“says” that you play when your mind is wandering because every note seems to travel, too. you listened to this record so many times you could have worn it out and when you finally heard it live you understood what it means to be blown away by music. sound. movement. everything. you spent months organising an interview with nils. the work was your chef d’oeuvre, the thing you put your everything into, and when you showed up at his flat the walls were so white. stacks of records. more pianos than you could count. you smoked cigarettes with him and drank coffee and talked about silver apples of the moon. he sat down to play and you literally held your breath. everyone was quiet and the silence lasted a year until he started to play and it felt like fireworks.
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.
who was your childhood hero? was it a singer? a movie star? the president? was it a family member? your teacher? a character from a tv show? whoever it was, it’s likely they didn’t wear a cape. they probably didn’t sport a mask. they couldn’t fly, and they didn’t have super powers. whoever they were, it’s likely they were simply someone ordinary who did something extraordinary.
that’s the kind of message that wunderfrauen, a new art and music collective based in berlin, is trying to send. their crusade is simple: through concerts, art exhibitions, and events, wunderfrauen aims to support women in the arts and media, and to celebrate their work. in short? to introduce the new superheroes.
their first event, WHAT THE FRAU, is taking place tonight (25 november 2015) at the urban spree. featuring a host of female musicians, singers, visual artists, and photographers, the event will be the first of many hoping to bring the wunderfrauen of berlin’s art scene into the spotlight. in between attempting to fly poster the city with wunderfrauen’s mysterious black triangle, i caught up with the women behind wunderfrauen to talk about the initiative. starting with the same question (who was your childhood hero?), we talked music, media, and the wunderfrauen movement.
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.
akiko kiyama is not your average techno artist. she speaks softly and moves quietly. you’ll rarely find her on the dancefloor. she prefers the studio to the club scene. her music, likewise, is not your average techno endeavor. she never creates with an end result in mind. she favours weird samples and strange sounds. her label, kebko music, releases cassette tapes, not vinyl. but her innate eccentricity is exactly what makes her so capable. born and raised in japan, she shares her time between berlin and tokyo, making music both for her own imprint and for labels like nerv music, lick my deck, and sleep is commercial. during her last visit to berlin, we sat down at a cafe in mitte to talk kebko, musical expression, anti-conceptualism, and the value of weirdness.