Track By Track – Johannes Beck – Beyond Pleasure And Pain


We’ve had a love affair with Kann. If you can call it that. Not exactly stormy, and not devastatingly passionate but an enduring one all the same. Their releases have always been of subtle substance; a form of contemporary German deep house with a slipstream sound, burred and flecked by weightier, club-ready percussion. Often light, often fine, but with a flow and a rush which doesn’t demand but beguiles; a featherweight grace coupled with autobahn-esque, progressive drive. That’s not to say that the material doesn’t escalate, and isn’t capable of moving floors. The productions always seem shot through with romance too, something either shied away from or co-opted into unctuous sentiment in the current climate. So, when Johannes Beck, also head of Berlin’s Mutual Musik, presented us with a track-by-track rooted in studio discoveries, compelling personal experiences, city atmospheres (Munich, Berlin) and memorable, lost nights, we naturally acquiesced. Here it is, a tantalizing guide to Kann’s next LP…


This track was produced on a lonely night. It refers to those moments when you’re thinking of the woman you miss and you just want her to lie in your arms because that is what gives you the power to move forward.

Crazy horse

I started producing this track after a perfect club night at Bob Beaman Music Club (Munich). It was the Uncanny Valley Club night and I met some old friends of mine from Dresden there. I danced all night with a really good old friend of mine. When I woke up the next day I was still feeling the energy of that night and came up with “Crazy Horse”. I tried to catch the weird and slowly cumulation of the night in this one track.

Klavier und Herbst

Originally the sketch for this track is a live recording that I made on my MIDI-piano at the end of a beautiful day spent at Görlitzer Park (Kreuzberg). I remember talking to a lot of friends and playing frisbee in the autumn sun. I walked home as the sun went down and played some hours on my MIDI-piano. I used the AAS-Lounge Lizard Session 3 as instrument – I really love the sound of this physical modeling e-piano plug-in! A year later, I was living in Munich by then, I was playing the e-piano in my new 6m2 studio and began thinking about my life in Berlin. I remembered the sketch I had made back then and in a reminiscent mood I finished the song. 


Marlene is one of the first tracks I produced in my new studio in Munich. When I started producing Marlene I had just switched from Logic to Ableton Live. I remember the problems in the beginning working with Ableton Live. I tried to produce a clean and minimal track, reflective of the kind of feelings that Munich creates in me. Because of the initial difficulties with Ableton Live I felt ambivalent about the track. Some weeks later I was scheduled to play in Tel-Aviv and one day before the gig I traveled with two good friends to Jerusalem in a mini-van. I gave Zola some of my new tracks and I remember how she was listening to the music while we traveled through the desert. After our Jerusalem trip, Zola told me she loved the track and that Marlene had to be on my Album – and so it is.

Girls Sitting Down (feat. Stella Eleven)

This song was my first musical collaboration with Stella Eleven (but not the last; we are finishing one more at the moment). My studio in Munich was located at the border of the city. Sometimes on my way from the studio into the city center I had to wait for the bus. At these stations next to nobody ever hopped on or off. One day (as I was waiting for the bus) I saw some girls coming out of the cornfield opposite of the station. They sat down and started waiting (or was I dreaming?). They didn´t speak a word. When the bus arrived, I skipped it, went straight back to my studio and started producing this track. I was wondering what these girls were thinking and feeling as they came out of a cornfield to wait for the bus in the middle of nowhere. I didn´t ask, so I had no idea. Some weeks later I spoke to Stella Eleven on the phone and told her about some songs I had written (incl. this one) and she said – “Come to Cologne, I have some ideas to sing about.” So, I flew to Cologne and in one evening we recorded Stella´s ideas and vocals. Back in Munich I finished the song. This song might be my personal hit on the album.


The sketch for this track was produced during a week that I worked as a night watch in a deprivation-of-sleep-experiment. After some days of sleeping only during the day – staff members had to be up all night – we had a break during one night shift. I no longer had any sense of time as I started producing this sketch. I remember that I used a freeware step-sequencer drum machine plug-in from a music magazine. On another night in Munich I could not sleep and spent the whole night in my studio – I remembered this sketch and-moon-gazing- I started the step-sequencer drum machine again and started completing the track.

Love wire

This track has a long transformation history. I started out with the piano playing and created a club track with heavy snare drums. After some days and a walk in the Alps I deleted a lot of sounds and added some orchestra sounds to the track. One week later I returned from Chiemsee and I added some breath-sounds recorded by microphone. Some days later I came back from staying at Starnberger See and finished the song influenced by the impressions of this lake. 

Love Sex Dreams

Love Sex Dreams was produced to create a track which slowly and continually digs a whole inside the dance floor. 

Nobody is Dancin'

This Song is the only one which was not especially produced for the Album. I made this track in memory of some gigs when I really killed the dance-floor. The lyrics – we fight against the system – reflect my attitude at that time: to always produce my music without compromises made to the functional force of the dance floor. And, secondly, it was supposed to be a statement against the constant influence of the systems which surrounds us and shapes our personality; Also, the title is inspired by Emma Goldman “if I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution). The track is eight Years old and I remember that I produced the tracks mostly with hardware (e.g. Jomox Xbase 909). KANN put the track on the list for the album – and I am glad that it is so.