, as the Berlin trio's style openly indulge in unhidden loftiness that would be a remarkable encounter even among people less inhibited than cliché wants 'the German' to be (and who are we to object); the latter, as the music exhibits an undeniable bravura. Singer Gianna Gehlhar's voice is obviously well-trained, with an impressive range and imposing verve, while the whole production of Jylda's songs, detailed and considered is worlds apart from your average indie upstart. Check out the video for the project's signature single "Brainchild" below, and listen to our favourite song from their self-titled debut EP, "Tepid Illusion".

Jylda will perform at Grüner Salon in Mitte this Wednesday, June 25, supported by our very own Yohuna. Check out the event details over here.

Read more →

NFOP Recommends: Nils Frahm x UNA CORDA at Michelberger

02 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Hardly someone to be content with simply sitting at his piano playing some of his intricate compositions, as proven during his latest live performances all across the world, Berlin's own wunderkind Nils Frahm is about to take this one (logical) step further by coming up with his very own, custom-made piano. UNA CORDA, so its name, was conceived by the gifted musician in collaboration with renowned, southern Germany-based piano maker David Klavins, who may claim eminence in his field not least since designing and building the M 370, the tallest piano in the world (aka The Giant, which has even managed to be turned into a virtual instrument and sample library by Berlin-based Native Instruments).

UNA CORDA will be presented at Friedrichshain's Michelberger Hotel next week on Tuesday, June 10. Things will start at 7pm and it's a free event, so make sure to be there early!

Read more →

NFOP Recommends: unrender #2

28 May 2014 — Johanne Swanson

Keep your eyes peeled and ears perked this Friday, May 30 at LEHRTER SIEBZEHN. In the second installment of their unrender series, CDM is curating a unique collaboration between audio and visual artists. The show debuts 'Creatures', an AV project between André Uhl and Jem the Misfit. View the haunting teaser below. Joining them is a slew of multidisciplinary experimental artists, including NFOP sweethearts in residence Kohwi and Caroline Rose Whitley. Oh, and did we mention there's installations? Sure to be an evening reeling with the thump thump of Berlin's best (see recent Berlin via Amsterdam transplant Nenad Popov) that will leave you feeling woozy – in a good way! Find the full lineup and more at the Facebook event

Of course if your mood's mellow, our editor Henning Lahmann will be DJing at Das Gift the very same evening. Penny pinchers welcome; both are free events. Wherever Friday takes you, my friends.  

Read more →

NFOP Presents: TOYS w/ Dauwd & Trikk at Prince Charles

28 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Though sort of last minute, in case you don't have any plans yet for this pre-father day (ugh) night (and in case this here is not your thing), we'd love to guide you towards Kreuzberg's Prince Charles which is going to host another night of TOYS, this time featuring London via Porto upstart Trikk and the highly talented Dauwd, whose recent Kindlinn EP on Cologne's esteemed Kompakt has been on constant rotation over here for the last couple of months, and has already gained a solid, recurring spot in our own DJ sets. As per usual, the line-up will be completed by TOYS founders and mainstays CutOff!CutOffǃ and Asa 808.

Things start tonight at 11pm. Find out more essential details over here.

Read more →

NFOP Presents: UMA Album Release Party w/ Easter & Phoebe Kiddo

23 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Proud to present the debut album release show of one of Berlin's most remarkable new projects, UMA aka RBMA alumn Ella Zwietnig together with husband and partner in crime Florian, formerly of now defunct art electronics group Mediengruppe Telekommander. To be released via Vienna-based imprint Seayou Records on June 6, the self-titled LP is set to build on the duo's superb string of singles and EPs that were dropped since UMA's inception in late 2011 – be sure to check out their latest single "Depart" below, a perfect example of their sweet blend of intricate arrangements and sophisticated vocal arrangements.

For the party, UMA will be joined by NFOP darlings Phoebe Kiddo and Easter, resulting in a lineup that gathers some of Berlin's most extraordinary fresh talents, so don't dare to miss out on that opportunity. The whole affair is going to happen at Loftus Hall on Wednesday, May 28. More details on the event can be found over here.

Read more →

NFOP x CTM Present: Sun Araw & Laraaji

21 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Delighted to present a night of supreme experimental music together with our friends at CTM Festival, next Monday, May 26th, Cameron Stallone aka Sun Araw will enter the stage at Urban Spree for a very special night together with legendary New York artist Laraaji. Aside from both performing their own sets in support of new LP releases (needless to say, we highly recommend you check out Sun Araw's recent album Belomancie), the two are going to join forces for a unique collaboration named "The Play Zone", a live rendition that melds meld zither, electronics, acoustics, and outernational sound sources for a spiritually charged psychedelic experience. The great Alex Grey aka Deep Magic and DJ Purple Image will complete the night with a DJ set.

We're giving away 1x2 guest list spots for the show. Simply send an email with the subject "Play Zones" to submissions@nofearofpop.net before Friday, May 23rd, at 3pm CET. Find out more about the event here and get pre-sale tickets over at koka36.

Read more →

NFOP Showcase: Jerry Paper & Yohuna at Mme Claude

19 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

This Friday, May 23rd, it's finally time for our next official NFOP Showcase, happening at Kreuzberg's wonderful Madame Claude, and we couldn't be happier about the line-up which brings together two long-standing favourites of the site: Brooklyn-based Jerry Paper is coming to town to present us his marvellously obscure take on proto-futuristic sounds, playing music made for (and by?) melancholic androids in search for the human inside them, even if it's not liberation that awaits those who are successful: "I feel emotions / I'm not sure if I like them".

Jerry Paper will be joined by recent Berlin transplant Johanne Swanson aka Yohuna for the first show in her new hometown, finally blessing Europe with her reduced, enchanting synth pop music that's built around breathtaking vocal melodies and minimalist instrumentation, a timeless arrangement that's turned heads in her home country for a good while now. We're pleased to present Swanson's debut appearance on this continent.

Check out some of the artists' music below, and be sure to spend Friday evening with us. The night will start at 9pm. Find more details about the event over on Facebook.

(Poster design by Marius Wenker)

Read more →