As Berlin Atonal reveals the first look at the schedule for its 5 days in August, it continues to add projects to its already overflowing programme.
Joining the Opening Concert on Wednesday 19. August is the world premiere of a project bringing together Alessandro Cortini and Australian composer/producer Lawrence English. With the byline ‘Immersive horizontal music. Drowning the ears. Consuming the body’, this commissioned collaboration aims at bringing an immersive sound field of dense harmony to the exceptional spatial dimensions of Kraftwerk Berlin. In this specially devised work tonal currents emerge between passages of reductive minimalism and tectonic plates of physical distortion. Like a waking dream, the audience is invited to become submerged in this evolving sonic world, wholly consumed in vibration.
Joining them on the opening night is another Atonal commissioned collaboration, this time between synthesiser genius Max Loderbauer and Polish experimentalist Jacek Sienkiewicz. Blending harmonic swells and treated synthesised drones with adroitly weighted melodic passages, this collaboration promises to be a masterclass in expertly crafted ambient music from two of the genre’s’ leading exponents. To round out the nightBerlin Atonal has invited Barbara Morgenstern and her Chor der Kulturen der Welt to develop a site specific ‘spatial sound collage’ that allows the audience to experience the special features of the powerplant through unamplified sound. The audience members can freely move through the space as they find themselves in the midst of a sonic happening. These three new commissions join the previously announced one-off retrospective performance featuring David Borden and his Mother Mallard Ensemble (the world’s first wholly synthesised ensemble) in opening the festival for its 2015 edition.
At the other end of the week, Sunday night’s Contort curated closing program also gains a few names. Samuel Kerridge will present the world premiere of his new project entitled Fatal Light Attraction, which features a newly devised system of intense lighting, creating a sense of motion acting as a counterpart to the sound and adding to the sense of raw physicality which has become synonymous with Samuel’s work to date. Modern Love and Touchin’ Bass legends Bitstream have reformed for a one-off live show and WSR presents his electro-acoustic work with live instrumentation provided by Koenrad Ecker of Lumisokea.
New to Atonal this year is the introduction of a second stage in the gigantic Kraftwerk, to run alongside the Tresor rooms after the concerts conclude on the main upper stage. Already announced for this stage is the Northern Electronics showcase featuring Abdulla Rashim asLundin Oil, Varg, Acronym, Vit Fana and Puce Mary. Joining them in showing off their own respectable arsenal of family and friends will be James Ginzburg’s Subtext Recordings. Representing the Bristol label will be the irreplaceable Roly Porter with a characteristically mind-expanding live A/V show, as well as composer/producer John Bence, while Ellen Arkbro (whose work has been described as an oscillation between the pop music of the ’90s and the American minimalism of the ’60s) will present a new project based on just intonation modulations derived from the seventh region of the harmonic series.
Diagonal Records also gets a chance to show its wares, and label bosses Oscar Powell and Jaime Williams have to this end invited experimental legend Russell Haswell to play live as well as the adrenalised EBM-infused jammer Not Waving and the muscular and percussion-based Blood Music. The same stage on Saturday night sees Lakker present the world premiere of a brand new audio-visual show, blurry techno entity Polar Inertia perform live as well as freshly coined duo Sergie Rezza – the experimental outlet of DJ Deep and Roman Poncet.
This is not to diminish the rest of the club program which will run, as in years past, in Tresor, Globus and OHM. Among those appearing include Regis, Moritz von Oswald, Shifted, Sigha, Skarn, Abdulla Rashim, Peder Mannerfelt + Pår Grindvik, Willie Burns, Anton Zap, Mark Verbos, DeepChord, Goth-Trad, Tarcar, Talker, Greener, Post Scriptum, DJ TLR and Skee Mask.
Berlin Atonal will also host a number of screenings on the ground floor of the Kraftwerk powerplant including the Berlin premiere of lauded documentary film Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay (2015). This lively film traces the origins of industrial music, from the crumbling industrial cities of Europe to America’s thriving avant-garde scene, and features interviews with, among many others, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Throbbing Gristle, Z’EV and Orphx. Tony Conrad will be performing a historical performance of his Outside the Dream Syndicate project on the night of Saturday 22. August, but before that interested festival-goers will have a chance to explore another facet of his wide-ranging and varied artistic practice, namely, experimental film. A bone-fide pioneer of both structural filmmaking and expanded cinema Conrad will himself guide the audience on a retrospective of his path-breaking and immeasurably influential film oeuvre in a performative lecture. The same setting will host a screening of legendary experimental collagist, sculptor and filmmaker Bruce Conner’s 1976 masterwork “Crossroads”. Made using archival footage of the first tests of nuclear weapons conducted at Bikini Atoll in the summer of 1946, “Crossroads” is considered one of the most iconic works in the history of the moving image. Both the film’s score and sound effects are supplied by seminal minimalist composer Terry Riley and synthesizer pioneer Patrick Gleeson which, combined with the dark beauty of the devastating images, produces a profound meditation on humanity’s capacity for destruction and violence.
Individual day tickets are now available from www.berlin-atonal.com, which allow entry into the Kraftwerk complex for the duration of the nights activities which includes aftershows.