The Berlin festival returns with an impressive line-up for their two-week festival focused on innovative live performances – read on for our highlights.
As reports flood in of traditional summer festivals struggling to compete with post-pandemic inflation and reduced consumer spending, inner-city festivals provide an opportunity to partake in forward-thinking musical experiences without breaking the bank.
Along with the likes of MUTEK, ADE, and Sónar, Berlin’s Atonal combines individual event tickets with full-festival pass options to provide access tailored to fans’ interests while minimizing travel and accommodation costs – particularly for locals.
Inhabiting the expansive abode of the iconic Kraftwerk building (upstairs from, and adjacent to, the legendary nightclub Tresor, and connected to its satellite venue, Ohm), Atonal’s focus on industrial-leaning experimental electronics and visuals comes hand-in-hand with site-specific multimedia installation works – and an emphasis on live performance.
This year’s line-up reveals a range of exclusive commissioned pieces and premieres spanning six concert nights across two weekends this September. Here’s some highlights we’re especially looking forward to catching in the German capital.
Caterina Barbieri + Space Afrika (World Premiere)
This unique collaborative presentation merges Caterina Barbieri’s compositional prowess with Space Afrika’s intricate sonic explorations for their inaugural joint endeavor. Uniting their distinct musical identities, this somewhat surprising but potentially groundbreaking collaboration is emblematic of the experimental spirit at the heart of Atonal.
Laurel Halo presents Atlas (World Premiere)
Laurel Halo’s latest live presentation, “Atlas” is the culmination of several years’ exploration into noir-infused atmospherics, cinematic string arrangements, and jazz-inflected harmonies. Expanding on her spellbinding atmospheric work, she will collaborate with cellist Leila Bordreuil, a force in free improvisation, for a convergent debut that promises to envelop listeners in a fog of organic electronics.
Sandwell District (World Premiere)
The legendary Sandwell District joining forces for their first-ever live performance is doubtless a milestone. Peter Sutton (Female), David Sumner (Function), Juan Mendez (Silent Servant), and Karl O’Connor (Regis), have produced numerous iconic tracks for the Downwards imprint, but never played live together. Securing Sandwell District’s debut audio-visual live performance, Atonal has set the stage for a moment in techno history, no doubt much to the delight of those attending.
Shackleton / Zimpel + Siddhartha Belmannu with Pedro Maia present In The Cell Of Dreams (World Premiere)
The pair of Sam Shackleton, renowned dubstep and bass music trailblazer, and visionary avant-folk virtuoso Waclaw Zimpel, have now enlisted Siddhartha Belmannu, one of Indian Carnatic music’s most promising emerging vocal talents. Together, they aim to embrace of mortality while exuberantly celebrating the delicious impermanence of life while forging a direct connection with the audience.
Alessandro Cortini with Marco Ciceri present Nati Infiniti (World Premiere)
First showcased as an immersive auditory installation at Sonar Lisboa 2022, revolving around Strega, the instrument Cortini co-designed with Make Noise. For Berlin Atonal, the piece is transformed into an audiovisual live improvisational experience: a singular, ever-evolving dialogue, accompanied by live visual components developed by Marco Ciceri. Renowned for his evocative compositions, Cortini is not only a celebrated solo artist but also a pivotal member of Nine Inch Nails with an extensive portfolio, to which this figures to be a significant addition.
Merging the tangible essence of Musique Concrète’s sonic sculptures with the fluid evolution of dancefloor dynamics found within the Hardcore Continuum, Lee Gamble spans diverse realms as a producer and DJ. Traversing the conceptual, cinematic, surreal, and dreamlike, he will also curate a lineup predominantly featuring artists associated with his UIQ label platform.
Persher (World Premiere)
Persher is a new collaboration from British music producers Blawan (Jamie Roberts) and Pariah (Arthur Cayzer). Their individual releases have solidified their positions as exceptionally innovative techno artists, while their collaborative efforts under the moniker Karenn, both on stage and in the studio, have given rise to some of the most instinctively thrilling techno of the past decade. The birth of Persher serves as an outlet for the two artists to venture into the frontiers of punk, hardcore, and metal. As a band format, they are accompanied by George Addy on drums and Matt Fidler on bass. We expect full-blast intensity.
For tickets and more information, visit: http://berlin-atonal.com
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