Augmenting Sunday’s line-up is the Nordic Flora programme curated by Northern Electronics’ Jonas Rönnberg aka Varg. A diverse catalogue of performers have been assembled by Rönnberg according to his own free-form logic including AnnaMelina, SKY H1, Oli XL, Swan Meat, Matti Bye, Chloe Wise and Ecco2k. The iridescent pieces of the Nordic Flora puzzle come together over three hours starting on Stage Null and ending upstairs on the Main Stage. Also added to the Main Stage programme are Shaun Baron Carvais and Yair Elazar Glotman (presenting his Blessed Initiative project) opening Thursday and Friday nights respectively.
Bookending Mick Harris’ live show on Thursday at Stage Null are JASSS and Nene Hatun. Spanish sound artist and producer JASSS – who prepares her debut LP for release this September – opens the stage with electro-acoustic experimentations honed after years of field recording and soundtracking for film. Turkish-born Nene Hatun, inspired by the writings of Rumi and the interplay between life-giving and destructive powers, premieres a new work entitled “Fountain of Fire” before Blackest Ever Black signing Pessimist closes the stage. Thursday’s opening concert is guided by Argentine-born installation artist, instrument builder and clarinetist Lucio Capace. In appreciation of the legacy of his friend and collaborator Mika Vainio, who died earlier this year, Capace has brought together a trio of instrumentalists to pay tribute to Vainio through assemblages and reconstructions of pieces from his pioneering body of work.
After the festival’s five days culminate in Emptyset’s concluding Main Stage show, Berlin Atonal has arranged a very special comedown performance by ambient master David Morley. Morley arguably reached the high-water mark of the genre starting with the 1992 release of Evolution – the first release on R&S’s famed ambient sublabel Apollo. A storied career in recording studios since the 1970s stands him in good stead for this hardware-heavy set.
The afterparty programme receives a thunderous boost from the addition in Tresor of bona fide UK legend Pinch playing back to back with bona fide German legend Shed for the first time. On the same Friday night, another pair of luminaries join forces, this time in OHM. Pépé Bradock is one of the most elusive figures in dance music. His rare taste unearths his deep interest in jazz and dub, and is expressed in his even rarer public sets. He is joined on the bill by DJ Deep – the Parisian mainstay of house and techno who has been plying his trade at the world’s best parties for over twenty years. Bradock’s eclecticism inspires the entire line-up in OHM that Friday, which moves from the post-punk inspired Sleeparchive side-project Civil Defence Programme to Japanese mutant hip-hop duo The Lefty to Swedish synth-pointillist Sissel Wincent.
The other days’ programmes at OHM, Globus and Tresor are peppered with special live shows and DJ sets including: live shows by Ulwhednar, Scald Rougish, Fjaak, N1L and more plus sets from Moritz von Oswald, Marco Shuttle, LoneLady, Sigha, Simo Cell, Shifted, Inga Mauer, CEM, Violet and Andy Maddocks among others.
It’s now time for Atonal ‘17 to reveal its installation and screening programmes. The festival has commissioned Berlin collective FELD to set-up a monumental scale installation exploring one of the most fundamental principles of attraction between matter. GRAVITY (2017), brings together the conflicting forces of reluctant uplight and downward pull, acceleration and interaction, in a jarring choreography of independent agents struggling against gravity. Irish artist John Gerrard brings X Iaevis (Spacelab) (2017), a live streamed hyper-realistic graphical simulation of an experiment that occurred during the second mission of the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992. The scene, rendered in extreme detail, sees an African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) suspended in zero gravity being pursued by a sterile set of scientific hands. David Spriggs also comes to Berlin to install a new work – Divided Power (2017). Formations of shape and colour are suspended in time and then extended three-dimensionally in space through the use of strata of transparent two-dimensional planes, creating a pseudo Cartesian space. Dutch initiative Macular brings an iteration of their new work Phyllotaxis (2017) to the festival. For the first time in an installative setting, Berlin Atonal has commissioned three kinetic machines to inhabit Kraftwerk’s basement and turn it into a cybernetic system self-controlled through light and sound.
On its site-specific panoramic projection screen, Atonal has commissioned a new work from acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhao Liang. Entitled “On Stage”, the work is a meditative real life, situated on the very borders of time and space. UK duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt (as Semiconductor) present “Earthworks” (a computer generated ‘landscape’ based on seismic data collected from the La Planta quarry in Spain) on the screen, as does Materiel Matano, Mischa Daams and Lukas Marxt. Two separate screening programmes on Friday and Saturday will show tightly curated short films from directors, animators and experimentalists old (Larry Cuba, Julian Antonisz, Robert Breer) and new (Deborah Stratman, Olivia Bock, Rebecca Mendez).
While festival passes are now sold out, individual day/night tickets are available from the Berlin Atonal website, allowing entry for the entire day’s programme (including aftershows).