For music to blossom, artists needs more than isolation. And Berlin and Los Angeles have increasingly been a corridor for inspiration and cross-fertilization. From Kyoka to Khadija, Rainbow Arabia to Daniel Troberg, Los Angeles x Berlin gives a window into that exchange.
LA x Berlin caps off a series of events and collaborations with a compilation, a sound pack, and next a radio show on reboot.fm hosted by Kyoka x Kosmik x Dex (Saturday evening January 21 at 23:00 UTC+1 Berlin time).
We’ve been following Your Mom’s Agency and their intertwined city connections for a while now. That’s meant Detroit and Beirut, too (see below). The Los Angeles episode is a special one. On the Berlin side, you almost immediately hear people expanding beyond some of the typical monochromatic expression. (Even I go uncharacteristically pop, with a gender-bent remix of Rainbow Arabia.)
It’s dreamy, dubby, evocative, floating outside genres.
There’s a deep bench of artists and technologists here, including Nbor (Peter Nyboer) and Daniel Troberg, formerly of Elektron, who’s now in California rather than Sweden). Eclecticism is the dominant vibe, treading electronica and experimental pop just as much as techno and ambient.
Music’s value can be more than just predictability. This is also a diverse mix of the kind of folks that make me glad to be in Berlin – people who are tough to categorize, whose creativity spawns perpetual surprise. That includes scene leaders like Perera Elsewhere, whose live performances push experimental pop to the ends, and who has already established strong ties to LA (with label FoF). And there are constant production innovators like Kyoka (making a hypnotic post-techno thumper) – see the interview from last fall – or Refuge Worldwide resident Khadija, in gorgeously sprawling soulful techno.
It has the character of both cities – expansive, overabundant, decentralized, open to exploration. They’re places of individuals, even without a there there.
Bison Rouge, Cafe Ale, Conscious Summary (Handbag Factory), Crook, Daniel Troberg, Dylan Wexler, Häana, Khadija, Kosmik (The Black Lodge), Kyoka, Luka Fisher, Mentrix, Nbor, Nomadico (aka Dex from Underground Resistance), Perera Elsewhere, Peter Kirn (hiya), Rainbow Arabia, Sarah Kivi, Tavella, The Allegorist, VLQR, and Wavelords.
The compilation one slipped under the radar in December just as the release year was closing, but it’s a perfect way to penetrate some January gloom here. It’s on all streaming services, plus Bandcamp (above).
And there’s an open source sound pack, too, presented by Dublab – this is intended as a sound pack, though the idea of doing 1-2 second songs is cool:
Los Angeles x Berlin compilation
Thanks to the Consulate General of Germany in Los Angeles for their support.