Making connections with people – creators and audience alike – sometimes means going beyond the virtual, and actually getting people together in the same room. For MusicMakers, Create Digital Music teamed up with curators and artists in Berlin to make some of those connections across disciplines, to get closer to the processes of design and music creation. Making and listening in the age of overabundance could feel diluted. But as makers keep making, and really listening, they can find their music comes to mean more, not less.
With support from Moog Music, on the 14th of September we launched our first event, in the heart of Berlin’s creative scene, at the formerly-a-swimming-pool Kreuzberg club Prince Charles. Now, we can share what happened, and some of the people we’ve gotten to know – and where it might lead next.
For a rough sense of what happened, see the film at top by Jolene Borrelli. (And yes, it got loud and crowded.)
Mixing club events with art or exhibition is nothing new. But “nothing new” is part of the idea. It seems to me that there’s an opportunity in this moment to bring together people who make things via a variety of techniques, both traditional and new, digital media but also old media – analog, wood, paper. We can create a new environment for audiences to have a broader experience of music and its resonance in other media, and a space in which these artists can connect their techniques to one another. For those of us who believe in growing through connections to others, whatever the result, that environment is a necessity.
MusicMakers actually began in March 2007, as part of a collaboration between myself, Make Magazine, and Etsy (and hosted by Etsy at their Brooklyn offices). It later evolved into something we called Handmade Music, and people have picked up on the idea of bringing musical DIYers together in cities worldwide. For the Berlin relaunch, though, I wanted to come back to the original name, because for me it gets at the broader sense of creation.
The team behind MusicMakers brought together CDM with creative organizations SemiDomesticated (curator Anette K Hansen) and PLATform (curators Alex Sebag, Iohanna Nicenboim, and Raquel Chaves). We also worked on a new visualization of musical patterns in Organized Sound: The Synthesizer, Visualized, a collaboration between myself, Hansen, and Caroline Blind that resulted in the hand-printed artwork you see here. (More on that in a separate story.)
We got to work with a range of musicians, from a synth jam with a Berghain resident to a Dutch duo, playing everything from a Sarod to hand-built electronics to analog modulars. And with our curators, we found designs ranging from an electroacoustic bass kalimba built by a furniture designer to hands-on interactive RFID installation.
To start sharing what we did do in the real world (meatspace?) with the rest of the planet (non-Berlin-space, which frankly often has better weather), here’s an introduction to the artists we got to know at the event.
We do want to hear from you. If an artist strikes your fancy (installation or live act) and you’d like to know more, we’ll be doing additional coverage, so don’t be shy.
Composer and guitarist Takeshi Nishimoto is known for collaborative electronic projects such as “I’m Not A Gun” with John Tejada, as well as solo work. Among his diverse output, here’s an illustrative collaboration with Strand:
For MusicMakers, Takeshi played a rare set on the sarod.
Phoebe we of course profiled this week:
Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space
Mixing analog video and analog audio with digital tech, this unique live setup included Wouter Jaspers, founder of boutique Neukölln-based analog maker Koma Elektronik.
Kaap de Goede Hoop
From Utrecht, Holland, this duo can really bring alive a dance floor – but also excel at producing exquisite, hand-crafted tracks. Lots more on our musicmake.rs site.
Barker, Easton West, Owen Roberts, Koe Kkoee, Lando Kal
This massed set of artists and vintage gear produced strikingly-crisp dance music in real-time, to visualizations of MIDI events by myself (collaborating with designers Anette K Hansen and Caroline Blind). We called it the “Megajam” – they had never played before, but I loved what happened when they came together. I hope to document this band separately, but in the meantime, I’ll give you a taste of just one artist – Sam Barker, who works now on a duo with nd_baumecker we’ve covered here on CDM.
We’ll be seeing more of Michel’s work soon, but suffice to say, Sneak-Thief is one of the craziest hardware builders I’ve met, and… well, you read this site. More on his sequencing monster later this month.
Lando Kal is perhaps best known as part of Lazer Sword, but his solo act is deserving of attention. He held down an extended live set and a prominent role in The Megajam. I hope we get closer with Antaeus and his work shortly, but in the meantime, it appears he just posted this to SoundCloud, so let’s have a listen, shall we?
Our installation artists included two instruments the audience could play: an amplified bass marímbula made from a garden rake by designers Pastperfekt, and the futuristic AirPiano (above) with visualizations by Florian Schulz. They also included shimmering and responsive audiovisual installations by Kasper Vang and Yannick Sebag, and a giant, lumbering stuffed object that used RFIDs to trigger musical playback in a shining array of CDs (seen at the beginning of the video) by artists Birgitta Cappelen, Anders-Petter Andersson, and Fredrik Olofsson (MusicalFieldsForever).
More to Come, Berlin and Beyond
MusicMakers in September was the first step of a new chapter for these collaborations on this site. We’ll be back in a short while in Berlin – and hope to spread these ideas to events elsewhere.
Stay tuned, as well, for more of the products that came from these collaborations.
Or keep an eye on our official MusicMakers minisite:
Thanks to Moog Music for their support.
…a brief comment on angst and the Internet.
I do read and appreciate comments on this site, even negative ones. I notice when I post music, and sometimes even technology, there’s very often a sense of angst. “It’s all been done,” “this isn’t new,” and the like.
I hadn’t remembered the last two lines of the poem from which this event draws its name, but then I read them:
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
I suppose it fits blogs, too.