Today marks the release of Candy Bomber, a rowdy collection of songs cooked up in Berlin by some of the city’s most idiosyncratic musicians. This album, with its evocative artwork depicting the facade of Tempelhof Airport, is quintessentially Berlin: wild, loose and free. It is carnival music for these winter nights. A kaleidoscope of sounds for the urban environment. A vicious squall of raucous noise.
Berlin’s noisy underground rock scene is scattered with a whole host of intriguing characters. It’s long been home to musicians from the weirder side of the tracks who have found inspiration in both pre- and post-reunification Berlin life and the scene they helped establish is rich in stories and profoundly moving art. Whilst the likes of Bowie and Pop might at times dominate Berlin’s musical history, there are plenty more lesser sung heroes of this city. This is of course the place that gave us the formidable Einstürzende Neubauten and the pummelling noise of Atari Teenage Riot.
The untimely death of underground pillar Paul Lemp – musician, studio owner and music producer – was a shock to Berlin’s whole music scene. At the time of his death Lemp was working on a project which brought together many of the city’s top musicians. Lemp never got to realise his vision, which he conceived with friend Ingo Krauss and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Thomas Wydler. Luckily, the city has rallied around to make good of Lemp’s final project, known as Candy Bomber.
The list of those who offered contributions to the record appears like a ‘who’s who’ of Berlin’s leftfield musicians. Each of them came to the studio Lemp co-owned with Krauss at Tempelhof Airport. Their parts were draped on top of the trio’s work to create a technicolour collage of noises and sounds. Toby Dammit, who has worked with Iggy Pop and currently tours with Nick Cave, dropped by to add percussion. Jochen Arbeit of Einstürzende Neubauten added guitar, whilst Stefan Rusconi added subtle piano sounds. Kid Congo Powers of The Gun Club paid a visit and English noir-pop songwriter Gemma Ray lent her voice to the album’s opening and closing numbers.
Entitled ‘Vol. 1’ (there are plans to make this into a series of albums), the music committed to tape in the Candy Bomber studio is the glorious sound of chaos. Like wild stabs of paint on a canvas, the music lurches back and forth as it rattles to its climax. It’s essential listening, and one that deserves your attention. Lemp’s work here is done.
Candy Bomber. BERLIN LOVES YOU.