If you are not already familiar with the rock band Isolation Berlin, now is the time. For a music fan and perhaps as someone who does not make music, it can be extremely satisfying to follow a band or musician over a period of time. Over the course of several albums or EPs, you can really immerse yourself in their work. You can hear how they grow, change, and progress. You can compare the very first single with the very latest one.
In 2021, the quartet released its fourth album, making now a great time to get to know this interesting and adventurous rock group. This month’s German music feature for German language learners is featuring Isolation Berlin!
Get to Know Isolation Berlin
Isolation Berlin was formed in 2012 in — wait for it — Berlin, Germany. Frontman, guitarist, and songwriter Tobias Bamborschke founded the band with guitarist and keyboardist Max Bauer. The following year, the pair were joined by bassist David Specht and drummer Simeon Cöster.
A few years after their founding, the quartet released two EPs. The first EP, 2014 self-released Aquarium, was followed by Körper on Staatsakt in 2015. And by then, the group’s momentum was really growing.
The Music of Isolation Berlin
On their debut full-length album, 2016’s Und aus den Wolken tropft die Zeit, Isolation Berlin introduces themselves as a mature group with full instrumentation. But that does not mean they are afraid to experiment from time to time. And by the end of the album, they have found a strong and steady rhythm. This comes most notably on the likable and oddly familiar-sounding buzzing pop-rock of “Wahn.”
But the quartet was clearly in a rush not to be forgotten. Their second album — if you can call it that — was released at the same time as Und aus den Wolken tropft die Zeit. Berliner Schule/Protopop charms listeners with twangy melodies and an indie guitar rock sound although there are no big guitar moments. But there is style and adventurousness. Take, for example, the thick bass and spoken-word style of “Der Bus der stillen Hoffnung” that imparts a story and not just some lyrics or a poem set to music.
By 2018’s Vergifte dich, Isolation Berlin all but make it clear that the album is more for them than it is for you. (The title, translated as “poison yourself,” only serves as a warning.) An interesting listen, the album is a combination of sweet melodics that can quickly go off-kilter although never getting too edgy or dark. “Kicks” toys with that boundary, daring to venture into a big guitar rock sound while “Die Leute” offers a catchy indie rock march.
The band released their fourth album, Geheimnis, in 2021. The album comes across as their most confident and cohesive work to date. “(Ich will so sein wie) Nina Hagen” starts as a twinkling lullaby and opens up to a dance-friendly groove which is contrasted by the title track, a rock track complete with handclaps. Elsewhere “Von einem, der hier sitzt und Bleistifte spizt” clocks in as the longest track on the album. The time is spent wisely, building from a quiet atmospheric to a dynamic track that rewards the listener’s patience.
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo by Noel Richter, courtesy of FKP Scorpio. This post contains affiliate links.