The Berlin concert series will carry on in 2017. Critics have praised Kontraklang for the curatorial depth of its programming, as well as for its unconventional and refreshing approach to the complexity and multifaceted nature of contemporary music. This praise is rooted in the series’ proof that contemporary music need not be academic, but can instead be sensuous, humorous, and exciting.
A two-day festival entitled TACTILE PATHS will open the 2017 concert season. The event revolves around the topic of notation for improvisers, featuring performances of new and experimental music and a panel discussion with artists reflecting on the festival theme. Tactile Paths brings together a broad spectrum of international composers, improvisers, dancers, and filmmakers working at the colorful and mysterious nexus of notation and improvisation.
Free improvisation, particularly in groups, brings musicians often into complex situations. They must simultaneously analyze, react to, and initiate a musical development. They must constantly make numerous decisions directly in the medium of music-making, without the opportunity to discuss and debate with their fellow musicians. Notation for improvisers helps them to focus, recontextualize, and transform these demands.
With the piece Adapt/Oppose, Burkhard Beins gives us a prime example of notation for improvisers. The score – here adapted for three musicians and three dancers – includes but a handful of simple symbols: circles, horizontal lines, wavy and dotted line. These define spaces for musical group interaction, forming a kind of landscape that the performers move through.
The Den Haag-based English sound artist Justin Bennett pursues an unusual approach to graphic notation with his score-film (not to be confused with “film score”) Blueprint. This piece will be projected on a large screen and performed by the Amstersdam sextet MAZE. Another completely different form of graphic notation is the piece Borromean Rings by Robin Hayward, for microtonal tuba and contrabass. The score, written for the duo Reidemeister Move (Robin Hayward, microtonal tuba, and Christopher Williams, contrabass), consists of two circular staves and a set of rules, reminiscent of a complex board game. This concert is also the release party of the recording of the same piece on the Berlin label Corvo Records.
Jitterbug, originally written by the New Zealand-born composer Annea Lockwood for the Merce Cunningham dance company, will also be performed by MAZE. Another piece by Lockwood, Duende, will be performed by the New York-based singer Tom Buckner. To end the festival, the Belgian percussionist and composer Els Vandeweyer will guide a group of young musicians taking part in a workshop with her to perform her impressive 20-meter long textile collage entitled Landscape.
Tactile Paths Festival
Saturday and Sunday, 07-8th January 2017
Heimathafen Neukölln | Karl-Marx-Straße 141 | 12043 Berlin-Neukölln