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"information wants to be free" festival (berlin, december 2003)
posted on 17-Jan-2004 by anton

day 2

we were running late, but it still was a while before detritus started. it was most painful to witness what has been done to his material by the poor sound. I would imagine that his music works best in a setting where it fills the space and people are moving, but this time around when it did not sound tedious, it was way too toned-down to have any kind of a "groove" present. he made a considerable progress with his last release, and it was unfortunate that he was not able to present it properly.

mago, another ad noiseam entry, had similar sound problems that considerably reduced the softness and reflective nature of their music. potentially it could have been a very moving pop interlude, with just the right amount of industrial grittiness, but regrettably a lot of times it sounded too hollowed-out. at any rate, it was a welcome addition to the roster and their professionalism still allowed them to pull off a few impressive tracks. plus an addition of their own visuals was a pleasant surprise.

recognizable shape of doepfer a100 accompanied by its owner manu of xabec occupied the stage next. he started out with strong straightforward beats off his recent "pulses" 7", and gradually moved to a heavy wall of warm organic noise, filled with crackling, grinding noises that he produced right on the spot with an assortment of rocks and metal tools. in addition, he used a theremin-like device plugged into the doepfer board that responded to the movements of his hand, producing modulated analog noises. with his ongoing "electric mandala" series xabec is the most interesting act on hands records, and his work with sound in general adds to his material a whole another dimension.

the feathered attempt (those that were there would understand) at performance art by 2nd gen and alice kemp and uniform was embarrassingly dull; musically they have fully confirmed their title as "the-worst-album-of-the-year-i-paid-money-for". perhaps it is one of the best examples of "some ideas, real bad execution, real good niche marketing" and should be left alone as a puzzling phenomenon.

the following three acts (not an intended order, but a mistake on the part of the stage crew that worked out for the best) delivered one of the best concert experiences in many years. they have created that truly "industrial" atmosphere, firmly planted in the ideological and experimental roots of the genre, the roots that so many modern musicians lack, going for the superficial sound and shallow emotions.

silk saw duo - truly a "difficult" but rewarding listening - slowly building organic sound, a rocking mass of rhythms, with gabriel sampling the noises in real time and then processing them and adding the result into the mix. the crowd was literally weighted down by the sound, a hypnotic slowly building groove with wicked outlandish flavor.

telepherique trio was next - rene, klaus and danijela with several tables of equipment. they started out with slabs of industrial beats and gloomy atmospheres reminiscent of their earlier solo albums; slowly transitioned to increasingly "open" sound - very much in the vein of their split with contagious orgasm with its soft analog feel. it probably was one of the most impressive sets of the whole weekend, effortlessly changing moods and styles, always remaining thoroughly composed and supported with very appropriate visuals. their set was a kind of experience I have hoped for - a cinematic listening composition, complex and thought-provoking.

vromb completed this "classic" showcase with his special 10-year anniversary performance. as usual, hugo has not failed his audience - plunging into his tried-and-true industrial rhythms, creating a trance-like experience. he was fully getting into the spirit of the performance, twisting and squeezing the sound out of his equipment. the encore was inevitable, with people practically pushing him back on stage. this was the ultimate way to end the best day of the festival.

xanopticon finished the evening, but I could not warm up to his set that only seemed to attract spastic kids from the other room. compared to his latest on hymen, ryan's material sounded too tedious, and repetitive, lacking even those connecting bits of melody and feeling that were present on the album (although I am perfectly content with blaming the sound guys for that).

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related links
iwtbf'03 photo gallery
iwtbf website

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