TAKTLOS-BERN festival announcement

Friday/Saturday, 14./15. September 2001

Kulturhallen Dampfzentrale
Marzilistrasse 47
3005 Bern, Switzerland


Friday, September 14, 2001

20.30h F┬tima Miranda (E): ArteSonado. Eine szenische Konzert-Performance fěr die Stimmen von F┬tima Miranda
22.00h David Moss und Phil Minton (USA/GB): Two Tenors that sound like a million
23.00h Curd Duca (A) / Mille Plateaux
24.00h Jamie Lidell (GB) / Warp

Saturday, September 15, 2001

20.30h Heiner Goebbels / Les Percussions de Strasbourg (D/F): ...M╦me soir.-
22.00h Velma (CH): Classique
23.00h Thomas Brinkmann (D) / suppos╩, raster-noton, profan, ernst
24.00h Kid606 (USA) / Mille Plateaux
01.00h Jake Mandell (USA) / Force Inc., Carpark

Tickets: SFr 40 for the whole evening, or SFr 15 from 11.00 PM
Advance sales: Ticketcorner,
Tickets can be reserved from Sept. 10, on +41 (0)31 312 1206


Main focus "Music as theatre":

F┬tima Miranda, Heiner Goebbels / Percussions de Strasbourg, Velma, Moss / Minton
taktlos-bern sees itself as a forum for the very latest in music located in the broad segment spanning club culture and the fine arts. Types of performance range from the classical concert through to the presentation of the room using surround sound. We have an international gearing, and collaborate closely with perfomers who are successful in today?s multi-media scene. This is especially true of F┬tima Miranda and Heiner Goebbels (see below), whose musical, stage and visual language have succeeded in setting them apart from the mainstream in recent years, and have evolved a blending of music and theatre - a development we have followed closely, and documented on earlier occasions.
Another recent development which taktlos-bern has followed in detail is the involvement of performers in the intermediate zone of music and media art, to create fascinating visual and sound worlds using computers. But that is not all: We also attach great importance to conveying content in the performance area itself, to lighting, stage, acoustics, image projections, not to mention the appropriate presentation of the performers themselves. In other words, we transfer the vast experience we have gathered in recent years in presenting electronic music - say with the raster-noton collective at taktlos-bern '00 - to a performance context, in which electronics is only one of many aspects. The music becomes more theatrical, people become more tangible, the mood more complex. Once again, people are at the center of things, as composers and performers, who make intelligent use of technology. They employ sharply-honed musical skills to make personal comments about the current overload situation of digitally-generated sounds and images, and realize their highly personal ideas in a contemporary manner.
The four program items mentioned cover a broad spectrum; not only in terms of content, but also formally and personally, they share a closeness to the (music-) theatre: from the Percussions de Strasbourg which received worldwide acclaim, via Spanish vocalist F┬tima Miranda, who is assembling her latest work at the ZKM Karlsruhe, from Velma - the young, Lausanne band with theatre experience, to the two old hands Moss and Minton: the early part of the evening at taktlos-bern 01 demonstrates four positions, which span the range between theatre poetry produced using high-tech (Miranda), a stage concert (Goebbels / Percussions de Strasbourg), multi-media post-rock performance, and playful stage performance (Moss / Minton). And if there are still people wanting more, as of 11 PM the classical-experimental electronica-program kicks off (see info-sheet) with more items expressing strong, moving statements on the situation of the DJ culture.

