Upfront 007 / December 30, 2014

Opium Hum

A new audio mix series where we call upon the most interesting artists/DJs/record labels and ask them to peer into the near future. How they take it from there is entirely open to interpretation. Our last Upfront of 2014 focuses solely on new Berlin talent, from a man with his finger firmly on the city's pulse: our very own Berlin host, aka Opium Hum.

About this mix

This mix is not a traditional DJ mix, but rather a mixtape that showcases some of the most exiting and promising producers that live and work in Berlin and that you should have on your radar for 2015 (with the exception of Alva Noto and Diamond Version, who are simply my personal heroes). Most of them could be considered leftfield or experimental, but each of on their own has a very unique sound that only a city like Berlin could produce. All of the tracks are unreleased and in many cases this is the first time they left the artists studios, hard drives and tapes.

Berlin is a weird place. In contrast to London or Detroit, and excepting the techno and house scenes that developed in the mid-late 90s, it can’t truly claim the creation of its own signature sounds, styles or scenes as an achievement. The musical output of Berlin relies on an extremely diverse and networked creativity, with the high amount of foreign artists and musicians taking temporary residence here as one of the main driving forces, making Berlin a true music metropolis on global scale. This is what brought me to the city ten years ago and thus most of the artists featured in this mix are not Berliners by birth, but came from all over the world to live and work here.

Exploring new and emerging forms in music and providing young artists with a platform has always been at the core of my work, whether it be the events at Berghain and the Leisure System label and residency, my work as one of the curators of the annual CTM Festival (whose artwork for the upcoming 2015 edition you see in the background) or ultimately through Boiler Room. Many of the artist you will hear are also part of a artist support program called "Berlin Current" that I’ve been involved with alongside partners like Musicboard Berlin, Berghain or the International Cities of Advanced Sound network.

The mix is of course only a brief cross-section through all of the artists works, but I hope it will be an incentive for you to explore each of them individually.

Michail Stangl

Boiler Room says...

It’s never easy to know where to start when writing about a friend. Fortunately, Mr Opium Hum - Michail Stangl to those of us within the Boiler cabal - makes it easier than most. The man is a tireless and constantly inspirational servant to music; a polymath whose very existence serves a stark riposte to the idea of staying within a single lane; a workhorse, an automaton, a maschine. Divert your eyes leftwards and you’ll get a fuller picture—there simply must be some sort of sleep-suppressing oxygen chamber involved.

Crucially, he is someone with an acute awareness of context and a deep-rooted appreciation of cooperation’s benefits. Instead of resting on laurels & tallying the trophies (but shouts to Leisure System and Objekt for some recent, richly deserved accolades), he will seize upon any opportunities to facilitate the development and refinement of music culture at large.

This manifests itself in the bold selection of emergent local acts undergirding more globally renowned names at each and every Boiler Room Berlin. Lotic, Tallmen 785, Born in Flamez, Dadub, Cinthie, Grischa Lichtenberger, Headless Horseman - the list goes on & on. No matter the occasion, eyes are always fixed forward. Given all this, an Opium Hum mix/mixtape focusing on the city’s rich vein of talent as our last Upfront of 2014 made perfect sense. Plus, it features the world first airing of new material from Alva Noto's forthcoming record, just as a cherry on top.

It is by turns suffocating, coruscating, writhing, unnerving, invigorating, chilling and oddly soothing; crenellations jut out, static seeps in, and darkness enshrouds all around. In short, it sounds like a Berlin winter. Which is the very point of the thing, natürlich.

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel Szatan

Gabriel is one of the show programmer/hosts, and BR's Editor-in-Chief – somehow.