IN pictures: Berlin Atonal


Opening Concert

To open the 2014 edition of Atonal Berlin Festival, they invited down Ensemble Modern, Imaginary Softwoods and Monoton to play exclusive live shows in the cavernous and iconic Kraftwerk Powerplant.

Ensemble Modern opened the concert with Steve Reich's 'Music For 18 Musicians'. Perfect sitting music.

Such a relaxed concert led to some exploration of the deep recesses of the powerplant, where we found some hidden installations by collective Macular and Geso & Peter Kirn.

Next up was a world premier performance from Imaginary Softwood, taking us on an even deeper journey through drone-like soundscapes from analogue machinery. 

Closing the main concert, Monoton went back to his 1982 record Monotonprodukt 07, to produce a unique A/V show, exploring his seminal track into the deep recesses of soundscape.

On the way out home, we passed through the aftershow at OHM to get jiggy to some Reggae from Andreas Reihse.

Day One

Thursday saw the first full day of Atonal, with a seminar from Berlin based art collective NK Projects on Miscommunication Technologies in the control room of the now defunct powerplant. Following this hour of nerding out about social media, we stepped into Atonal 4D with for a much awaited performance from Murcof on the Dutch soundsystem. 

After meandering around 4D for Murcof's performance, following ghostly sounds through the space, it was time to check out the various street food vendors on offer. Amongst the queues of hungry revellers we found Taco Kween, who gave us more than our fill of delicious pork and herb taco's. 

After refuelling, we caught the end of French sound hackers DSCRD pumping beats into the willing crowd.

Following DSCRD, Dalhous brought us some more pleasant sitting music and his new A/V show.

Continuing the experimental threads, Miles Whittaker took the crowd slowly to a more techno driven side, pulling us to our feet for some much awaited beats. 

After Whittaker's performance the crowd was thrown into darkness for some hard, driving techno from Sendai. The powerful rhythms brought the crowd to life, dancing in nothing but light from the nearby fire escapes. 

Closing Day One's concert, Milton Bradley continued the dark techno sounds with his The End Of All Existance side project, exploring deep apocalyptic rhythms.

Atonal Day 2

Day Two of Atonal started a bit later for me as I was intending on catching Pinch and SHXCXCHCXSH at one of the afterparties. After catching a phenomenal ambient performance on 4D from Biosphere durng the day I popped home to grab some food and drinks before heading back to Kraftwerk for Abdulla Rashim who premiered his A/V show alongside artist Böfüms on the main stage.

Stepping up the tempo after Rashim's dark performance, Donato Dozzy & Nuel brought to the table another live show premier in the form of their Aquaplano Sessions.

Closing the Atonal Main Stage, Headless Horseman put on a dark and powerful performance and visuals to match (which was once more a premier A/V show) that brought the inside of the defunct powerstation to life.

Friday night also saw Berlin Atonal take over Tresor, Globus and OHM for a maze of afterparties, spanning house, techno and electro and running through until the early hours of Saturday morning. Following the majority of the crowd, we headed down into Kraftwerks basement to some rhythmic techno from

After our sweaty basement fix, we resurfaced to catch the end of Scion and the beginning of Pinch's sets in Globus. Pinch brought with him some highly energetic electro that was getting everyone moving. 

Before heading home to recover for Saturday's daytime seminar, we made sure to catch much talked about Shxcxchcxsh down in Tresor who was keeping it dark and sweaty.

Atonal Day 3

The beginning of Day 3 saw Electronic Beats hosting the Berlin-Detroit Experiment with a panel discussion around Free Spaces. Somehow, after an interesting film around the gentrification of Detroit, the discussion managed to veer into an arguement about feminisim and the lack of female DJ's.

After heading home for some more much needed rest after Friday night and dinner, I cycled back to Kraftwerk to catch the end of Max Loderbauer and his nice looking light show.

Next up was another world first performance for Atonal, by Bleed Turquoise; a new group made up of James Ginzburg, Emptyset and artist Marcel Weber who brought with them post-punk sounds  mixed with live abstract visuals. 

Following Bleed Turquoise, the elevated dancefloor began to fill to bursting point for the first performance from Cabaret Voltaire in 20 years. With a set that had obvious influences from throught the electronic music spectrum, he managed to get almost everyone dancing. 

Closing the main stage, Fis slowed the pace back down with some more ambient sitting music and an impressive Visual show from artist Jovan Vucinic.

Bikes seemed to be the favoured mode of transport to Atonal, as you can see, fence space was limited and people had to get inventive. 

Closing Concert

Sunday's closing concert saw a varied program of local and world class artists take to the Atonal main stage. Arriving at 8, we started out evening with some more street food from Piri's Chicken Burgers. Probably the best (and messiest) chicken burger I've ever had in my life. 

After fuelling up, we headed into the darkness to catch the end of In Aeternam Vale who put on a mesmerising A/V show.

In Berlin for the first time, Ike Yard followed, giving us a taste of their new album that follows 28 years after their debut (and only other) LP. 

After UF's world premiere show that kept Kraftwerk in the dark, and a beautiful ambient performance from Tim Hecker (also in the dark), Source Direct surprised us all and brought Atonal to life with an energitic performance of full-frontal drum and bass straight from the UK. 

Hopefully this piece does Atonal justice, it would be hard to describe such a spectacular event and monumental space in words alone. I was introduced to loads of amazing music and met some amazing people over the 5 days of the festival and I can't wait to come back to re-live it all next year. 

Jake Davis