Main focus "Stage as club":
Curd Duca, Thomas Brinkmann, Jamie Lidell, Kid606

Music as theatre, the stage as club - this is how one might describe the two main focuses of taktlos-bern 01. While the early evening is taken up with four performances of Goebbels / Percussions de Strasbourg, F┬tima Miranda, Velma and Moss / Minton respectively, for which the stage becomes the presentation forum for people, instruments and fantasies, this alters dramatically from 11 PM onwards. There is only sound, at the most a few projections, which underscore the atmospheric intensity of the electronically produced sound. Gone is the frontal exposure to sonic waves, the peep show box; they are replaced by an environment of sound, image and light, in which one can submerse oneself. No longer are texts and people at the center (no narration!) but rather states, sounds, logos and an (acoustic) symbolism, which fuses the animated club with the free consumer world and sound research.
With its statements on the DJ culture - Curd Duca, Jamie Lidell, Kid606, Thomas Brinkmann and Jake Mandell - taktlos-bern once again demonstrates its feeling for the very latest trends from the broad field of advanced electronic pop. In the past, people such as DJ Spooky, Scanner, Panasonic, u-ziq, Amon Tobin, Jim O'Rourke, Coldcut, Pole, Fennesz, raster-noton, Platzgumer or Steinbrěchel have supplied music, which showed us how varied DJ music is, and how it mirrors technological progress. The performers featuring in the second half of the evening expand this spectrum still further, and in making our choice we took care to invite acts that are moving in the true sense of the word. From the easy-listening fakes of Austrian performer Curd Duca to the roughly mixed vocals and beats of the young DJ Kid606, from the melancholy soundscapes of Thomas Brinkmann to Jamie Lidell?s shaken up future funk and the hypersynthetic post-techno of Jake Mandell: at taktlos-bern, late at night, one is given an insight into the big, wild, danceable world of sampling and enriched beat production, which seems to be held together by no more than the club room itself.
taktlos-bern has presented modern music since 1980, including (in chronological order): Lounge Lizards, Vienna Art Orchestra, John Zorn, Last Exit, Anthony Braxton, Diamanda Galas, London Jazz Composers' Orchestra, Fred Frith, Blauer Hirsch, Ir╔ne Schweizer, Negativland, Michel Waisvisz, Heiner Goebbels and ensemble moderne, ROVA, Vinko Globokar, Borbetomagus, ICP Orchestra, Thomas K├ner, Paul Bley, Amon Tobin, Maryanne Amacher, Scanner, Marc Ribot, Granular Synthesis, Coldcut, Pole, raster-noton.

Friday, September 14, 2001

8.30 PM, Turbinensaal
F┬tima Miranda (E): ArteSonado
F┬tima Miranda is an extraordinary performer. After acquiring a PhD in history of art, it was the early eighties when she first discovered her voice - partly as a result of studying Far Eastern singing techniques. During this period, she also headed the music library of the Cumplutense University in Madrid. Indeed, music and history form the background of her works, which she presents with considerable acting skills. In past years, Miranda has participated in virtually all of Europe?s important festivals, and received several awards for her work.
Her performances are a merging of conceptual severity and poetical-atmospheric concentration; the everyday and dream world, biographical experiences and fantasies are accorded equal space. This is reflected in an exemplary manner in her latest piece. Even the title implies a double meaning: ArteSonado can mean "acoustic art", but also the ornamental decoration of Spain?s Arabian-inspired architecture. In ArteSonado, F┬tima Miranda also addresses the history of Spain; she recounts it through nine chapters using highly-associative images. In front of an enormous washing line, she paces off various stages, while projections visible on the clothes complement and contrast with what she recounts. Clothes are something we wear, we experience our lives in them, and whether we intend them to be or not, are an expression of our personal preferences and our area of action. Miranda uses this metaphor simultaneously as a conveyor of images and a screen, in order to realize her visual and acoustic ideas in a poetic manner. The three elements music, scenography and image create both stages and space for the imagination. The performance begins with the solo voice of the artist, before swelling in the course of the evening to an enormous choir - a choir created by incorporating the recorded voices of F┬tima Miranda. In doing so, the singer attaches great importance to the reproduction of her voice being as unadulterated as possible, the electronic system simply serves as an instrument to produce intensity, alienated effects are not employed. That is often difficult to believe, since Miranda?s voice embraces four octaves, and an unusual spectrum of expression. Proceeding with precise choreography, sophisticated lighting control, and cautious movements, the wealth of optical and acoustic expressions is chaneled. Nevertheless, ArteSonado is a wonderfully poetic piece: mediterranean subjects, a bazaar, the jungle, ritual customs, but also ironic allusions or childhood reminiscences are woven to form a carpet, life might have embroidered itself.
In producing ArteSonado Miranda relied on the support of the "Center of Art and Media Technology" in Karlsruhe. taktlos-bern presents the Swiss premi╔re of the work.

