‘And the Berliner says yes, this nicely cleans our atmosphere’. These lyrics were recorded in the Funkhaus facility – then the DDR’s centre of radio – 55 years ago in celebration of the Berlin ‘anti-fascist protection wall’. The music I’m dancing to is wordless, and untethered in the images it provoked. House and Techno typically provoke thought of living, rhythmic environments; a factory full of machines, a studio full of self-aware space-age instruments. The warm, repetitive chords played by Isolee and Mano Le Tough, feel just as alien and undefined as this reclaimed venue. They project a new, organic environment that swells in the dancers’ ears.
Through a calm collection of dancers, a bouncer pushes towards the dj booth, and does something I’ve never seen happen in Berlin; he asks someone to put out their cigarette. A few eyes dart around and a couple of half-smoked fags drop to the steel, grated floor, one slips into the darkness underneath, away from the light coming from a single slit in the ceiling at the top of a funnelled three storey high room. Its faded 5:40am beam reaches down and merges into the ground-floor lights, intensifying the the brutalist concrete room’s religious feel.
A handsome honey-skinned man in an ashen grey t-shirt tapped my shoulder, and asks if I could help him by grabbing a few glass bottles and taking them aside. At the side of the room, he tells me how this is one of the venue’s first clubnights, with more planned soon. As he looks up at the low-lit crowd, each swaying in their space, he – maybe this is my non-sobriety talking – smoulders, his eyes burning with gentle excitement. I feel the same. [The two tracks embedded in this article were both played in the last hour of Mano Le Tough’s set]