019 - SpatzHabibi
As somebody who spends large chunks of the day searching for music, one of the amazing things about working on a project like Métron Musik is that new avenues present themselves with great regularity, and sometimes, the music seems to find its way to you. That was certainly the case with our latest contributors, SpatzHabibi. Having snuck up on me whilst using Soundcloud I soon checked what I was listening to and found a duo that were putting together extraordinary, eclectic sets with great regularity. Inevitably, I approached them about putting something together for this series and am delighted that they have curated a brilliant collection of tracks for us.
The Anglo-German duo, comprising Sophie Funke and Pete Littlewood, met in Berlin back in 2006, working together at a bar in Neukölln they spent many hours spinning records at the venue. In this period they formed a musical partnership that is still bearing fruit today. The pair are known for their increasingly diverse and left-field collection of records and what impressed me most about their recorded sets was the innate feel for telling a coherent and compelling story with these selections.
Their exotic sonic adventures have the power to take listeners out of their world and transport them to another realm, and that is exactly where I found myself upon listening to Métron Musik Mixtape 019. It’s an incredibly powerful skill to be able to use music to entice people away from the context of their everyday lives but one that SpatzHabibi seem to have mastered. As with many of their mixes, the organic sounds that pervade this new hour-long mix leave you wondering at times whether you are tuned in to the radio, or to nature itself. Bird song, exotic animal calls, the sound of wind amidst the trees and water running down stream give the sense that you’ve plugged your headphones into a rock in the middle of the desert, or a tree in the midst of a jungle, rather than a laptop or stereo. It’s a visceral experience, intense, beautiful and hypnotic.
The duo started their own label back in 2014, the aptly named Polychrome Sounds. They’ve already put out a fair few records by producers from all over the world. Next in line is a new release by Irish producer Peter Power, who now lives in the Brazilian jungle. Be sure to check out the labels future endeavours and try to catch SpatzHabibi live this Summer.
I caught up with Sophie and Pete to talk about their relationship inside the booth, living in Berlin and their new label.
JH: How does SpatzHabibi operate as a duo when in the DJ booth?
PL: When things are at their most harmonious then we love to play one and one. Often though one of us will have a few new things they want to try out or one person will take the reigns so to speak. We only occasionally plan sets so there’s always a lot of action and reaction. If we can get this kind of improvised dialogue going then it really gets fun. Vodka also tends to accompany proceedings.
JH: Were those dynamics at play with the creation of your mixtape for us?
SF: This mixtape was kind of my baby. I’m probably more into the ambient side of things at the moment and Pete is more dancefloor orientated. These were records I’d had floating around the record players at home and in the bar for a while and it was my aim to get them and this period of time recorded.
JH: You begun your own label, Polychrome Sounds, a few years ago, can you tell us a bit about the label and what you have planned?
PL: We started off with no idea at all. We saw Oha Aho play at the Karl Kutter at Fusion and just kind of decided to go for it. It’s been great to put out such a wide spectrum of music from such a diverse bunch of people. We do everything ourselves from production to packing, distribution and promotion, as well as organising concerts and club nights. It was never our aim to make a name for ourselves, let alone money, and this has allowed us an enjoyable sense of freedom in what we choose to do. As well as the boys from Geneva we’ve brought out records by Karpov not Kasparov from Romania, l’Orchestre from rural France and the Berlin guys MCS and Cummi Flu. Up next we’ve got the debut EP by Peter Power from Brazil’s Voodoohop Collective. It got a digital release on MultiCulti last year and we got to know Peter at festivals this Summer. We really loved the tracks and felt it was crying out for a vinyl release. The guys from MultiCulti showed their full support and the record will be out in early June.
JH: You guys met and live in Berlin, a city I know well, what makes it so special?
SF: Tricky question. There’s a lot that’s been written and said about Berlin. It seems that all some people in Berlin talk about is Berlin. For us it’s been a great place to meet people from all over the world and be part of a circle of friends that are into music and just doing stuff for the love of it. That said, the amount of good venues and locations to put stuff on is dwindling and the general vibe has changed a lot in the last 10 years. We kind of prefer playing in more unique locations and one-off events. These also tend to be a little further afield so it’s great to load up the Volvo and have trip away.
JH: We always ask for some musical recommendations - can you suggest a few of your favourite records that we may not have heard?
Mmmm... Where to start?
Lucrecia Dalt – Commotus
Contact Field Orchestra – Vol. I & II
Pilooski – Isola
Xen – Bells (…and everything else on Malka Tuti)
Steaua de Mare – Steaua De Mare
Gaussian Curve – Clouds
Musiccargo – Harmonie
Kito Jempere – Bah029 (...and everything else on Bahnsteig 23)
Rutes – Moment Metal
C Cat Trance – Play Masenko Combo
Jorge Reyes - Wawaki
Mark Barrott - Formantera Headspace Blues
Nuel - Correspondence
Michel Banabila - 2
Finis Africae - Suite Amazonica
Oceanvs Orientalis feat. Fairuz - Al Bint El Chalabiya
Finis Africae - El Hechicero
Wolf Müller live
Mark Barrott - Cirrus & Cumulus
Moondog - Marimba Mondo 2
Colleen - Soul Alphabet
Oranzada - Otwock