Sender Berlin: in divided Berlin, broadcast radio played a special role. In the eastern part there was simply the desire to be able to adjust the frequency dial according to what one wanted to hear; in the western section of the city the radio landscape controlled by the allies is remembered for its subliminal, special status.In Berlin there was a certain fascination for old radios whose dials implied liberty, openness and city-hopping, by making cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Prague, Moscow, Naples, Belgrade or Aachen selectable – at least on the display. Sender Berlin illustrated the inside cover of its first album Sektrum Weltweit (1999) with the facing image of such a radio.They explain their name in the fact that as Berliners, they wanted to contribute their small part to the city’s center of innovation, modern technology and design, and help shape the picture of the “new” city. This first happened musically.In the 90’s, or even in the late 80’s, the New Wave movement’s electronic spokesmen like Depeche Mode, Anne Clarke or Erasure also found their way to the members of Sender Berlin in former East Germany. At some point, HendriX held his first Kraftwerk album in his hand as well. For the project members, the opening of the border meant the realization of possibilities – individually and musically – especially in their special relationship with electronic music. A by-product – the hard sound of club techno music – became the soundtrack of the diverging atmosphere in the former walled city. West and East met equally and confusingly euphoric in the clubs and discovered at the same time the new, seemingly wafting, pure sound carpets of electronic beats. From this point on, the disc jockey had other tasks than just providing chart hits.HendriX and Luke were fascinated by the DJ’s operating world, bought their first techno records and started mixing together on their mutual turntables. From this time until the mid-90’s the formation of Sender Berlin began to crystallize, each member setting priorities and building passions. Stassy dedicated himself to the question of how studio sounds develop and began to turn the first knobs on the Doepfer Modular System A100, while Luke and HendriX circulated mixed tapes. Luke got his first DJ gig in the then quite popular, post-punk and wave scene club Linientreu.Mayday 1995 in Dortmund was however a trigger in the determination, talent and creativity of the new, exclusively electronic music, and the joint project Sender Berlin was born.The placement of HendriX in the Marlboro DJ Academy in 1996 in Globus/Tresor helped to realize ideas while on the path. The first contact with Tresor and with producer Pacou was made. DJ bookings for Luke and HendriX followed as part of the Headquarters nights and at the same time Pacou canalized by successfully producing Stassy’s studio work and eventually that of HendriX as well. In 1997 their first tracks appeared on the joint label X-Men. The vinyl record was cut in the NSC Studio in the techno-mecca city of Detroit, together with Mad Mike who was promoting and supporting up-and-coming talent not only in Detroit. This was an
official entrance in the music business for X-Men as a side project from Sender Berlin with Pacou.In 1998 Sender Berlin released as Sender Berlin for the first time on the Tresor Headquarters compilation that provided an overview of the different, young techno producers in Berlin. Through this collaboration the connection to the Tresor label deepened. Sender Berlin was signed on as an act and released their first album. “Spektrum Weltweit” appeared in 1999 in a limited edition with a mix-CD from Luke. With this album Sender Berlin not only introduced their long-player debut to the market but also delivered a Tresor techno sound that included the complete opposite, laid-back rhythms of Basic Channel as well – their statement on the Berlin Sound. In the middle of the most uncompromising techno times – until then no one had the courage to break through the particular dynamic of the simple, if not banal, but always functioning beat-bass/hi-hat structures – Sender Berlin came with their playful elements, melodies, songs and a philosophy of sound and time: “sound, because it can describe much more beautifully the situation in which one is than words; time, because it is needed in order to understand...”.With this album Sender Berlin defined their position and in retrospect Spektrum Weltweit should be more highly regarded as a time witness to the “new Berlin” than it formerly has been.2000. One of the album tracks was chosen by a Berlin marketing company to be used for a Berlin promotion video in which the friendly, positive images of the city would be reflected – because life in the city doesn’t always have to be dark and/or fast and hard. “Partner for Berlin” recognized correctly the (Sender) Berlin sound but this type of promotional evidence doesn’t count much in the underground. In that region it is more important that the world’s most famous radio DJ, moderator and music editor John Peel visited Stassy and HendriX in the studio (while recording their second album), as he was looking for innovative musicians during a visit to Berlin in 2000. The first live performance of the new tracks from Sender Berlin was broadcast during one of the BBC’s famous John Peel sessions.They had left a lasting impression because in August 2002 Peel invited Sender Berlin to coordinate the release of their second album “Gestern Heute Morgen” with his regular night in Fabric Club in London: Sender Berlin live then John Peel on the decks. A guaranteed step back in time. The filmed