10.00 PM, Kesselhaus
David Moss (US) / Phil Minton (GB): Two Tenors that sound like a million

Moss and Minton - two important figures on the vocal scene. But can one apply the term vocalist to them? For although Minton has already performed Schubert and Moss is shortly to appear in the "Fledermaus" at the Salzburg Festival, the expression is inadequate. The reason: both share the same problem, which is simultaneously a constant challenge and opportunity: they have nothing to rely on other than their own presence on stage, no additional aids, no instruments, nothing. Just voice, actor, person. They are neither composers, nor performers. Moss and Minton are themselves. And that is a lot, perhaps in this directness more than many people can deal with. For when someone like Moss gets going, when someone like Minton coaxes the most incredible sounds from his vocal chords, it is difficult not to be moved by the sound.
Over the years, taktlos-bern has presented the two performers on several occasions. And we had good reason to do so again, given that both Moss and Minton have progressed from vocalist to actor and back again a number of times, each time gaining new experiences which they have incorporated into their next project. At taktlos-bern, they perform without sophisticated equipment, providing a starkly contrasting stance to the complex theatre technology productions in the manner of Goebbels and Miranda. Moss and Minton prove that two voices can also be theatre.

11.00 PM, Kesselhaus
Curd Duca (A), electronics (Mille Plateaux)
There is one thing one cannot accuse Curd Duca of, and that is mimicking trends. In fact, long before easy listening was declared a hype by various music magazines, he had already brought out two CDs: "easy listening 1" and "easy listening 2". They were repeatedly aired by various radio stations in the United States (in 1996, "easy listening 3" was the most-played record by reputed radio station WFMU, New York), the German music magazine "Spex" declared his CDs to be the best the 20th century had produced. His trilogy "Elevator I - III" appeared on the renowned German label "Mille Plateaux", and the man from Vienna with the highly-apt initials CD was also behind the theme tune for popular MTV series "MTV-Latino". Meanwhile his standing as the trailblazer of electronic music in Austria is uncontested.
Curd Duca is a charming acoustic musician, who charms an inspiring whole from the microcosms of his sound fragments. Anyone expecting the type of easy listening common to the 1960s and 70s, is in for a disappointment. Duca does not look to the past, his method of working is too modern for one to connect his work with the typical retro sound. Put differently, Duca is much closer to Brian Eno and Jimi Tenor, than the heroes of the early 60s, even though his music may seem to be full of "misquotations " - it is the very use of such devices which makes him forward-looking.

Discography: easy listening vol 1-5 (1992-96); switched-on wagner, mille plateaux (1997); elevator 1, mille plateaux (1998); elevator 2, mille plateaux (1999); elevator 3, mille plateux (2000)

Midnight, Kesselhaus
Jamie Lidell (GB), electronics / vocals (Warp)
The future of funk goes by the name of Jamie Lidell. If Prince were still innovative, this, presumably is what he would sound like. It was the end of 1999, when Lidell first shocked open-minded listeners: Super_Collider is the name of the duo with Christian Vogel, which combines distorted beats, ancient soul vocals and a load of strange noises to an insistent mix, which to top it all can also be danced to. Immediately afterwards, Vogel produced a slightly more moderate version in "Rescate 137", and Lidell subsequently hit back with "Muddlin'Gear". The history of funk and the essences of Musique Concr╔te, technoid deconstructions and harmonious melodies, surprising breaks and vocal sections make "Muddlin' Gear" one of last year?s most outstanding albums. Lidell, representative of the Brighton "No-Future" collective, which is responsible for a unusually productive output of irritating music, remains in control despite the apparent chaos. The information overkill, which pours out of the loudspeakers and at times fuses Miles Davis with Sven V─th, is of a precise nature and cannot be compared with the arbitrary mixing often simply employed because the technological means exist. Critics are at something of a loss to describe Lidell, resorting to categories such as "abstract beats" or "experimental groove". We want to form our own judgement, and are presenting Lidell live and solo. taktlos-bern 01 will be his first performance in Switzerland.

