rrose inhabits a parallel dimension. at least, that’s what she’d have you believe. her music is grounded in the kind of thoughtful electronic elements that make her a perfect fit for lucy’s stroboscopic artefacts label, but at the same time, she is outlandish enough that her transportive 2015 album, never having written a note for percussion (comprised solely of a one-gong percussion piece) made perfect sense. she’s one of electronic music’s more mysterious figures, an artist that flits between not only genres, but between pronouns and perhaps even personalities.
it’s with this in mind that i accept rrose’s offer to meet at a sound bath meditation session hosted by stoboscopic boss, lucy. taking place one a month at the studio sonne in neukölln, it’s almost too fitting a setting for our talk. lucy helms the meditation session, starting out with breathing exercises before the sound bath — accomplished with a 90 cm handcrafted nepalese gong and three different mallets — begins. it’s true what they say about gong baths; it’s mere minutes before things really start to bend. the experience overall is more soul-shaking than i would have thought: once you let go and give in to the sound, you start to understand what rrose means by “parallel dimensions.”
how soon is now? just ask jeff mills. the so-called godfather of a legion of contemporary techno djs and producers, mills aptly brought the future to the present with the formation of underground resistance; a music collective he helmed alongside mad mike banks in 1989. if you want to know how it all started, that’s where you look. in fact, if you want to know what “it” is exactly, that’s who you ask. combining the technology of present with the knowledge of the past and a hope for the future, jeff mills’ version of techno is some of the most important, relevant, and — let’s just say it — magical, around.
there’s something to be said about sundays in berlin. unlike many other cities, there’s never a shortage of things to do on any given sunday in this city, and whether you’re brunching, burning the dancefloor at berghain, or shopping at mauerpark, there’s something strangely special about the way berliners take on what’s usually the week’s sleepiest day. certainly, then, there’s something to be said about lekker collective, a small PR agency that’s bringing a new warmth to your sunday schedule.
there are a number of great festivals around, but none have come as close to perfecting the art of the music festival as unsound has. twelve years in and unsound still has more than a few tricks up its sleeves, including this year’s theme: surprise. a relatively simple one to be sure, but one that managed to astound, delight, and confound in equal measures. the premise was straightforward: organizers announced a select number of this year’s performers, the rest would be discovered as they came on stage and later announced through the festival’s social media channels. while this may come off as gimmicky on paper, it worked remarkably well in practice. but a theme is just a theme and does not a festival make. these are only some of the many reasons why this edition of unsound might have almost achieved perfection.
pop-kultur festival was nothing if not true to its name. taking place at the infamous berghain and its surrounding venues, pop-kultur was a rotating cast of the leading figures in contemporary electronica; a stack on stack of your standard music festival events. all packed into a mere three days of evening and nighttime gigs, the festival gave you exactly what you expected — almost to a fault. here’s why.