A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
April 2021
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Day Three – It is a curious world



Most of day three day-time I spent writing up the programme for Counterflows and trying to get online. Imagine, Berlin, one of the most modern cities on the planet and here I am struggling, as we all do everywhere, to get Wifi at the hotel… it is a sign. You don’t need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows. Once that was over and the work was done I wandered out to take a look at the Jewish Museum. This is an amazing building, very moving in its stark modernist way. I didn’t go in I will do that today, day four.

So it all gets very curious. I went next to see the CTM exhibition set up in Kunstquartier Bethanien before the concert in studio 1 of Gregorian Chants. There is a new language:The language of contemporary art. Some words and expressions from this new language: acoustic alarm response, inter-brain synchronisation, tactile disturbances etc, etc. I remember when I first stepped into record stores and being puzzled by the different categories. We invent language to explain but sometimes we invent to disguise. Art is developing strange pseudo-scientific language to do what? Make it acceptable to academics, maybe?

Anyway, the exhibition collected individual work by a collection of artists. Anita Ackerman’s darkened room with a reflective object dangling was very pretty when illuminated by the torches that were given out. Another dark room had a lovely glass container in the wall with fluid in where what seemed like smoke drifted through, again pretty, especially the colours. A short film of telegraph poles in a stark landscape which glowed with intense colour had a voice led soundtrack which didn’t really work with the film for me. The exhibition was well thought out and it work in the amazing building. On to the music, Legor Reznikoff is a specialist in early Christian chant and the Studio1 space was a great place to hear his voice. Oddly we had to have the lights on for the first song to enable the film crew to do their thing. What would those early singers have made of that? Lights out candles burning and off we went with the lovely acoustic sound of the voice. Day three then took me to the infamous Berghain. And what a place it was. The most famous night club in the world (well maybe).

So from Gregorian chants to security checks. Welcome to the modern world. Just managed to catch Klara Lewis’ set which sounded great but then again the sound system in this grand space was unbelievable. Thousands were in on a Wednesday night. Lawrence English was up next and I’m afraid the Stars in your Eyes lighting just made me laugh. His set was mighty powerful. Layers and layers of digital noise droning out of the sytem. The quiet patches really worked well in the space too and help the dynamics of his set. I didn’t hang around for Alec Empire. I had to get back to see if my online digital world had improved any. But Berghain is a must see!