An affinity for soul and hip-hop first joined lo-fi folk purveyors Take Berlin after a chance encounter at the 2011 Baltic Soul Weekender. Skating between Berlin and Brooklyn, they soon released Lionize, their first collection of songs.
Recorded on an abandoned cassette deck, the lo-fi intimacy of Lionize established a distinct analog identity for the duo. The album featured mainly Wurlitzer electric piano and acoustic guitar as the only accompaniment to their voices - a change of pace for musicians who work with Aloe Blacc, Sleigh Bells, Eli “Paperboy” Reed and Little Boots.
Take Berlin revisit their nostalgic sound on the upcoming record, Schoharie. Shaped in the Catskill Mountains and Brooklyn, the songs mirror these competing environments and mark a shift towards a psychedelic side of their lo-fi folk. The duo strays from their minimalist aesthetic on a few tracks, enlisting friends from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and the Nigerian funk legend William Onyeabor’s all-star tribute Atomic Bomb! band to fill out the rhythm section.
In step with their unique sonic choices, the band cites Blowout Comb, the 1994 album by hip-hop luminaries Digable Planets as inspiration for Schoharie’s grainy sound pallet.
The stories of Schoharie are presented with a brazen intimacy and build further upon the dreamy narrative of Lionize. It’s a challenging piece of work that has its tranquil origins in the Catskill Mountains but eventually winds its way downriver and into the fast-paced boroughs of New York City.
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