Berlin, known for its magnetism that attracts all kinds of creatives and its post-industrial heritage, is the perfect place to celebrate festivals in which more and more experimental music and avant-garde audio-visuals intersect with the mainstream. This is where Berlin Atonal comes in: a festival revived for its fifth consecutive year and by now firmly established on the calendar. As a proof of it, the festival passes are sold out.
Across five different rooms, Atonal will showcase brand new commissions, collaborations, one-off performances, audio-visual — from now on referred as AV — installations and DJ sets. The iconic concrete cathedral-like Main Stage in the massive first floor hosts most of the premieres from 8 pm, while the ground floor is the location for the five-day installations exhibition with its Stage Null taking in the first shows plus screenings —starting at 6.30 pm— to continue its activity after the Main Stage live performances are finished. Most of the DJ sets are programmed for the mini club Ohm that runs in parallel with Main and Null stages. The after hours offer will happen at Globus and Tresor, starting at midnight and running until sunrise.
On the opening night on Wednesday, the festival will introduce an eight-channel spatial acousmatic piece composed by Stockhausen called Oktophonie as part of his monumental opera cycle Licht. Stockhausen stated that the electronic sounds (meant to represent the chaotic sound field of modern warfare) exist in three-dimensional space, with the audience listening inside a “cube of sound”. The festival recreates Stockhausen's octophonic set-up on the Main Stage by his long-time collaborator and director of his Foundation for Music, Kathinka Pasveer.