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diggin’ in Berlin -5 Essentials

December 8, 2014

diggin in berlinThanks to the field work of my collector friend MP Flapp I was excited about my record diggin’ trip to Berlin last week.

I was told that the city has an amazing array of recordshops specialising in second hand vinyl and after a week of diggin’ I must admit that the choice of shops is simply overwhelming. There must be over 35 recordshops that are less or more worthwile a visit.

I only managed to visit 5 or so and a few turned out to be real winners. Here is a small selection of the ones I visited.

My general impression of the shops is mixed as I understand that these days the database of Discogs is the standard indication for the value of second hand vinyl. Pricing according to Discogs is now common practice also in shops like Disk Union in Tokyo, Japan but spoils the fun since it eleminates finding ‘real’ bargains and is very time consuming.

Make sure to get good maps of the city and subway/public transport as Berlin is huge and some shops are located in not so central neighbourhoods. Public transport is not always easy as there is choice between U bahn, S bahn and several buses/trams. Also the numbering of the streets differs from elsewhere in Europe. So make sure to orientate yourself and check the hours of business before you go. Most shops open around noon or later and stay open untill 20.00h. Buy a day pass for euro 6,70 which allows usage of all forms of public transport.

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Best area to start is Kreuzberg where you will find Record Loft, the newest hot spot for dj’s diggers and collectors alike. Huge amount of sorted boxes with all genres of electronic dance music available. Also big section of disco, some reggae, experimental and small choice of African/Latin but the staple here is Electronic Dance Music as the shop is frequented by dj’s mainly who buy and sell their collections. The shop is only open since 1 year or so and there is still a lot to improve imo. I came around 4 o’clock in the afternoon when it was already dark outside. I understand that the shop normally has daylight streaming inside from the windows but in the evening the space is so badly lit that it is very hard to check the condition of the vinyl. Plenty of listening stations around to audio grade your discs though.

Another minor point of Record Loft is the system of pricing. No record is priced individually but checked upon the database of Discogs. This policy is based upon the lowest price in Euro for VG+ condition found on the Discogs database. A new sort of system that I found confusing and disturbing since I have no idea what pressing, what country of release, what sort of condition the guy behind the counter is referring to. It takes also a long time when you bring a stack to the counter. But the selection is huge and satisfying and I got a few goodies although I could not find enough time or enthousiasm to browse for a long time. The shop is located in a courtyard on Adalbert Strasse 9.

Record Loft, Adalbert Strasse 9, Berlin. U Bahn-U8 Kottbuser Tor Mon to Fr. 12 – 20 Uhr and Sa. 12 – 18 Uhr

Heisse Scheiben Records –One of my favourite shops in town. Well laid out shop space, plenty of original second hand vinyl in every sort of genre with a strong handpicked selection of Rock, African, Latin, Jazz, Reggae. Their new arrivals section (Neuzugänge) is not to be missed. Reasonably priced and well stocked. CD’s and 1 euro records in front, great choice of selected secondhand vinyl in the back room. Listening posts in the front of the shop. You will not leave empty handed here.

Heisse Scheiben Records, Ohlauer St 44, 10999 Berlin. U Bahn-U8 Hermann Platz or Görlitzer Bhf http://www.heisse-scheiben.de Mon to Fr. 12 – 19 Uhr and Sa. 12 – 18 Uhr

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Heisse Scheiben frontroom

Heisse Scheiben frontroom

Heisse Scheiben -backroom

Heisse Scheiben -backroom

Further up in the Ohlauer St you will find Wowsville, a combination of cafe, bar and small record shop in the back.

The main focus here is punk, gothic, rockabilly & assorted trash. There is a small section of soul, disco and lots of overpriced 45’s. I couldn’t resist hanging out in the cafe in the front where you will be entertained by Berlin’s most funky, grungy, punky hipsters. Great for drinks and some collectable records but expect to pay big money for a rather common selection.

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Wowsville, Ohlauer St 33, 10999 Berlin. U Bahn-U8 Hermann Platz or Görlitzer Bhf Mon to Sat. 12 – 20 Uhr

Within walking distance is A&V Records, a dependance of O-Ton Records where the cheaper –lesser graded stuff from O-Ton- finds a place in the boxes. All records are 5 euro, 8 euro for doubles and there are plenty of cheapies to be found in the boxes of 1,5 -3-5 euro but don’t count to pay these set prices. After digging a good few hours I had a stack of 20 or so just to hear from the girl behind the counter that most of my selection of 1,5 euro records were not priced as such. ‘Yes, these records were probably not placed back in the right box, your selection is all 5 euro’ was her excuse. GRRRRRR…digger’s nightmare!!! Thanks to my lucky stars I still got quite a few good finds worth that money but I would advise to sort the stock correctly or some punters will not agree and business will be lost.

A&V Records, Friedelstrasse 7, 12047 Berlin. U Bahn-U8 Hermann Platz Open: Mo.-Su. 12:00 – 20:00 The shop is a dependance of O Ton Records Krossener Str.18, Friedrichshain, 10245

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My favourite of this December trip must be Platten Pedro, an oldschool record store in every sense. Huge selection of secondhand vinyl with lots and lots of genres. Great selection of reggae, jazz, soundtracks etc. Most of the stock is common but in between some real rarities might turn up. Again, nothing is priced individually but the grumpy yet charming owner will give good prices and discounts. Based on his own knowledge and experience and not on Discog’s database. Phew! And he will enchant you with his stories on the history of Berlin. Take out some time as both well stocked rooms of this store deserves a good diggin’. Listening post in the back. Platten Pedro is a bit out the way since it is in West Berlin but it is worth the trip. Go left as you come out the U bahn station, turn left on the Tegelerweg. Nice shop for early morning diggin and worth the detour.

Platten Pedro, Tegelerweg 102, Berlin. U Bahn-U2 Jungfernheide Bhf Mon to Sat. 10 – 20 Uhr

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Not really my favourite but if you are around the Tegelerweg then check out Rocksteady Music, another ‘classic recordstore’ which stocks new & 2nd hand vinyl records from different styles: 50’s / 60’s / 70’s / 80’s / 90’s / 00’s, also lots of CD’s. Some good finds here if you are looking for unwanted dj collections and cheapos. I found some nice reggae and a great Fela LP. Priced to sell and some  real collectors, mostly pop and rock.

Rocksteady Music, Zille Str 74. Berlin 10585. U Bahn-U7 Bismarckstr or S42

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I stayed at the Mani Hotel, Torstr. 136,10119 Berlin U Bahn-U5 Rosenthaler Platz.

Fabulous and sexy boutique hotel, just a stones throw from the Rosenthaler Platz U bahn station. Small rooms yet comfortable in every sense. Modern design and the best beds ever. Affordable rates. There are plenty of good restaurants, shops and breakfast places around.

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