Features: SHAPESHIFTER

There are many bands out there who have tried to play live drum’n’bass before, but none of them have brought it to a level of perfection as these guys, multiple award winning, platinum selling, world famous Shapeshifter from Christchurch, New Zealand. They will be back in Berlin, April 20, to play one of their energetic live shows at Gretchen. Since their formation in 1999, Shapeshifter have worked their way up to be one of New Zealand’s top musical exports and definitely have caught worldwide attention with their live performances. We have had a look at the bands history and have brought together all the interesting facts about them in this little article.

The four founding members, Devin Abrams, Redford Grenell, Sam Trevethick and Nick Robinson met first at the Christchurch Jazz School. Their wide musical background included dub, jazz, hip-hop, metal, funk and electronic, this led into the decision to bring all these influences together and create live drum’n’bass. In 2001, Shapeshifter released their first longplayer entitled “Realtime”. For the album they worked together with producer Kaps and Tiki Taane, a member of the famous New Zealand dub/reggae formation Salmonella Dub. It also features the sweet vocals of Ladi6, who has been called “New Zealand’s answer to Erykah Badu”, on the track “Move With Me”. At the 2002 b-Net New Zealand Music Awards the album was awarded as the “Best Electronic Release” and was also nominated for “Best Electonic Album” at the Rainz New Zealand music Awards. Continue reading “SHAPESHIFTER”

Features: Jeff Parker and The New Breed

This week we will continue our series of jazz events with a truly outstanding artist. On April 7 we are opening doors for Jeff Parker and The New Breed. So many interesting facts to talk about, where do we even begin?

The American jazz and rock guitarist, born in Hampton, Virginia, in 1967 was attracted to music from an early age on and decided to study at the Berklee College of Music. Soon after he moved to the jazz capital Chicago and started working on his career as a musician. Parker  became a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a non-profit organization, which supports and encourages jazz performers, composers and educators. According to its charter the ACCM is devoted “to nurturing, performing, and recording serious, original music”. Also members of the organization are, for instance, George Lewis, Chico Freeman, Anthony Braxton and the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. But Parker was not only interested in playing jazz, his skills as a rock musician were widely acknowledged when he joined the famous post-rock band Tortoise. The almost entirely instrumental music of Tortoise is quite experimental and, rather than the standard rock and roll sound, a mixture that incorporates everything from the so called krautrock, dub, minimalist music, electronic to various jazz styles. Their last album “The Catastophist” was released, by the Chicago based indie label Thrill Jockey, i Continue reading “Jeff Parker and The New Breed”

Features: Hospitality Night Berlin

Gretchen is proud and happy to host the Hospitality nights in Berlin. The next one is right around the corner, March 25, and the Line-up speaks for itself. A true Jungle/D&B legend who have not played in Berlin in a long long time, a superstar of the genre and one of the most talked about of the last years. But before we take a closer look at these guys, let us find out more about Hospitality, a name that rings a bell of junglists and bass addicts all around the globe.

It is 1996, Forest Hill, South London, two enthusiastic men with a plan are starting their independent label Hospital Records. Tony Colman, also known as the man behind London Electricity, and Chris Goss had a vision and were ready to jump into cold water to swim with the sharks. Their engagement and hard work paid off relatively fast, as Hospital became a well known name and was mentioned in the same breath with leading labels of Jungle/D&B at that time like for instance Metalheadz, Moving Shadow or Reinforced. Releasing artists on the imprint such as London Electricity, the Austrian duo Camo & Krooked, Danny Bird, Nu:Tone, Logistics, Fred V & Grafix, and the list goes on, guarantee a level of quality that makes it hard for other labels to keep up with and almost unlikely to even top it. The sound of Hospital Records is warm and easy, soulful but impulsive. Music for the dance floor as well as hanging out with friends or in your car driving down the highway. In 2001 Hospital came to the conclusion that it was time to start their own event series. Maybe the parties at that time were not what Colman and Goss were looking for, be it the atmosphere, ticket prices or door politics. Or maybe it was just the wish to present their very own idea of Jungle/D&B, in the right environment and with a Line-up that they could put together themselves to feature the labels artists as much as possible. They named it Hospitality and the first event took place at the, now closed, Herbal club in Shoreditch, East London. From there Hospitality took it to several London clubs such as Heaven, Matter and all the way up to the Brixton O2 Academy. But London became too small, so they started to throw regular events all over the UK. From Brighton to Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds and everywhere else where people were asking for it. But guess what? Great Britain became too small, so Hospitality took it to Miami, Tokyo, Ibiza and many other locations across the globe, until they finally landed in Berlin where Gretchen was their first choice. We are feeling honoured and looking forward to a long partnership with many great nights at our club.You probably want to know who will be on the wheels of steel this time? As usual Hospitality will not disappoint you: This card is something for everyone from the old school to the next generation of D&B heads. Continue reading “Hospitality Night Berlin”

Features: Oddisee & Good Compny

This Wednesday, March 15, we are opening doors for Oddisee & Good Compny. Rap music that has a message that goes deeper than the usual talk on the mainstream records these days. Who are these guys and what is their game plan? Let’s find out!

