City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

“Berlin, because of the friction”

Written in


Fantastic quote on the relationship between the city and creativity – from David Bowie no less – dug up as part of a chronology of Bowie’s ‘most productive period’ (1974-1980):

PM: You seem to be fascinated by cities like Berlin.

DB: Berlin, because of the friction. I’ve written songs in all the Western capitals, and I’ve always got to the stage where there isn’t any friction between a city and me. That became nostalgic, vaguely decadent, and I left for another city. At the moment I’m incapable of composing in Los Angeles, New York or in London or Paris. There’s something missing. Berlin has the strange ability to make you write only the important things – anything else you don’t mention, you remain silent, and write nothing … and in the end you produce Low.

[Found on, via Phil – thanks!]


One response to ““Berlin, because of the friction””

  1. Tom Bailey Avatar
    Tom Bailey

    As a final year Fine Art student Furiously attempting to conclude my undergraduate thesis based around Urban Noise and its effect on composition and performance (from Russolo to the present) I read the City Of Sound blogs everyday, linking me to countless sites and artists of inspiration and relevance, hats off to you sir! (You must have the WPM count of 10 secretaries combined to get all this stuff down – as my hands plod over the keyboard I can’t help but feel a touch jealous! I notice you have something to do with the beeb? Do you have the power to put the series on Minimalism up on the Radio3 Listen Again page? Missed the Intro and the John Adams one due to headaches and early nights!
    (The search engine idea suggested would be great)


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