Live Review: Gelbart & Dane Joe @ Schokoladen

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In Berlin for three days after New Year’s Eve.  Mostly being tourists, the Pergamon museum, a theatre show and a terrible time at Tresor.

We asked some strangers where we might be able to find a supermarket. Everywhere closed because of some Sylvester guy. They ended up recommending ‘Schokoladen.’ as a good venue for punk music.

So for our last night in Berlin we checked out what was happening there, two electronic acts? Yes, this is what we came to Berlin for. With visuals and animation? Even better. The night was hosted by Baby Satan, a brand new independent Berlin-based record label.

Their debut compilation album is brilliant and they’re working with some interesting experimental musicians, check them out here:

https://babysatanrecords.bandcamp.com/

Gelbart and Dane Joe doing a co-headline gig. They’re two electronic musicians who are super friendly and frighteningly talented.

Dane Joe opened up the night with her unique brand of electronic post-punk. Dane Joe’s music is as ambient as it is danceable and she manages to create a fusion of chilled electronica, new wave and dream pop that is both familiar and starkly original. The beats are considerably well programmed. Her music was accompanied by VJ Sascha Hermann whose visuals really complimented the lo-fi ambience of Dane Joe’s set. Her vocals and production reminds me of Weilheim based band Lali Puna.

Dane Joe’s vocals are of a dream-pop style, nods to My Bloody Valentine’s Bilinda Butcher with a clear early R&B influence there too. Dane Joe appreciates the angularity of post-punk guitar styles and combines them with chuggy industrial grooves.

Her covers of Age of Consent and Wicked Game are made totally her own, it isn’t often you see an act and think ‘I want to hear more covers’ they have a nostalgic quality to them and dreamy synth melodies to boot.

 

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Gelbart is a genius, I was talking to two fans of his who said ‘he seems like a man overwhelmed by his own intelligence’ an apt way of describing the virtuoso Gelbart. 

He’s also released a new book, Egg Like which is seriously funny stuff and made for what felt like the shorted plane journey back to London. The surreal world he has created is one that anyone would relate to in a different way, it’s universally relatable in it’s quirky absurdity.

Gelbart drops you onto a magic plane that is both twee and nightmarish. The animation is some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen. If Frank Zappa went in a time machine, met Nikola Tesla, they developed a serious relationship and decided to raise a baby together, it would grow up to be Gelbart. There is also a strong resemblance to Felix Kubin here.

His music is elevator music meets coffee house jazz with a glitchy/video game aesthetic with live saxaphone. I mentioned Dane Joe’s music has a nostalgic quality, in contrast Gelbart’s music has a nostalgia that is calculated and divisive. Gelbart plays the music live and plays keyboards like he’s in a 70s progressive rock ensemble.

Gelbart wields his sax like a magician with a magic wand, used almost as a tool to further immerse you into the animated world.

The animations were brilliant, hearing Gelbart’s music online beforehand it sounded like it may be digital so we were blown away to see that this madness was being played live – not only that, but it seemed to sync up perfectly with the animation and his skill of composition is apparent.

Gelbart’s world of anthropomorphised foodstuffs and flying rabbits was some brilliant stop-motion, we really stumbled upon the best possible thing we could have. He gave me a copy of his book too, which I will review in due course here too.

 

 

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