'Berlinette' is the second full length from Berlin electronic music artist Ellen Allien, following up the 2000 CD 'Stadkind.' Two records in three years might be enough for many artists. However, I left out the fact that Ellen Allien has, in that same three years, released four mix CDs and many 12inch singles. Oh, and I also forgot to say that she runs Bpitch Control, a label that has come straight to the forefront of the underground music scene in the former East Berlin. Yes, Ellen Allien must be a busy gal! 'Berlinette' was produced by Ellen and Smash TV's H. Zilske. You can hear a bit of the Smash TV sound on this record.
- Alles Sehen The new sound of Ellen Allien is introduced right off the bat. You do not expect effects on the vocal, especially after Daft Punk blew that sound into radio waves everywhere, with the likes of Cher even jumping on the bandwagon. However, it all works well, and fits perfectly in the musical world Ellen Allien has delivered to us. Alles Sehen is also the third single from this record, with mixes by Märtini Brös., Safety Scissors, and Ellen Allien herself.
- Sehnsuckt An instrumental that initially reminded me on the music I heard blasting from my neighbors apartment over and over, as if they only owned one CD single of some dance artist's megamix. With time, I have come to really love this track.
- Trash Scapes voc A one minute straight vocal version of track 5, which is mostly sliced and diced so that you cannot make out the original vocal.
- Push My least favorite track on this record. To me, it just doesn't work. Parts of the lyric seem to be goofing on the disco song Push in the Bush, but the "push, push, kick ass, kick ass" is not anything much better. I just don't like this one.
- Trash Scapes The second single from 'Berlinette' has four artists do remixes of this track. Refreshingly, the original is not on that 12inch, so you will need to hear this even if you own the 12inch (as you should!).There is a lot of electric guitar in with the electronics. I wish I could figure out what the lyric means ("the past is a light train to unknown trash scapes"). Anyone?
- Augenblick This is currently my favorite track on 'Berlinette.' It is an electronic instrumental that has some wordless vocals which remind me of the end of the Pere Ubu song Final Solution, or The High Tide song Dancing In My Mind, from the quite excellent 1981 compilation 'A Splash of Colour.' Added to this, a strummed rockabilly guitar like Brian Setzer might have played in the Stray Cats song Rumble in Brighton, and you have an amazing track that is imaginative and works all the way through.
- Wish A vocal track with slight effect on her voice, Wish has idealistic lyrics straight out of the hippy era or today ("Need a planet without cars and wars, no wars, no cars, no wars, no cars. I wish it could be true"). Then there is the brazilian styled guitar sounding like they roped Vinicius Cantuária or Caetano Veloso into the studio. They are oodles of clicks and beeps surrounding these organic elements as well.
- Abstract Pictures Vocals are twisted by an electronic effect in the same way that Mitek artist Sophie Rimheden uses a lot on her 'Hi-Fi' album. The robotic heel of this track will remind many of Smash TV, and THAT is almost always a good thing.
- Erbeermund The first single from this record, Erbeermund has appeared on many compilations, including the 2002 Mofa Records 2xCD comp 'Electric Pop.' Erbeermund features a sound that will be familiar to anyone who has ever had a speaker tested to see if it is blown - an oscilloscope tone taken through all the ranges. This song reminds me the most of an earlier Ellen Allien song from the Berlin 2001 Compilation, Sweet.
- Secret A disjointed electronic beat with a sound like the famous tones in the US Televison show X-Files. Talking vocals are treated with effect, making me think of the electro of Bunker Records, or the track Satisfaction by Benny B, one of the many fine cuts on the 2xCD set 'The Electroclash Mix by Larry Tee' on Moonshine records.
- Open An instrumental that has a lot of guitar. I like the sound - it works and does not sound forced. The Nora Below Crystallize 12inch Bpitch Control put out had songs like this on it, as I recall. The track breaks into the same kind of sound I liked so much on the earlier track Sensuckt.
This record has taken me a long time to absorb. initially, I expected one thing, and it was not that thing (a disc of songs like Sweet and Erbeermund). But I have come to really like this disc, especially the sound she gets on Sensuckt and at the end of Open, and the chances she takes on the tracks like Augenblick and Wish.