Dizzy Moon – Dizzy Moon Around – recorded at Beelitz Heilstätten

Dizzy Moon beautifully performing her song Dizzy Moon Around at Beelitz Heilstätten, an old, abandoned German sanatorium and war hospital.

Hidden romantically in the deutsche Wälder (woods) not far Potsdam, Beelitz Heilstätten
conjures up a uniquely German image, a Zauberberg (Magic Mountain*) without the Berg (mountain).  But beneath the decaying beauty, the history of Beelitz has been far from romantic.
In the late 19th Century tuberculosis was rife and in order to stop the spread of the disease, those inflected were encouraged to enter sanatoria.  Beelitz was one of many sanatoriums built to deal with the numbers and the 140 hector wooded site was chosen for it’s clean air – considered essential for the treatment of tuberculosis.  Construction began in 1898 and the doors were opened to the first patients in 1902.DSCF3204After the outbreak of World War I, the site was transformed into a military hospital, treating casualties from the trenches.  It was during this time that the hospital received it’s most famous patient, one Adolf Hitler, after a grenade exploded a little too far away from him during the Battle of the Somme.  Whether Hitler’s left testicle remains buried somewhere around the grounds will remain forever a mystery.
In the interwar period Beelitz became a Sanatorium again before being transformed back into a military hospital during the next World War and then being taken over by the Soviets, who carried on using Beelitz as a military hospital until 1995 when they abandoned it.  A couple of the buildings remain still in use today, but the vast majority of the site lies in ruins, frequented by many photographers, film makers (including those that made the Pianist and Valkyrie) , urban explorers and Ramstein.
The Beelitz area is also famous for it’s asparagus and a serial killer.
We recorded this video in the large hall in the Männersanatorium (sanatorium for men).
If you can read German and want to learn more about Beelitz Heilstätten, this site is well worth visiting.  Even if you can’t, it has some nice pictures.  If not wikipedea or these nice blogs should suffice.
Dizzy Moon is a Berlin based artist who is originally from France.  Her dynamic, linear songwriting style is often sparse, but this sparseness only serves to give space to the expressive beauty of her songs.  She often plays with loop pedals and what not, but here we catch her with only the acoustics of the room at her aid, and how nicely they do that.

There will be more videos from Beelitz coming soon so subscribe or Facebook it so that you find out about them.DSCF3200

*Zauberberg is a rather big novel written by Thomas Mann about a young German man who visits a sanatorium and, after a 1000 pages, leaves.                                                     ….but not before having been extensively lectured to by some weighty intellectuals.


Douglas MacGregor – Part One of Three – Gesellschaftshaus, at the Riviera Grünau

The Riviera Grünau consists of two once impressive buildings; the Ballhaus and the Gesellschaftshaus, which translates literally as ‘society house’.  Like the Ballhaus, the Gesellschaftshaus is falling to pieces and there are now few signs of it’s former gory apart from this rapidly decaying hall.  Throughout the building the floors are virtually non-existent, the decor is long gone and graffiti, including a worrying abundance of nazi graffiti, pervades the entirety.  The ceiling in the hall, once red, now looks close collapse.1910 As this postcard from 1910 shows, guests could sail down the Spree and arrive by boat.  While the Ballhaus can boast of a cultural significance during the 1920s as a concert venue, the Gesellschaftshaus seems more like a reminder of the opulence in days gone by.

As you will see in the video, in the hall itself there are now two large wall paintings on either side which add yet another layer to this space; an abandoned reminder of a bygone era still visited by both artists and neo-nazis alike and still an excellent space for a performance.

The piece played here is the first part of a group of three pieces.  The name of the piece reflects this.  It also reflects the fact that the themes of the piece are quite diverse and abstract.

For some nice photo’s of the buildings go here

For more music go here or here

Please Spring! – La ballade de Melody Nelson – recorded at Krampnitz

And for our next trick, we put French duo Please Spring! in the abandoned military complex of Krampnitz.  Krampnitz is a huge military complex used by both the Nazi’s in the 30’s and 40’s and then the Soviets during the Cold War.  In the officer’s club building there is a huge hall which I’m sure saw a few swinging parties in it’s time.  The acoustics of the hall are also fantastic and perfect for a field recording.  The musicianship of Paul Audoynaud and Héloïse Lefebvre easily rival the acoustics.  This recording was made with just one stereo microphone and the sound is a testament to this.

Please Spring! consist of two first rate musicians, originally from France but now resident in Berlin.  In their music they blend many different styles of music with composition and improvisation.  The song they chose to play here is La ballade de Melody Nelson originally by Serge Gainsbough, but drastically rearranged for guitar and violin.


Many people have written things about Krampnitz so, to save us all from a poor recapitulation from me, here are some other links about the place:

Abandoned Berlin


This project is an artistic project, it is non-commercial and no money changed hands.  For more information on the project go to about.  

Here is the obligatory facebook site