Mute Records Launch: Berlin Volksbuhne

Mute launches its Berlin office with an impressively diverse showcase of talent...

Tonight Mute launches its Berlin office with an impressively diverse showcase of talent. First up are newcomers Goldfrapp, with the eerie and somewhat disconcerting voice of frontwoman Alison Goldfrapp. They seem to play the same beautifully cinematic song five times. There’s an excessive amount of “la la la”-ing going on, but with the lush accompaniment and a voice that stunning, you can’t really blame her.

There’s a short break while they roll out the old joanna for the main man of the evening, Nick Cave, who takes to the stage as the witching hour approaches. He seems relaxed and at ease, practically walking through the set, with Blixa Bargeld of Einsturzende Neubauten joining in with his inconsiderable guitar talents. The pair teamed up before in the mid-’80s, and are to some romantic Germans the modern version of that other famous Berlin coupling, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Tonight’s surprising highlight is ‘Love Letter’, from this year’s ‘Secret Life Of The Love Song’, Cave drawling over the sweet and delicate melody. ‘Henry Lee’ is well rocked-up and defiant, finally getting the dumbfounded Berliners going before he sweeps out to ecstatic applause.

Ever listened to that noise your modem makes when it’s connecting to the internet and thought, ‘this is the next big thing’? Add N To (X) have. To be fair though, there are beats as well as beeps, some of them hypnotic enough to keep the crowd bopping. To compensate for their electro-mediocrity, Add N To (X) were the subject of one of the evening’s more absurd rumours, namely that Barry Smith’s twin brother was being used as some sort of decoy. But it must have been the real thing, as there are few people who can get what these guys get out of a Korg. Let’s keep it that way kids.

Caroline Gibney