Discography: Super_Collider: "Head On" (Warp, 1999), Jamie Lidell: Muddlin' Gear (Warp, 2000)
Saturday, September 15, 2001
8.30 PM, Turbinensaal
Heiner Goebbels / Les Percussions de Strasbourg: ...M╦me soir.-
Stage concert for six percussionists
Heiner Goebbels is a "Pursuer of materials, a user of second-hand things, who constantly examines unwieldy advanced civilization?s chances of survival in a joyful world of pop, and often proves it can indeed survive. The scene is sound to him, the text room, the music gesture, while man creates distance." This is what the newspaper "Sěddeutsche Zeitung" writes about one of the most important contemporary composers of our time, who employs music to re-define the limits of the radio play and the theatre (particularly to texts by Heiner Měller). And now Goebbels, the man who has made an unconventional entry to so many areas, teams up with what is arguably the most important percussion ensemble wordlwide. The Percussions de Strasbourg have been around for 40 years, and have premiered many 20th-century works; often enough the compositions were written especially for the ensemble. The group?s founding members resigned, and the rejuvenated ensemble is now entering new territory with Goebbels in the form of a stage concert. However, the composer did not present a completed score; instead, he had the ensemble present their enormous arsenal of instruments which then served as inspiration to him. Subsequently, the material was elaborated in joint rehearsals, and gradually evolved into a piece which could be performed. ...M╦me soir.- Though a light, playful piece, it never drifts off into the arbitrary - Goebbels? instinct for formal completion would never allow that to happen. Anyone who has seen his previous productions "Max Black" or "Hashirigaki" knows what is meant.
The scene: an abstract office landscape, green carpet, a couple of video projections disguised as flip-charts, neon light. It is here that the musicians move and, with great love of detail celebrate their instruments: gongs, drums, cymbals, pans, steel rods, but also recorded sounds meld to form a graphic percussion waxworks, which mirrors the lightness of the music. The title says it all: ... on the same evening ... something else could also happen. The piece is not a momentous, self-contained parable or even a narration, nor does it contain any of Goebbels? musical socialization from the area of socially committed music or jazz-related forms. Rather ...M╦me soir is like a peep-hole for the curious audience to listen at and look through. Goebbels: "The piece revolves around a mysterious, empty center. There are no protagonists, no star, no language. I am simply attempting to present everything which one could see in a concert." Goebbels is a genius at making visible what is taken for granted, of combining what appears to be incompatible. He not only expresses this knowledge through his compositions, but more recently has also begun conveying it to students, as professor at Giessen University at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies. taktlos-bern presents the Swiss premi╔re of ...M╦me soir.-.

10.00 PM, Kesselhaus
Velma (CH): Classique
Christophe Jaquet (vocals), Christian Garcia (guitar / electronics),
St╩phane Vecchione (drums), Olivier Mariette (visuals), Julien Grandjean (acoustics)

Not only is superior hip-hop produced in Lausanne, but also atmospheric post-rock, which is highly popular with Californian college radio stations - the band Velma is a case in point. On their second album "Cyclique" Velma choreographs complex, lengthy and varied pieces. Sometimes the band melds samples of classic and blues, followed by bare, minimal works featuring guitar and amateurish vocals. For instance, in the piece "Masquerade", something as profane as making coffee is raised through its passionate, exciting treatment to a meaningful activity. The music?s graphic quality is reflected in the visual elements, which are projected onto moving screens with an old 8mm projector.
In the past, Velma simply aimed at melding electronic with acoustic, today it goes a step further. St╩phane Vecchione: "There is always a research aspect to making this kind of music. At the same time, we attempt to make our laboratory accessible to others. Visual aspects with actors and projections widen our horizons." Which explains why Velma sounds different, depending on whether they are in the studio, on stage (say in the TheÎtre de Vidy Lausanne) or in a concert. But what is characteristic is always the conceptional idea, which is evident in all their works. That sounds restrictive, but it is not only that: the band deliberately cultivates an ironic aspect with a great deal of style, and the concept also allows for emotional outbursts in the mode of old rock bands (otherwise the group would presumably do without a live drummer...). What one can say: Velma cleverly fills the gap between rock concert and theater performance, displays a lot of retro charm combined with acoustic competence, as well as the skilled use of modern technology. That has not escaped notice abroad. Velma is a much sought-after band, and is definitely one of the most interesting Swiss bands around - interesting because it performs in wide variety of contexts, and because the formally precise use of several acoustic and image media reveals great artistic potential.

