Berlin Atonal 2019. Cutting edge sound, art & performances

berlin atonal_ Helge Mundt
Berlin Atonal 2018 ©️Helge Mundt

Berlin Atonal, the annual festival for avant-garde sound and experimental art returns the last days of August for its seventh iteration. In only five days —from Wednesday, August 28 to Sunday, September 1— the festival presents over a hundred performances and art projects, including the usual intoxicating and stimulating —in varios senses— specially commissioned audio-visual shows and world premieres in sound, video and performance. All events and activities will be held in the oficial venue, the now iconic Kraftwerk in the centre of Berlin.

Berlin Atonal 2017 © Camille-Blake

The gigantic former power plant doors will open to host and witness a myriad of advanced proposals from the contemporary sound and visual art scene. Sometimes sound goes hand in hand with visuals or vice versa, lights, visual effects, smoke and noise will multiply its impact in the immensity of the venue, immersed in a grey cloud, and where time seems to dissolve, at least during these five days.

Berlin Atonal Poster 2018

The Opening Night: Wednesday

The festival open on Wednesday at Stage Null with the installation-performance Nervous System 2020, a work that merge dance, sound, and holographic artworks. Choreographed by Guillaume Marie with music by J. G. Biberkopf, the genre-defying project is created and directed by Marcel Weber. The piece shows Angèle Micaux, Carlès Romero Vidal & Maria Stamenkovic-Herranz performing minimalist motion, mundane gestures, and postures of contemporary lifestyle, in an abstract interpretation. The performance will be on view every afternoon after the screenings program which also happen in the ground floor stage.

Nervous System 2020

The opening night’s programme at Main Stage sees the world premiere of the inspired and surprising new collaboration between Not Waving and legendary singer and songwriter Mark Lanegan aka Dark Mark. Lanegan’s vocals (which have defined the American alternative rock scene for a generation) combine with Not Waving’s rolling range of nuanced electronics. Following on stage Liz Harris under her more solemn, hymnal alias Nivhek joins composer and violist UCC Harlo and Russian electronic auteur Pavel Milyakov.

Berlin Atonal 2018 © Frankie Casillo

On Stage Null that evening, Cult Australian group HTRK also play a rare live show while legendary producer dBridge debuts a new project entitled Black Electric, and underground legendary hero Mixmaster Morris prepares a long form set for the cozy but crowded stage OHM.


During all night, Tresor hosts Lisbon’s queer/trans/feminist sex-positive rave collective Mina focused on new iterations of dance music. Shortly after Mina collective genesis with only three members, it grew into a bigger collective of seven with both upcoming and established DJs, producers and ravers that catalyse alternative experiences in the club scene, while promoting an important debate on clubbing, music and community politics.

Berlin Atonal, Dutch Video Artist 2018 © Cornelia Thonhauser


Thursday’s massive schedule is built around some huge, technically adventurous world premiere audio-visual performances on the Main Stage. Arizona-based house collective Marshstepper team up with celebrated 3D virtual reality artists Sam and Andy Rolfes, Scandinavian noise artist Puce Mary, and classically trained ballet dancer Raymond Pinto for a multi-modal, occasion-specific performance-event called Deceivers of the Moments Presence. The show explores the boundaries between music, performance, dance, digital art and the shock of the unmediated: a dance without music, singing without song, being as an image in a mirror…

Continues new disorientating A/V show entitled Initiation by Melika Ngombe Kolongo —better known as Nkisi— pairing with visual artist Charlie Hope.


Sicilian producer Nino Pedone aka Shapednoise prepares with Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Maia a world-premiere of the audio-visual work Aesthesis. Pedone is who casts sheets of noise, industrial, and hardcore influences to create highly sculptured and colourful sound design and compositions. Maia and his specific interest in the film material and its physical qualities affecting the images, will analyse in his visuals the beauty of the patina and how it fades away, able to capture a time while also ageing as an object.

