A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
April 2021
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Day Five – Cruel Narrations



Something new this day of exploration in Berlin. I headed north on the U-Bahn to Friedrichstrasse and jumped off. I decided to walk to the venue for the Transmediale exhibition; Haus Der Kulturen der Welt (Or the House of Fun, as I inanely call it!). Once I get directions from a nice station man the walk along the river passed the Reichstag and assorted spectacular buildings is rather lovely even in the drizzle. I arrived at Transmediale just in time to see part of the Film programme which oddly enough and not planned links very well with some of the reading I’ve been doing recently. Franz Fanon comes to mind especially his chapter in his wonderful book ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ ‘Concerning Violence’ but also Angela Davis’s book ‘Abolition Democracy’. The two films are shown under the heading ‘Cruel Narrations’ and collage media coverage of acts of violence or terrorism. The first film is from the 70s and covers the kidnapping and skyjacking events that happened in then West Germany. Juxtaposed with news footage is odd TV adverts from the time. The second film which is from 2014 looks in a similar way at the incidents in Mumbai. Both films show how, through the media and the language that is used to portray violence, that antagonist and prey are responsible for creating fear. Politicians use the media to tell us that we should not and can not hold views that in some way sympathise with terrorists. We are complicit if we do. The use of the words freedom and democracy are used so often they somehow have no meaning. Enough! After lunch I went round the Transmediale show. More later on that but back to music…

I decided that the HAU2 shows are where I’d spend my time. At last I say! The show this night was the best yet of the festival. Sote is an Iranian electronics dude a funkster with great moves which I always feel helps especially when all you have is a laptop as partner. His robust techno beats bursting all over the space (it is a great space). It turns out these Sub Rosa compilations that I have are paying dividends. Sote (real name Ata Ebtekar) was part of the Persian Electronic Music edition. But the stars of the festival so far were a duo from Indonesia. Rabih Beaini was raving to me the night before about them, although I couldn’t quite put all he was telling me in context. Now it all made sense. Senyana’s music is caught up in so many things not least the traditions of Indonesia but they combine Anthrax metal, Keji Haino, Jimmy Page riffs, Howling Wolf and a whole lot more. Their gentle flute and voice encore took the room into another sphere all together. After the singer mentioned to us that he had seen snow for the first time in Berlin it was fitting to step out into falling white flakes.