Berlin Atonal Festival wrapped up last week, and for all of the breathtaking impact of the power plant’s cavernous main room, as per usual, the sleeper hits came from the more intimate control room tucked next to the mainstage.
Once you’re done acting out your Homer Simpson fantasies on the controls, this room – staffed by the synthesis lovers of Schneidersladen – is home to more experimental acts and jam sessions and modular patching extravaganzas. And the crowd is different, too, more family style sound nerd reunion than festival scenesters.
Photo at top: Mark Verbos, modular builder, alongside Lady Starlight. Photo courtesy CTM Festival.
Our friends from FACT captured three performances. (Don’t watch on Facebook; that social network’s encoding is crap for some reason. YouTube seems fine.)
There were lots of great shows, but they also selected well with what they recorded, with two gorgeous ambient solo sets and one quirkier duo. (Also, anyone else noticed that laptops have just quietly reappeared alongside modulars? And why not – who cares what particular gear you’ve assembled, if you find some way to be expressive with it?)
There are some dropouts here and there, but it’s worth checking out anyway.
My favorite is object blue – all on Ableton Live/Push, but a kind of shuffled, irregular looping musique concrete:
London-based artist object blue has a bunch of great stuff in her discography:
Really digging this one, just out this year:
But then this is lovely, too, adding more vocal goodness, also a 2018 creation:
Hiro Kone (aka NYC’s Nicky Mao) is looking chill with her Elektrons and modulars, and with good reason – some chill sounds happening. Lounging in the control room, genau:
Nicky is one busy, multi-talented, insanely prolific touring musician. And she’s got a well-organized site to discover more of her music (we would all do well to learn from that, too… rarity these days):
She’s done a nice mix for Secret Thirteen recently too:
KILLER-OMA is the off-kilter, leftfield (and inter-generational) combo of Isao Suzuki and KILLER-BONG – yes, one bare chin on gear, and one long beard on contra bass.
More from them:
Check out their release on Bandcamp for Tokyo’s Black Smoker:
Mixed feelings about the live stream age, actually – and something to think about, as CDM revisits how to work with live performing friends. (I’d go for higher quality audio, no? Thoughts?) At the same time, a live stream is a nice place to introduce people, and it’s great to see what people are doing – if we can sort those occasional sound dropouts. Open to ideas for what you’d like to see, especially as a community of music makers.