documentation of this night has been reworked for the Sender Berlin 2005 album “unequal arts”.And thus the 2002 officially-defined concept of “unequal arts” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with the release of the same-name, double album. Sender Berlin’s path, connecting their music with multi-media art and the newest in technology, had to go exactly in that direction even if they couldn’t have known it at the time.In timely succession they came up with the idea – by forming their own label “unGleich Records” (“unequal Records”) in 1999 – to arrange the electronic image of Berlin as a next logical dimension. A studio session with Stassy, HendriX and the newly befriended musician Alexander Kowalski, under the project name Double X, found a rapid course for release. This could only be accomplished by self-initiative measures. The first maxi from their own label came into being: unGleich 01 “made by double X”. Shortly afterwards Kanzleramt took notice of the project and a share deal was made: the Double X longplayer “unGleich in Exile” was released on the Kanzleramt label and the CD version was released on unGleich. In the following years two other maxis were produced for Kanzleramt and in October 2004 the first, long-awaited studio album A:LIVE was released. Alexander Kowalski, who was also a solo artist with Kanzleramt and landed a Dancefloor hit with Raz O’Hara, was just one of several talents who had a lengthy association with Sender Berlin, such as Ronny Krieger (DJ Indicator) and Frank Stoi (Tollstoi). As label chiefs, Sender Berlin could release the material they believed in and also from artist-friends, and remain completely independent from the schedules and individual decisions of respective A & R companies or record companies.In the case of Sender Berlin’s second album “Gestern Heute Morgen” on Tresor (Tresor.189 - 2002), time factor components played an important role because the label (due to release-politics) took two years to put the album on the market; three years after the debut. This was too long for most artists in the electronic music field because long pauses between releases allow the scene-focus to wander automatically to other acts. And these acts were sprouting like mushrooms during the “golden techno time”.But this had no effect on the album’s quality. It was an adequate follow-up to Spektrum Weltweit, technically more polished and advanced, and still consistent with the “artist album” concept, that can also appear on CD and be listened to at home. Sender Berlin carried out this balancing act excellently. It is a concept album that one wishes to hear in a taxi while on the way to a club in the early morning. The beat pulses subliminally both in their live performance’s foreground and Dancefloor determination. In live performances one always sees Stassy and HendriX who perform as Sender Berlin; behind the turntables is DJ Luke. “Gestern Heute Morgen” tells a science fiction story with these three people in the starring roles. Great comic figures drawn by Kay Elzner visually compliment the songs. Unfortunately because of legalities in the music market, the comic couldn’t be released in the original size on the CD. Nevertheless and in contrary to all the international sales rules, Sender Berlin sticks with their concept of giving all their tracks German titles.In one case the attention is uncontested: in Japan. Their special passion in this country with technical advancement, Manga comics and always friendly people brought Sender Berlin explicitly to terms on unGleich, with the release of unGleich 010 “JR-500”. A release info excerpt: “JR-500” is the name of a futuristic, graceful high-speed train that daily delivers thousands of people comfortably between Japan’s metropolises, with unprecedented and timed precision. Given flight by many trips with the “Shinkansen”, as it is commonly called, Sender Berlin relays impressions of a rapid experience, concentrated and in synthesized tones. One feels the speed, pictures the aluminium masts actually fly by, and hears how the ultra-modern, power- train’s cars multiply their energy second by second. Within millimeters, the train stops on the platform at the exact predetermined place, exactly like Sender Berlin and Alexander Kowalski aka DisX3 (Remix) have rendered it musically on “Trans-Nippon- Express”. While on their third Japan tour in Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in 2000, Sender Berlin captured tour photos.But first Stassy and HendriX’s training in media design from 2000-2002, and their continued further training in communications allowed them eventually re-work the material. The result was producing it as Short Film No. 1 in video clip format: an impression of their musical development and also of their lives. This appears on the second side of one of Europe’s first DualDiscs “unequal arts”, for which Sender Berlin held itself responsible for the images. Short Film No. 2 – the performance at London’s Fabric in 2002 that also shows the now-deceased, then-MC/DJ John Peel on the turntables creating music history – documents a whole other station for Sender Berlin.The overview is completed of Sender Berlin’s most important chapter in 2005 with Short Film No. 3. Excerpts from Sender Berlin live and DJ Luke in Tresor Club, Berlin. Moments of nightlife in the most famous club in the world, a family to which Sender Berlin belonged right up to its closing.On side one of the DualDisc “unequal arts” Sender Berlin’s new album: jazzy with vocals and Dancefloor hits. It documents – in this case only with music – the self-confidence Sender Berlin has attained to the present day 2005.