Acid Pauli

by Natalye Childress

It's Hard to Say No to This Sound
It’s a rainy Thursday afternoon in late October and Martin Gretschmann is seated in a café in Kreuzberg, historically the hub of alternative subculture in the ever-burgeoning creative hub of Berlin.

It’s here in Berlin where the German electronic scene is centered, and where Gretschmann has made a name for himself with monthly residencies at local haunts like Salon Zur Wilden Renate and KaterHolzig, the latter of which—located less than two miles from the café where he now sits—houses his studio.

Electronic subgenres aside, Gretschmann, the quiet, demure man behind minimal techno solo act Acid Pauli, would likely file his music under “electronic world music,” a sporadically concocted term of his that is just as explicit as it is evasive.

“Normally I don’t have an idea and I don’t really feel like I need to have an idea, because it’s not my job to think about [that],” he says between sips of his cappuccino.

The German-born Gretschmann has been defying musical stereotypes and crossing over definitive sound borders for years, beginning with his tenure during his teenager years in indie and punk rock bands, back in his hometown of Weilheim in Oberbayern.

Fast-forward to 1996, when he started a solo project-turned-live-band, Console, fusing indie and electronic music. A year later, he took up the role of programmer in the Notwist, a band from his hometown. Then, in 2003, he and members of the Notwist partnered with Oakland, CA hip-hop artists to form Anticon project13 & God.

So it might come as a surprise that in the midst of all this, Gretschmann has time for a solo project. But in fact, Gretschmann has been writing and performing music under the Acid Pauli moniker since 2000.

“[My laptop] got stolen and so I had to buy a new one, and it was like, the first laptop that I owned where you can actually make, like music,” he explains.

Overwhelmed and inspired by the spontaneous and creative capabilities of his new machine, Gretschmann began the Acid Pauli project.

“I just had the impression that I needed to do something more, on my own,” he says.

But with all the projects he juggles—not to mention his co-ownership of Munich club Rote Sonne—it took some time, and it wasn’t until June of this year when the first Acid Pauli album, Mst, was released.

The album came out on Clown & Sunset, a label run by Chilean-American electronic artist Nicolas Jaar, whose music shares an affinity with Gretschmann’s. Interestingly enough, Gretschmann’s wife is Chilean, which may explain why there is such a Latin influence in his work.

“I’m always interested in everything that touches me a way,” Gretschmann says of his music tastes. “But I [do have] a flavor for South American music.”

More recently, on Nov. 19, Gretschmann released Get Lost V, a compilation album on Damian Lazarus’ label, Crosstown Rebels.

“I made this like half a year ago and I was very happy with the results,” Gretschmann says, referencing the initial incarnation of the mix.

However, Lazarus felt it wasn’t particularly representative of Gretschmann’s many musical tastes and facets, and urged him to lengthen the piece, which he readily did, rearranging the songs along the way and ending up with a double-disc compilation spanning 41 tracks.

And Gretschmann, who often finds it difficult saying no to new projects or musical propositions, says the mix extension is one decision he certainly doesn’t regret.

“I do so many things,” he says. “And I try to do them, like, in a way that I’m happy.”