biegungen im ausland celebrate on two evenings the 75th birthday of the musician and performer Sven-Åke Johansson – one of the important personalities of free jazz, free improvised music and the Berlin real-time music scene. Born in 1943 in Mariestad (Sweden), he is one of the style-defining drummers of the German free jazz era of the 60s and 70s and pursued from the 80s a largely independent of institutions and groupings artistic career as a music performer, increasingly in the circles of Visual Art and New Music. Among other things, more than fifty record releases, several music theater pieces, radio plays, visual works and a lively touring life are among his oeuvre.
Antoine Prum: Blue for a Moment. A Portrait of Sven-Åke Johansson
Sven-Åke Johansson / Jan Jelinek Duo
Friday’s first shown is the portrait film “Blue for a Moment” by director Antoine Prum, which traces the artistic career of Johansson. At the same time, in “Blue for a Moment”, Prum traces how the spirit of freedom and non-conformism has held and developed in the improvisational scene around Johansson for decades. Several of his projects will be presented and colleagues, companions, musicologists and not least Johansson himself will speak, including Peter Ablinger, Burkhard Beins, Peter Brötzmann, Nicholas Bussmann, Rüdiger Carl, Axel Dörner, Norbert Eisbrenner, Aris Fioretos, Andrea Neumann, Thomas Millroth, Alexander von Schlippenbach. The film was premiered in May 2017 in the packed Cinema Paris on the Kurfürstendamm. In April 2018, the film was screened at the invitation of the Goethe Institute in Beijing and several other Chinese cities. http://ni-vu-ni-connu.net/film/blue-for-a-moment/
After the film, Sven-Åke Johansson plays with electronic musician Jan Jelinek. Jelinek’s work deals with the transformation of sounds and translates source material from pop music into abstract, reduced textures. To avoid traditional musical instruments, he constructs collages of tiny sound fragments from a variety of recording devices. In their duo with Johansson on the combo set and Jelinek on the synthesizer, they move in the field between rhythm and chaos, sampling and real time. The taz emphasized that here come together two musicians inclined towards classic improvisation, in which there are no dichotomies between pop and art. Their record “Puls Plus Pulse” is being released at ni-vu-ni-connu these days.
Sven-Åke Johansson / Rüdiger Carl Duo
Sven-Åke Johansson / Simon James Phillips Duo: “Songs from Elsewhere”
Sven-Åke Johansson: “Polis, Wachs und Pomade”
Saturday evening will open with the duo of Sven-Åke Johansson with the free jazz and improvisation musician Rüdiger Carl, who are together celebrating their 50th stage anniversary this year! They embody lively free jazz history and look back on numerous concerts, record releases and various collaborations. Johansson belonged from the beginning to the Wuppertal scene around Peter Brötzmann, Rüdiger Carl joined two years later. Both of them worked very intensively with visual artists like Martin Kippenberger and devoted themselves intensively to the rediscovery of the folksong and the classical jazz songbook. Their common sense is their serious sense of humor.
A completely new project is Johansson’s collaboration with Australian pianist Simon James Phillips, with whom he presents the Songs from Elsewhere. Johansson’s surrealistic text and vocal art unfolds in its purest form in the duo, conspicuously pianistically accompanied and counteracted by Phillips.
The finale is the chamber piece Polis, Wachs und Pomade for strings, winds and voice, which premiered in 2001 at the Donaueschinger Musiktage. The reissue will be performed by a new ensemble of musicians from Berlin’s Neue Musik- und Echtzeitmusik scene: Liz Allbee and Sabine Ercklentz (trumpets), Hilary Jeffery (trombone), Johnny Chang and Miako Klein (violins), Shasta Ellenbogen (viola) and Hui-chun Lin (cello). For the vocal part the composer and performance artist Frieder Butzmann is invited as a special guest – also a longtime companion of Johansson. Johansson writes about the composition: “Polis, Wachs und Pomade contains, as one reads and hears, the most common vowels and consonants of the language and since the music wants to be a language, in the composition an interplay between vowels (sounding) and consonants (toneless), whereby I have assigned the toneless a larger space than the sounding!”
Supported by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa and Musikfonds / Die Bundesbeauftrage für Kultur und Medien.
biegungen im ausland: SVEN-ÅKE JOHANSSON 70fffive
Friday, 7th & Saturday, 8th December 2018 | Doors 20:30 CET | Starts 21:00 CET
ausland | Lychener Str. 60 | 10437 Berlin
Photo © Udo Siegfriedt