Discography: "Rhythmique", ITT Records (1997); "Cyclique", Emperor Norton records (1999); "Parole", Stetic records / Namskeio (2000); "Cyclique 2", Mnarstik / Namskeio (2000); "Natal", Mnarstik / Namskeio (2001)

11.00 PM, Kesselhaus
Thomas Brinkmann
Thomas Brinkmann penetrates into the very essence of sound, and did so long before digital instruments came on the market. Using records, or more precisely specially prepared, scratched records, he experimented and looked for analogies between the optical and acoustic expression. Regular cuts in the vinyl provided him with the basic structure for his self-spun, mechanical techno, which he varied in many ways, including the use of multi-armed record players. At this point, the art student Brinkmann, who was active on the productive scene in Cologne, became acquainted with the music of Mike Ink, Richie Hawtin and Wolfgang Voigt. Looking back, he says it was a positive culture shock. Meanwhile he has created his own name and sound under the names Thomas or Ester Brinkmann, brings out his own productions and remixes on various labels, for example '20' to 2000' by raster-noton. "I was always concerned with how one could make acoustic photographs" says Brinkmann - a concept he has spent many years in exploring down to the smallest detail, and often through dancefloor music. Brinkmann is unobtrusive, suggestive, attractive in his simplicity, yet has a lasting quality. Put briefly: his minimalist post-techno music has a lot going for it!
Discography: thomas brinkmann: studio 1 variationen (profan cd 1997), ester brinkmann: voran (suppos╩ 1998), thomas brinkmann: x 100 (suppos╩ 1998), ester brinkmann: weisse n─chte (suppos╩ 1999), ester brinkmann: july (20' to 2000, raster music 2000). thomas brinkmann: soul center (w.v.b. enterprises/nl 1999), thomas brinkmann: ernst q (ernst q 1999), thomas brinkmann: ernst q rosa (ernst cd 2000), thomas brinkmann - klick (max.ernst, 2000)

Midnight, Kesselhaus
Kid606 (USA)
He is all of 22-years old, the young Californian who calls himself Kid606 and comes from Venezuela. He has an enormous overview, a cheeky approach, his sound is crude and his humor coarse. Kid606 samples, fills his two Apple computers up to the brim, and during his performance empties the hard disk down to the last byte. Though he always begins with old drum'n'bass beats, what he lays over the top comes from the latest archives of pop history. He mixes vocal fragments, radio hits, and scraps of easy-listening to a seething brew, which is then re-mixed according to location and mood. Even though he works with computers, one always feels that Kid606 is about spontaneous acting and reacting: he plays live, rapidly and with lots of energy, and does not rely on ready-made creations, which are then reproduced on the night as closely to the original as possible. Kid606, who also works under the names "tigerboy" and "scsi bear", has no respect, is energetic and has spent the last few years moving from club to festival, in order to truly spice up Saturday night. As he will do for us.
Discography: P.S. I love you (Mille Plateaux 2000), Down with the scene (Ipecac 2000)

01.00 AM, Kesselhaus
Jake Mandell
Jake Mandell has been around since the early nineties. His first successful EP "Midwest" on the New York based label "Lucky Kitchen" encouraged him to send a demo tape to the englisch Label "Worm Interface". This was the basis for the album "Parallel Processes". His second album on "Force Inc." called "Quondam Current" is a good example for the modern mimimalism in post-techno that is being constructed with advanced computer skills. When producing tracks, Mandell uses self programmed software with standard applications available on the market in order to put layer upon layer of music. He also sets himself free of pre-set standard sounds and standard solutions. The press describes his music as "intelligent dance music'. In other words: Mandell likes to draw fine details, at the same time combines functional techno with experimental sounds - not to forget his love of ragged up breakbeats like early aphex twin or autechre used to play.

Discography: Parallel Process (Worm Interface 1999), Quondam Current (Force Inc. 2000), Love Songs for Machines (Carpark 2001)

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