November 2015 marked our first visit to Dresden, where we went to pay tribute to the bustling Uncanny Valley label on their fifth birthday. The showcase included performances from Jacob Korn, Credit 00, Cuthead, Break SL and Uncanny Valley Soundsystem. During our stay, the Uncanny Valley family showed us around their native city – letting us in on the historic tales, and shedding light on what Dresden is like now.
To feed you upfront with some exquisite Wikipedia-based context, the term “Uncanny Valley” describes a specific form of eeriness that derives from seeing humanoid robots. However, while visiting the namesake label based in Dresden, the complete opposite was the case. We spent the afternoon with almost the entire manning of the label who showed us around in their city. A proper family vibe.
Conrad Kaden, Albrecht Wassersleben, Philip Demankowski and Carl Suspect are the main heads behind the label that began in 2010 at the Nachtdigital Festival in Olganitz, Saxonia. They had been heavily engaged in the local music scene for years, both as organisers and DJs, so the festival made the right move with asking them to host a stage there. As Albrecht Wassersleben’s “f*ck genres, I play every style” credo might let you guess, fastening the genre belt is pointless. Groovestation – a venue that usually hosts concerts rather than than club nights – was tightly packed with people. Break SL starting off the night with a versatile house-ified set, Jacob Korn then delivered a fantastic live set, followed by Cuthead and Credit 00 completely tearing the place apart. It was one of those nights that end with sweat dripping from the ceiling.
Our sightseeing tour started at Fat Fenders, Dresden’s prime address when it comes to underground club music pressings and former Hardwax outpost before it became independent. You can tell there is a deep connection between the label and the record store, not only by the large Uncanny Valley section they have on offer. Amongst others, they even helped raise money to rebuild the record shop after it had burned down. How one thing leads to another, this fundraising party lead to the birth of another issue of Dresden’s thriving music scene: DAVE (short for Dresden Audio Visual Experience). DAVE fosters a young experimental scene coming from club culture, creating a platform for discussion and providing workshops for exploring both fields of electronic music and visual arts.
Our conversation also led us to Dresden’s musical history. In post-DDR nineties, the ‘little Detroit of the East’ used to have a big scene for warehouse raves. Like in all East German cities at that time, many of the factories and houses were abandoned, providing lots of space for squatting and massive techno parties. The country’s reunification not only brought westernised goods of big cars, Coca Cola, fast food and David Hasselhoff to Germany – but also drugs. The effects and potential dangers of these were still largely unknown most in Germany, including their few existing policemen.
After leaving Fat Fenders, our stroll led us to the Elbe Valley. We walked alongside the river, captivated by the opposite view of Dresden’s old town. There, in front of the Semper-Oper is the starting point of Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) – where many infamous demonstrations have taken place in Dresden’s recent past. Pegida started in December 2014 as an anti- Islamic, anti-EU movement with the average age of their supports ranking at a remarkable 51 years. Their beliefs call for stricter immigration rules and convey scepticism towards established media that has spread all over Europe. They gained a considerable following after the Chalie Hebdo attacks in Paris – but have also been greeted with huge backlash, with counter-demonstrations taking place against their far-right tendencies within Europe. If you want a depiction of German angst and how ugly it can get, here you have it.
This movement is not representative of Dresden’s majority, however; nor in Leipzig, nor in Berlin. Scaremongering ideologies of the right-wing may be present, as is the case in many European cities of today – but what we encountered in Dresden was a thriving, multiethnic and diverse scene, with a young and progressive subculture made up of its own forward-thinking citizens. A refreshing outlook at a time as crucial as now.
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Head here to watch the full archive of Uncanny Valley’s 5 Year showcase with Jacob Korn, Credit 00, Cuthead, Break SL and Uncanny Valley Soundsystem in Dresden. Don’t forget to check all of our exclusive video content over on our DailyMotion channel.
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