Berlin Atonal 2015

19 — 23 Aug 2015 at Kraftwerk building in Berlin, Germany

3 JUNE 2015
All images © Camille Blake
All images © Camille Blake

Berlin Atonal returns this August between the 19–23 to take over the Kraftwerk building once more for its singular programme of world premiere performances, special projects, audio-visual shows, installations and more. The cavernous Kraftwerk cathedral will open its doors to a host of figures operating in and around the world of experimental art and music, providing a setting for Atonal’s continuing project of providing a platform for innovation and experimentation encompassing all dimensions of creative expression. Alongside this, aftershows at Tresor, OHM and various other venues in the massive Kraftwerk complex will also provide a full programme of Atonal’s unique take on club music.

Berlin Atonal is extremely proud to present one of the standout musical events of the year: a European one-off live performance of Outside the Dream Syndicate, the legendary collaboration between avant-garde icon Tony Conrad and German krautrock band Faust. Conceived in 1973, their seminal LP did as much as any other musical entity in setting the parameters for minimalist and drone music in the latter part of the 20th century. They play at Berlin Atonal their first on-stage reunion in over 20 years. This rare collaboration between Tony Conrad and the Faust core members, Jean-Hervé Péron and Zappi W. Diermaier, will be a collage of thunderous percussion and violin with chestrattling low frequencies fusing to create a cosmic blend of krautrock and drone.

"Tony Conrad is a pioneer, as seminal in his way to American music as Johnny Cash or Captain Beefheart or Ornette Coleman, one of those really savvy old guys whom all the kids want to emulate because their ideas, their style are electric and new and somehow indivisible." - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Conrad invents a new musical language ... unbearably intense and gloriously ecstatic." - The Wire

"Monumental... Just follow your bliss." - Philadelphia Weekly

Another of the key commissioned acts to grace the Berlin Atonal hall this year will be SUMS, a collaboration between Raster Noton artist Kangding Ray and post-rock figure Barry Burns (Mogwai). The project will involve the two genre-leading artists on a range of electronic and amplified instruments, as well as additional musicians, to create a soundscape that blends elements of both of their respective musical legacies and trajectories.

Alessandro Cortini is a name widely recognized within the industrial scene as the live electronics performer in front-leading group Nine Inch Nails. An eclectic catalogue of solo work, as well as his collaborations with NIN’s founder and frontman Trent Reznor and Acadamy Award winning producer Atticus Ross have solidified Cortini as a constant fixture of the avant-garde music world. At Berlin Atonal 2015 he will present the very first full audio-visual performance of his solo project Sonno. Cortini stands justifiably in the linage of magician-technologists like Donald Buchla, Suzanne Ciani, Morton Subotnick and Charles Cohen for his uncanny ability to convey emotional content in relation to synthesized, electronically produced and processed sounds. The new solo project and world premiere performance allows him to expand this sensibility to its fullest extent yet, with material from his forthcoming follow up to his seminal release on Hospital Productions.

The main room of Kraftwerk will be filled with synthesizer soundscapes expressed in the language of electronic minimalism for a special one and only retrospective performance by David Borden + The Mother Mallard Ensemble. David Borden is one of the foremost exponents of live electronic and minimalist music. He has been active on the new music and contemporary classical scenes for over five decades, first coming to attention as the driving force behind the Mother Mallard Ensemble, the world's first all synthesizer ensemble. Borden was in close contact with Dr. Robert Moog and was one of the first musicians to use his Minimoog. After recruiting Steve Drews and Linda Fisher to operate additional synthesizers, the group began playing concerts of minimalist music by Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass. The Mother Mallard Ensemble is reformed and headed by David Borden for a special retrospective of his work at Berlin Atonal.

Academic, sound-explorer and master of deep, abstract techno Mike Parker will perform one of his first live show in over 15 years at Berlin Atonal 2015 and his first ever live performance with visuals – this time specifically adapted to the outsized dimensions of the power plant. Parker’s space-expanding brand of techno will incorporate buzzing vortexes and extraterrestrial howls to fill the vast expanses of the powerplant to its very corners.

Atonal will also provide the setting for Regis and Ancient Methods to their monumental Ugandan Methods collaborative project. A musical partnership that brings together Downwards label boss Karl O’Connor, and the shadowy industrial world of a sonic punisher Ancient Methods, the project is an unrepentant amalgam of spinecurving technoid breakbeats, a collusion of industrial Techno mechanics, stabby war rhythms and seething tribalism.

The festival has also invited New Zealand born Fis who will present a new rattling live audio-visual show, visionary Japanese producer Ena for his first world premiere AV show, Austrian author, presenter and sound experimenter Chra fresh from her 2015 solo release on Editions Mego, and the Osaka-based Ryo Murakami whose latest release on Bedouin Records sits between drone and musique concrète and was described as a synthetic version of Sunn O))). These are just the very first batch of names released, with many many more commissioned performances, world premieres, installations and an aftershow program still to be announced.

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