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Why is it that thousands of clubbing tourists land at Berlin Schönefeld airport every weekend? Why have clubs like Berghain become the stuff of legend the world over? Why have some of the best-known producers and techno DJs like Richie Hawtin and DJ Hell moved with their labels to this city? These are the kind of questions explored in Lost and Sound by Tobias Rapp, a German music journalist who has been living, working and partying in Berlin since the beginning of the nineties. He has spoken with DJs, clubbers, label bosses, hostel managers and urban planners; he has looked and listened carefully; and most important of all, he has been part of the dance floor himself. Every day of the week – from Wednesday night (in Watergate) right through to Wednesday night (back in Watergate).
Lost and Sound is not one of those books that try to grasp techno from a desk-bound position. Rapp zooms in to relate intimate moments in front of the DJ booth and at the bar, and then cuts to historical tangents and theoretical reflections. Detailed research is interspersed with accounts from a first-person perspective. An excellent portrait of Ricardo Villalobos, the biggest star of the Berlin minimal techno and after-party scene, stands alongside a precise sociological portrayal of the queue for Berghain. Through this interplay of music, architecture, infrastructure and drug-induced explorations of personal limits, Rapp is able to capture what makes Berlin such a unique place for electronic music and how this music is experienced.
Following its publication in Germany in February 2009, Lost and Sound made an impact not
seen from a book about popular music for a long time. This was undoubtedly due in part to the
term coined for its subtitle: the ‘Easyjet set’ is a new group of music fans who – thanks to the
deregulation of the European air travel market – now regard the aeroplane as a taxi service for
parties, effectively making Barcelona, London and Paris suburbs of Berlin.