Berlin Atonal 2018

The programme of Stage Null comprises live show from Ziúr, one of the most exciting producers to come out of the fringes of Berlin club music in the last few years. Creating in the spirit of freedom and experimentation, she channels noise and fury into controlled blasts, combines different sonic textures and brainy beats into a functional dance-floor work intended for loud sound systems and preferably accompanied by a fog machine.

Berlin Atonal 2018 © Frankie Casillo

OHM offers a line-up starting with Chee Shimizu, reinforced with the adds of Bambounou and Buttechno aka Pavel Milyakov, a producer based in Moscow, who creates mutant dance music and psychic soundscapes.


Friday hosts two ambitious new projects from festival favourites: Alessandro Cortini returns to the cavernous Main Hall to present a new project entitled Volume Massimo. Seminal Finnish producer Vladislav Delay performs live for the first time in years to unveil Rakka, a new audio-visual project in cooperation with German artist AGF.

Alessandro Cortini

Shackleton assembles an open-ended musical project encompassing unorthodox time-signatures and an idiosyncratic form of ritualistic-trance-music under the rubric Tunes of Negation. Other highlight is the premiere performance of Mi†ra, a new group uniting Iranian vocalist Hani Mojtahedi and computer musician HATAM. OHM presents a Nosedrip curated programme featuring Jason Kolar, Annelies Monsere, Aponogeton, TRjj and Victor de Roo.

Berlin Atonal 2018 © Cornelia Thonhauser


Saturday’s Main Stage programme host AV show from Félicia Atkinson, who presents in her new work an homage to American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler, a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting, active over six decades (early 1950s until 2011) spanning several generations of abstract painters.

American Painter Helen Frankenthaler

Major highlight of this year is the presence of multi-media and interdisciplinary successful French artist Cyprien Gaillard. Gaillard, who used to lived in Berlin, debuts in the glorious festival with his new video and performance show Ocean II Ocean. Using footage shot in metro stations in the former Soviet Union and archival footage of New York’s MTA subway cars being dumped in the ocean and live instrumentation, the French imprints this work with ideas of cyclical time and the present ecological-geological condition.

“Ocean II Ocean,” Cyprien Gaillard at the Venice Biennial 2019 © Italo Rondinella. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Another assiduous of the festival, Samuel Kerridge who this year presents a collaboration with Taylor Burch of DVA Damas and Daisy Dickinson, world premiere The Other, an album of industrial music with vocal narration by Burch where Kerridge’s aggressive interjections provide a multi-sensory conception of theatre rather than straight-up sensorial trip.

Berlin Atonal 2018. Synths © Paco Neumann

A monumental Stage Null line-up features Amnesia Scanner with an explosive live A/V show, Japanese enigma Yousuke Yukimatsu entering Zone Unknown, and a first b2b set from Instagram handles @skaeliptom2 and

Phantom Love performing at Berlin Atonal 2018 © Frankie Casillo

Sunday: The Grand Closing Night

The grand closing night begins with Sicilian shepherd Alfio Antico before featuring the world debut of five immense projects: rRoxymore presenting Face to Phase; Kali Malone teams up with acclaimed Austrian algorithmic visual artist Rainer Kohlberger to debut a new collaborative work; Soho Rezanejad operatic and multi-layered Crow Without Mouth project; a major new cinematic and performative work from Roly Porter and Marcel Weber (MFO) which travels from folk instrumentation to digital sound-processing, abstract theatre, and cinematic corporeality. Function has been at the forefront of forward-looking electronic music for decades, on Sunday he presents his new project Existenz.

Lucrecia Dalt performing at Berlin Atonal 2018

GrupA performing visuals at Berlin Atonal 2018

Berlin Atonal 2018 © Helge Mundt

Berlin Atonal 2019 | Del 28 de agosto al 1 de septiembre

More info and complete program here.

Text: María Muñoz

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