The Man Who Fell To Earth, before Tilda Swinton, would have been 71 today – you can hear him from the grave with this Let’s Dance demo, released to mark one of the most influential men of the 20th century.
And on Wednesday night – if you have Sky Television – or Sky Arts – you’ll be privileged enough to witness a film which began as a documentary about his highness – but soon became a story about Berlin, and the Hansa studios which he and Iggy Pop made famous.
[featured imaged: David Bowie, Tony Visconti, Eduard Meyer 1976]
HANSA STUDIOS: BY THE WALL 1976-90 is the first music documentary from Derek Jarman’s mentee, Mike Christie. Carefully curating a story about the wasted in the wastelands of West Berlin, Bowie and Iggy were in recovery from the highlife when they found exodus in Kreuzberg’s Köthener Straße, around Potsdamer Platz. Hansa Tonstudio was known as The Hall in the Wall – being a builders ballroom, in a former mason’s union building – 200m from the divider between capitalism and communism. Founded originally in 1964 on Nestor Strasse by the songwriting Meisel brothers, who still own it now, Hansa moved to its current location in 1972.
Producer Flood and Gareth Jones are stars amid a stellar cast of interviewees from Mute’s Daniel Miller to U2, Gudrun Gut, Barry Adamson, Tangerine Dream, and Bowie’s lover spilling the beans on his drugs detox, Romie Haag.
Opens with Alexander Hacke, who joined Einstürzende Neubauten at 15, to break the concept of music, recording found sounds, and those around them, such as razors cutting speed on toilets – and road hammer machines in the studio – as wild as celluloid gets in digital daze.
NB. A similar version to this story features in the January ‘Best of British’ edition of DJ Mag, where Kirsty Allison edits the arts’ Off The Floor pages. There’s also an interview with Matthew Collin on his new book: Rave On, and the launch of Craig Richards book of illustrations.