Amir Mohamed el Khalifa (age 32), better known by his stage name Oddisee, son of an African American mother and Sudanese father, a rapper and producer has an interesting life story to tell. Raised by his father and stepmother, who also is Sudanese, he spend the first years of his life in Silver Spring, a small town in Montgomery County, Maryland. Referring to previous interviews it must have been a peaceful time growing up in this affluent environment. Oddisee was originally influenced by his parents heritages, combined with a hip hop influence from his older cousins. His very first role models were Eric B. & Rakim, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, he stated that these rappers don’t talk about drugs or murder, and he could relate more to their lyrics. In his song “You Grew Up” he is mentioning how he was trying to keep his Nikes clean when his best friend, who was white, was trying to scuff his Chucks up. This is where he first discovered the cultural differences between Caucasians and African Americans in the American society. From there they moved to Prince George’s County, one of the wealthiest African American counties in the nation but borders some of Washington D.C. area’s roughest parts. After high school he decided to move to Washington D.C. and work on his career as a musician. Continue reading “Oddisee & Good Compny”

Features: 20/20 LABELNIGHT

It is a cold early 2017 in Berlin but it is going to be a hot Saturday night, February 18, that’s a promise! The London based label 20/20 LDN is about to enter the Gretchen (again) to do what they do best .. make you dance. As usual Sabre, Stray and Halogenix, also known as Ivy Lab, the heads of the imprint, have put together an exciting Line-up.

There is Tim Parker, who is signed to 20/20 LDN, Tsuruda, the highly rated charismatic producer from Los Angeles, Chunky, who is mcing that night even though he’s so much more than just a host (we’ll get to that later), the Depth Range crew from Ulm, a collective of different young artists who are pretty much the rising stars of Germany’s Bass music scene, Werd, a Berlin based Hip Hop DJ and producer originally from San Jose, California, and our resident Soulmind, who’s music wise perfectly fitting into this Line-up. It is always a pleasure to welcome 20/20 LDN and guests at our club as they stand for what we personally love about music. An open minded sound that is free of any limitations or restrictions. Music that don’t need no definition. Influenced by the sound of Bass music, Drum’n’Bass, Future Beats and basically everything that is related to these genres, 20/20 LDN has found their own niche and they are not planning to leave this path. This label represents what club music is today, but each one of these acts has a very unique story to tell. Let’s take the time and see what they are about and what to expect on Saturday.

If you haven’t heard of 20/20 LDN yet, there is just one question .. Where have you been the last almost two years??? The story of the label is quite simple and be told fast. In 2012 the trio Ivy Lab, as mentioned before, formed by Sabre, Stray and Halogenix, has started to release several tunes on Critical Music which had unanimously positive reviews in the press, be it print or online media. In the beginning their main focus was laid on Drum’n’Bass, but it changed more and more to some kind of wonky Halfstep-Hip-Hop, a very unique sound with its own signature. This was a process that finally, suggested by Critical Music label owner Kasra, led to the decision to produce an entire album “20/20 Volume One” with their very own interpretation of 85 BPM music, half of the standard drum & bass tempo and in lock with a lot of instrumental Hip-Hop beats. A lot of their music pays homage to samples, a classical approach of producing Hip-Hop music. When the album was finished the question came to mind where to release it. Of course Critical Music was an option, but Ivy Lab had other plans. In 2015 they founded 20/20 LDN to release their long awaited LP. The label quickly gained a lot of international recognition. But the imprint was not just a quick idea to release this album, it was also meant to be a platform for other artists with similar visions and interests. Today 20/20 LDN releases music from acts such as Tim Parker, Jon 1st, Deft, Stray and lately Ivy Lab’s follow up LP “20/20 Volume Two” which featured tracks of many other great producers like Sinistarr, Phazz or Havelock for example. Continue reading “20/20 LABELNIGHT”