17 Jul 2013 — Henning Lahmann
As previously reported, later this month, from July 25 to 31, our cherished city will see the resurrection of legendary Berlin Atonal, which during the 80s used to be the principal destination for a thought-provoking, mind-bending approach to modern music. In anticipation of the festival, Budapest's Szilvia Lednitzky aka Lower Order Ethics – known for her tense and masterful transmissions on the edge of welcome sonic paranoia – has kindly made us a mix to foreshadow the things to come: seventy-five minutes of nocturnal and oppressive, provoking and forward-thinking electronic music, an absolutely appropriate teaser for what is set to become one of this year's most exciting musical events in town.
During the festival, Lower Order Ethics will play a set as part of the Contort showcase on Sunday, July 28.
Besides streaming the stellar mix exclusively here, we've also asked the festival's main organisers – Harry Glass, Laurens von Oswald, and Paulo Reachi – a few questions about the festival. Read the brief interview below.
For more information on Berlin Atonal and how to get tickets for the whole festival or individual events head over here. A list of all performing artists is to be found right here.
Rouz - Deathlessness
German Shepherds - I Adore You
Christian Cosmos - The Angular Position of His Ghost
Vatican Shadow - The Hamburg Cell Was Born In Chechnya
Miles - Archaic Thought Pattern 1
Ed Chamberlain - Landmine
Pan Sonic - Vähentajä
Violetshaped - Out of Any Symmetry
Grungerman - Fackeln Im Sturm
Barker & Baumecker - Crows (Blawan remix)
Surgeon - Whose Bad Hands Are These (Autechre remix)
Bhutan Temple Music - Dungchen & Jaling
Powell - Grand Street
Edanticonf - Overture
Lucy & Silent Servant - Victors History
Ancient Methods - Castling Becomes Inevitable
Virile Games - Plague Saints II
Forward Strategy Group - Industry & Empire
Kreng - Wrak
Pete Lazonby - Sacred Cycles (Complete Edition)
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What is the connection – aesthetically, but also perhaps politically – between the artists that will perform at Berlin Atonal 2013, and those that were part of the festival during the 80s?
In terms of music alone, quite a lot has changed since the early editions of the festival. Now it's less about shocking people and tearing conventions down, and more about using new methods to create interesting new possibilities in sound and rhythm. We actually think it's a measure of progress that you don't need to bring a jackhammer on stage in order to be making 'experimental' music. That's not to diss our earlier incarnations, the music was probably very appropriate to that time, that setting. But I think now with these new opportunities in sound design and construction, with a musical world bursting with interesting new styles, its not good enough to rehash experiments in the art of shock that have already had their day, that would just be lazy music-making.
Why is the Berlin of today still an appropriate place to stage a festival like this? Has the actual 'real world' setting become more or less important since Atonal's last edition?
I don't think it's plausible to say definitively that setting has changed in importance. But maybe setting itself means something different now to what it meant then. I suppose it used to stand for a concrete tradition, a more-or-less closed group of people - you could take for granted that everyone in the same city had something in common, if only a shared experience or a common history. But in Berlin today there are people who have been here for two weeks, for two years, people born in different continents, Germans, non-Germans. Of the three of us organising the festival one is a German who grew up outside Europe, one is from Australia and the other from France. The unity of Berlin probably has more to do with a common orientation, but that being said, there are still lots of different types of people, many different perspectives. I'm not sure that Berlin is the most appropriate place to stage this festival, we hope so, of course, but let's see.
The overarching theme is "Forming Space" – under today's conditions and in a city with a cultural scene as diverse as Berlin's, in which way is it even possible for a festival with such a challenging program to 'form the space' it is situated in? Do you wish for any particular kind of actual impact of Atonal on the city's music scene, or are we past those things nowadays anyway?
I don't really think we want to 'make an impact' besides providing a platform for good music, good conversations and interesting art to happen. Our favourite part of the festival is commissioning new works, new collaborations or new live shows. This is the sort of thing we want to do more. That's our 'forming space' - not the grand claim to re-form the space of Berlin, but more simply, to provide a space for new forms of expression, a place where form can be made of of emptiness.