Info by Marcus Barnes. Fotos by Carola Schmidt.

A lifetime spent making music means NHOAH has an unparalleled depth of knowledge and experience. His solo work and collaborative endeavours form the foundation of a impressive career, working with people like Bronski Beat all the way through to contemporary French rock star M and his experiments with Argentinan artists on the ‘Tangowerk’ project. With such a long, diverse and colourful history behind him NHOAH is preparing to deliver his debut album, a collection of music that exemplifies his extensive production experience. In tandem with the LP, he is cultivating a live show which will represent the music in the best way possible, including bespoke visuals and NHOAH on stage himself giving a live performance. Distilling four decades of dedication to his craft, and drawing on his upbringing in a city that was once divided, ‘West-Berlin’ is a tour de force of NHOAH’s past, present and future and marks an exciting new chapter for the Berliner…

The latest chapter in NHOAH’s story began just two years when he invested his time and energy into exploring new developments in software which opened up a whole new world of opportunity. Like many producers he revelled in having the ability to work on the road, taking his ideas with him wherever he went and making music on the go. This new approach rejuvenated NHOAH’s production process; in his studio he would combine his hardware and modular equipment with software, triggering the synths through his laptop and making the whole process a lot more fun. It is this injection of new energy that provided the catalyst behind his album project, ‘West-Berlin’, a venture for which he says he is ‘starting from scratch’, hitting the reset button to breathe new life and energy into his creative output.

One of the cornerstones of NHOAH’s creativity is his desire to dance, and to make music that encourages this primeval movement of the body. Whether he’s making music or listening to it, dancing is intrinsic to his enjoyment. This energy can be heard in his productions, where the rhythm and bass combine to produce an irresistible force and dancing is the only answer. His album ‘West-Berlin’ embodies this ethos. In tandem to the pulsating energy that pervades throughout his long player, NHOAH also places himself ‘between the seeds’. According to a German saying this is not where you should be, however it is a space where he feels he belongs, somewhere between the underground dance floor and the pop world.

Echoes of Berlin reverberate around the interior of NHOAH’s long-player. We begin our journey through ‘West-Berlin’ with ‘160 – 120’, a track that feels melancholy and pensive. The main riff is solemn, though there’s a hint of optimism in there with a bright layer of synth counteracting the grey underbelly. This is followed by ‘Red Sky’ a juddering half-stepper, which has a dubstep aesthetic, though with a lower BPM and a beautiful piano-led vocal breakdown repeating “The sky is red, my heart is blue”. This leads into an emotive second half, with the poignant keys keeping things organic in amongst the analogue sequences. ‘Abstellgleis’ has arpeggiated synth lines that transport us back to a bygone era with a strong narrative pervading, NHOAH takes us on a journey with this beauty.

Things turn dark with ‘Sequenz 1’, a snarling techno cut with a simple, infectious riff and a wonderfully euphoric ending. ‘DerGoldeneBall’ then brightens the mood with its smooth female vocal and a summery, funky groove. Uplifting twinkles and sensual lyrics give this a sultry appeal. ‘Lichter’ comes in two versions, the original has a more emotional feeling, building slowly to raise the energy levels. Meanwhile the remix has a contemporary feel with its hypnotic, melodic techno vibe – the mysterious vocal repeats over and over, “Da sind so viele lichter, warum brennen sie den” (There are so many lights, why do they burn?).

It’s an album of juxtaposed ideas, experimental in places yet automated and almost conventional in others. This creates a space within which the music flourishes and the listener feels an instant connection with NHOAH’s compositions. Between the seeds is where NHOAH belongs, a place where so many of the world’s rebels operate, ignoring the rulebook and doing their own thing. On ‘West-
Berlin’ NHOAH gives us some insight into his world, where anything is possible and the power of music continues to fuel inspiration, positive energy and the constant desire to dance from dusk til dawn…