30 years after the Berlin Wall, the tale of how a young escaped Germany in 1945, while his grandson made the other way round, looking for answers that he could only find in 2017.
Minutes to Midnight, a music producer based in the UK, has launched a new artist project specifically to tell a real-life tale of imprisonment and liberty.
After 1989: A Trip To Freedom tells the story from his perspective as a grandson, who has only recently uncovered answers to how his grandfather managed to escape Germany in 1945.
A modern-day attempt at storytelling, the album is a glimpse into hope.
During a family dinner, after a glass too many, my grandfather let a story slip from his past. Fascists sent him to Germany, where he spent four years in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, on the outskirts of Berlin.
The Nazis spared his life because of his craftsmanship as a shoemaker. In April 1945, a few days before the Allies stormed into the city, he escaped with a fellow Russian inmate. They crossed Europe and came back home.
I grew up during the Cold War, obsessed by a shared feeling of impending doom. My very first trip was to Prague and Berlin, a few months after the collapse of the Wall. I watched a divided city as it still was, but didn’t dare to visit the camp. Many years later, I was able to put my resolve to the test.
Once again, I’m back in Berlin, this time to finally see the Konzentrationslager. I’m on the S-Bahn train to Oranienburg. At each station, my mind goes back in time, to the tumultuous decades that preceded the 9th of November 1989, when people were able to cross the Wall. I’m thinking about the connection between my grandfather’s story and the convoluted menacing world order that came out of it.
When I finally cross the steel gate of Sachsenhausen, I realise how this whole story is about being a prisoner. Whether in a concentration camp, behind a wall, caught within propaganda or fearing a nuclear holocaust.
Listen to the Album
Official Music Videos Playlist
Track after track, Minutes to Midnight takes us to a journey that is both personal and part of the shared history that shaped our lives and the current affairs. Each song is a unique blend of beautifully crafted sounds and samples from crucial historical events, delivered with the help of incredibly talented collaborators.—SILVIA MAGGI
It’s a greatly inspiring album, where the sounds blend perfectly with the strength of the feelings evoked, all mentioned facts being part of our collective unconscious although personal for the artist.—GIULIANA GRANITI
It’s impossible to remain indifferent. It sounds great, everything is so clear and defined. The only thing that’s missing is a jam-packed theatre.—PAOLO CLEMENTI
Really enjoying the album, so much work has gone into it clearly, a great concept and realisation.—DOMINIC HALL-SMITH
Management: Christopher Carvalho / Unlock Your Sound Ltd.