Strom − Festival for Electronic Music

Strom at the Philharmonie: for the first time in its history, the Philharmonie Berlin will host a two-day festival of electronic music. The event, curated by Stefan Goldmann, combines the unique architecture of the Philharmonie with performances by outstanding international artists including Kruder & Dorfmeister, Ryoji Ikeda, Nina Kraviz, KiNK and Robert Henke. They are all united by the fact that they have extended the boundaries of their genres or have fashioned entirely new musical genres – creative, unconventional, ground breaking.

Ticket information: Each ticket provides access to all acts of the selected evening: main auditorium (with seat), foyer and Hermann-Wolff-Saal. On both days, the event is expected to finish at 3 am.

Dates and Tickets

Fri, 07 Feb 2020, 20:00

Philharmonie Berlin

Sat, 08 Feb 2020, 20:00

Philharmonie Berlin

Programme

Friday, 7 February 2020

8.00 – 9.30 pm · Philharmonie – Foyer
Don’t DJ: DJ

9.45 – 10.45 pm · Philharmonie – Concert Hall
Stefan Goldmann: live
Visuals: Javier Benjamin

10.45 – 11.45 Uhr · Philharmonie – Foyer
Voiski: live

00.00 – 1.30 am · Philharmonie – Concert Hall
Kruder & Dorfmeister: live

1.30 – 3.00 am · Philharmonie – Foyer
KiNK: live

Saturday, 8 February 2020

8.00 – 9.00 pm · Philharmonie – Foyer
SØS Gunver Ryberg: live

9.15 – 10.15 Uhr · Philharmonie – Concert Hall
Cristian Vogel, Agnete and the Merman: live
Stimme: Siegmar Aigner

10.15 – 11.45 Uhr · Philharmonie – Foyer
Deena Abdelwahed: DJ

00.00 – 0.45 am · Philharmonie – Concert Hall
Ryoji Ikeda: live

0.45 – 2.45 am · Philharmonie – Foyer
Nina Kraviz: DJ

During both days:

Hermann-Wolff-Saal
Robert Henke, Phosphor (installation)

Philharmonie – Foyer
Visuals: Marco C

For the first time in its history, the Philharmonie Berlin will host a two-day programme of electronic music: the Strom festival. Curated by Stefan Goldmann, Strom will inhabit three distinct settings: the main auditorium for seated listening and audiovisual performances; the extensive foyer for dance sets, and the Hermann Wolff Room showing an. Strom brings visionary artists whose work is grounded in repetitive electronic music but reaches far beyond the club music framework to the Philharmonie’s singular spatial setting. The invited artists have reached beyond their core constituency into different art forms and layers of technology or culture, widened the scope of their respective genres or created new ones altogether. The line-up also emphasises the growing global significance of electronic music beyond its roots in Western Europe and North America with individual artists at the festival also coming from Bulgaria, Chile, Japan, Russia’s Far East and Tunisia. Strom does not offer classical crossover, but seeks to present outstanding individual achievement in art at the standards for contemporary composers that are performed by the orchestra, yet with totally different formal and technological backgrounds. The emphasis is less on genres or cultures and more on idiosyncratic takes on the former.

Both nights of the festival offer around seven hours of music, alternating between the different spatial settings and spanning arcs across highly diverse forms of expression and covering distinctly different performance formats.

Four artists have been invited to address a seated audience in a concentrated listening situation: Austria’s Kruder & Dorfmeister, originators of probably the most successful electronic downtempo dance offering, have previously provided for audiences outside a club setting with their ʻPrivate Collectionʼ mixes – celebrations of the ʻstudio as an instrumentʼ; music selected and arranged for its sonic qualities rather than for its capacity to move bodies. In a quite different way, Chilean-born and UK-bred techno innovator Cristian Vogel began with academic composition studies, went on to produce a series of highly influential albums throughout the 1990s for labels such as Mille Plateaux, Tresor and Novamute that bent the limits of what techno could be, and ultimately crossed over into modern composition ranging from works for solo electronics to large scale immersive experiences. At the Philharmonie, Vogel’s performance will include audio, film and voltage-controlled objects on stage, forming a digital take on experimental music theatre.

The work of Ryoji Ikeda is situated at the intersection of electronic music and time-based visual art, creating digital performances and installations as translations of raw masses of data into highly integrated dynamic interactions of image and sound. For Ikeda’s performance, the lighting in the auditorium will be blacked out for ultimate immersion.

Stefan Goldmann has been responsible for a long string of formal innovations in techno as well as translations of its traits into works for acoustic ensembles, film and music theatre. He has developed site-specific performances for settings as diverse as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Kyoto’s Honen-in Temple. For the main auditorium, he will collaborate with Argentinian video artist Javier Benjamin.

The foyer’s asymmetrical, multi-level architecture will provide the setting for the festival’s dance-centred element which will be headlined by Siberian techno phenomenon Nina Kraviz and Bulgaria’s KiNK, who has established himself as one of the leading live performers of house and techno. Both artists have in common that they come from the fringes beyond the North American/Western European exchange that developed contemporary club culture. Cut off from this infrastructure due to political and socio-economic restrictions, their process of discovery, acquisition of skills and access to technology differs significantly from their Western peers. As a result, their work is shaped by a markedly deep research of scarce resources such as the technology used by KiNK in real time, and the music unearthed by Nina Kraviz for her challenging DJ sets and releases of her Trip label. Particularly Kraviz has used her influence to give exposure to unsung or geographically isolated artists, from Iceland’s Exos and Bjarki, Tambov’s Vladimir Dubyshkin, and Siberia’s Roma Zuckerman to veterans from Detroit, the birthplace of techno, such as K-Hand and Terrence Dixon.

Similarly, Tunisian artist Deena Abdelwahed takes her own background as a springboard to construct an alternative aural reality: how would house and techno sound if Arabs had invented them? By contrast Berlin-based Don’t DJ uses electronic means of production to construct fictionally ʻexoticʼ music and in doing so tackles topics of cultural hybridisation and appropriation. French artist Voiski then takes a sometimes ironic look at dance music history, referencing electro and trance and incorporating them into his production and performance process that is as influenced by a concept art approach as by a strong emphasis on groove.

A more abstract and highly technology-driven approach is utilised by Danish composer, performer and sound artist SØS Gunver Ryberg. She creates genre-defying electronic music, sound installations and stage performances that rely heavily on advanced programming, synthesis and processed field recordings to enable dramatically expressive upheavals in sound.

Since the days of Japan’s Roland and Yamaha corporations inadvertently providing the tools that gave birth to house and techno, the probably most influential technology has been Ableton’s Live DAW. To its co-creator Robert Henke, exploration of technology has been essential. Apart from his contributions to electronic music, he has developed several works in which software, digitally produced sound and lasers interact. His installation Phosphorus takes ideas and processes developed with this background in mind, but removed entirely from the sphere of audio. Focused rays of ultraviolet light paint temporary landscapes on a layer of phosphorous dust. Installed in its own space for the duration of the festival, Phosphorus is shown in Berlin for the first time.

The foyer will feature visuals specifically designed for Strom Festival by Italian media artist Marco C.

Please note: Stroboscope effects are used for this event. Certain flash frequencies can trigger epileptic seizures under certain circumstances. We would like to point out that high volume levels are produced in some performance formats. For protection, earplugs are provided in the entrance area.

Kruder & Dorfmeister (photo: Andreas H. Bitesnich)

Nina Kraviz (photo: Paola Kudacki)