the muso next door / notes from the wohnzimmer


it’s just past 5 pm on a saturday in february, and georgie fisher and i are on a hunt for plastic cups. wandering down marianenstrasse in kreuzberg, carrying multiple bags of ice, it would probably have been smarter to look for the cups first. i’m helping her set up for the travelling music event that she and her boyfriend, writer/poet wolf arand have brought to berlin. originally run by georgie’s sister and fellow musician stephanie grace in sydney, australia, the muso next door is a small-scale concert series that takes place in a different living room every month. february’s is their second. “we thought that after the first one, we’d have gotten the hang of it,” georgie says, balancing the bags of ice with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other, “but you know… the second time around has taken even more organizing.” wolf has already had to rush back to friedrichshain to pick up the hand-painted signs their friend peer made especially for the night.

that’s the thing about putting up an event in someone’s living room. no matter how prepared you are, you’re never quite prepared enough. all things considered, georgie and wolf have done something really special. sometimes it seems like there’s an entire other world in berlin of which i’ve only just scratched the surface.

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mutek es 2015 / review


mutek has always been the kind of festival you experience with your whole self. you don’t go to mutek to simply hear music, you go to mutek to listen. you don’t go to mutek to watch visuals or art installations, you go to mutek to see. mutek is an anomaly in that way; one of the few festivals where you’re acutely aware that everyone is present for the same reasons, and it all boils down to a love of music. when the opportunity to attend the 6th annual mutek es in barcelona, spain, arose, i couldn’t pass it up. needless to say, mutek es was an experience for all five senses — being in a new city often does that to a person. the music was absolutely stand-out incredible, the visuals were captivating, and the people were warm, grounded, and welcoming. a good analogy for the festival as a whole. here are the ways i experienced mutek barcelona.

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urban exploring with abandoned berlin


i expect to hear the creak of floorboards at the berliner luft-und badeparadies (BLUB) in the southern edge of berlin’s neukölln kiez. i expect to feel slightly unsettled, haunted even, by an uninvited presence. i expect to hear the snap of a twig, only to turn around and spot a wisp of some unholy spirit. but the only ghosts here are the ones that hang in the air as my breath freezes.

it is just past noon on a grey monday in january. there’s a light frost so that the whole experience is cloaked in a kind of moodiness. i’m waiting on the arrival of ciaran, an expat who has become something of a berlin legend for his website, abandoned berlin; a social community where ciaran details his trips to the city’s many derelict sites and ruins. it turns out i had been waiting in the wrong spot earlier — i’m now standing on frozen grass at edge of a sparsely wooded area. and even though the trees are bare, you’d never glimpse this spot from the street. it’s a few minutes before ciaran arrives on bicycle, shaking my hand before shackling his bike to a rusted sign. we enter through what could pass for a door cut out of the chain-link fence, ducking under branches as BLUB looms into view, a stack of wood beams and shattered glass.

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three years of littlecity

tumblr_netz7lKuZh1u21eo4o1_500it was early 2011 when i first shyly toyed with the idea of starting a “blog.” it was around the time that the word “blog” didn’t have exactly the same connotation as it does today. blogs were “the cool thing,” and no one rolled their eyes at you when you proudly declared that you were writing one. in 2015, though, the word “blog” itself is enough to make me cringe. following our continuing obsession with portmanteauing everything — mockumentary, liger, brangelina, affluenza — the “blog” is in itself one of those sad words you can’t help but be embarrassed to say out loud. but in the beginning, the timidity wasn’t for the word but for the thing itself.

it was years, literally years, before i was able to talk about this thing called littlecity without the obligatory nervous laugh or sheepish grin. it’s funny how hard it can be to talk about these things that we’re passionate about, the projects that we pour our hearts into, the goals we stop at nothing to achieve. i have brushed off littlecity like it wasn’t one of the most important parts of my life. i have smiled and blushed and rolled my eyes when others have talked about littlecity in praise. it was easy for me to talk about anything else, other than this thing that, some days, i wake up for in the morning.

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music monday / kiasmos

it has been my sincere pleasure to get to know the music of nordic duo kiasmos over the past couple months. made up of neoclassical composer olafur arnolds and synth tech producer janus rasmussen, the project wanders somewhere between each artist’s respective genre. a stormy hybrid of minimal, contemplative techno, and melancholic contemporary classical. stunning, to say the least.

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