Report from Munich: Alien Disko 2016

Report from Munich: Alien Disko 2016

Written By:

Jasmina Al-Qaisi


December 13, 2016

1. A spacial set-up

Welcome to Maximilianstraße, München.

An area where the abundance of glam updates passerbys with the latest aesthetics of the biggest fashion enterprise’s shelter in the rich Bavaria of today.

At a gaze, the area of classical, gothic, rococo Old München or the place where Wassily Kandinsky and the rest of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München showed the middle finger to official academic art in the name of modernism.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Because for the evenings of the 2nd and 3rd of December Maximilianstraße represented a strongly political and geopolitical statement and rang the bells of free thinking and collaboration against the parasites of nationalism, racism and discrimination in music. Alien Disko, meine Damen und Herren, in München!

The financial risks push promoters to come up with the same safe line ups that block a lot of great live acts to meet our ears. This year, The Notwist, the ground breakers of German indie, took the initiative of opening this debate on Maximilianstraße, in the Münchener Kammerspiele. And we will take it as a ball in the court of “the scene” since it was completely sold out!

2. The line-up

When an event throws you in the heart of the moment right after you step inside its venue, you know you will be back for the next whistle blow. There was so much spirit in every act, that an over-sensitive on Apfelschorle would have a burnout. And mingling with the latest highly sophisticated-looking crowd of Munich on very highly cosmic music was a show on its own.

Kammerspiele is regularly a hybrid municipal theater, containing several venues very close to each other. During Alien Disko, Kammerspiele was the Space X of music fanatics.

There is a playlist that can only guarantee you a slightly similar feeling of the event. Alien Disko made it very hard for the audience to decide what to attend, but the way the line-up was organized could offer listeners the luxury to check out everything. A little name dropping parade available below:

In Kammer 1 there were: Sacred Paws – a long distance English duo; the legendary Afrofuturist new jazz Sun Ra Arkestra; the hip hop producer Ras G with his Afrikan Space Program feat. the charming MC Eagle Nebula; the energetic poppy Joanna Gruesome band from Wales, the pioneers of their own sound The Notwist; Mark Ernestus’ Berlin techno master with Ndagga Rhythm from Senagal.

Kammer 2: André de Ridder’s musicians collective Stargaze; LeRoy, a Munich local; the unique Brooklyn based Dawn of Midi band, the special jazzy Londoners of the Comet is Coming; Melt Banana experimentalist band from of Japan; the Swiss hyper-pop Hyperculte duo.

Kammer 3: the newly cosmic Carla dal Forno from Berlin; the super underground Japanese band Tenniscoats; the English words explorer from Jam Money duo; delicate composer and performer MimiCof from Japan.

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3. Today’s Sun Ra’s Arkestra

I rush in to the first room in the oldest and magical building of Kammerspiele, an architectural Jugendstihl premiere of Richard Riemerschmid. The atmosphere is absolutely fascinating and the smooth organic lines of the hall were indisputably atavistic. In the audience, there is a performance without phones thrown by a very modest crowd. The members of the Arkestra looked like they were carved in light. Their legendary glowing uniforms are their second skins and the instruments their jewellery. The audience is mostly over my age. I am wondering if anyone in the audience has life changing flash backs from the crazy performance the Arkestra gave in divided Berlin of the 70s. The steep sound was carried “from planet to planet” by the nearly therapeutic vocals. From time to time, not only the majesty of songs but the abrupt spacy interruptions of the electronical instruments were taking part in fascination.

Like Sun Ra from Saturn said, music is the truth. We, from Earth, think music is at least information of incontestable value. And music through the powers of Marshal Allen, the 91 year old legend, the protector of the Arkestra and the Sun Ra commune, brings irreversible joy. A sample of this joy has been recently recorded in Montreal where Marshall, wearing his glittery glasses & Danny Thompson with his golden chapeau gave a lecture for Red Bull Music Academy. Sun Ra Arkestra did not stop traveling the world to deliver outer space music. Still independent, self-sustained and stylish. For Alien Disko, these waves of joy stroke us most when Marshall Allen sang together with the wonder woman Tara Middleton maybe one of the most remarkable versions of the We Travel the Spaceways.

"If we came from nowhere here, why can’t we go somewhere there?", this phrase endowed with such imagery, was the ultimate reminder in Kammerspiele on December 2nd of the political part played by Sun Ra’s gang in the cruel and sexy 60s. These words gave us all passports to free thinking on the sound of what was once called New Music and finally meets its real time.

4. Music at the end of this world

There is a big piano on stage of CLUBZWEI. And its tenant is holding one hand on the keyboards and the other one to the cords of the piano. It looks like love to me, Dawn of Midi sounds like love. The sound holes of the counter bass are taped. Its tenant puts his face on the strings and closes his eyes in the deep dark blue of the lights. There is so much said with so little. The piano, the counter bass and the drums – jazz’s basics give birth to some wordless incantations, puristic electronic music. It starts easy and grows like the initial sound has created new life forms and invested them with fastening and making the sound grow. The effect of their performance is speechless until the rhythm got so spirited that some whistlers felt the urge to explode and wake up the rest of us. There is melody, post melody, noise and the feelings are as cryptic as the sound.

I was reading about this tall guy, Shabaka Hutchings of King Shabaka, showing up with a sax on one of the concerts of a group that used to be called Soccer96. What was once a funk duo, is now sending us to the end of the end of the world, on the way to deep space. Synth player Dan Leavers dances with Shabaka like they would elevate together with the stage. We all burn to the drumming of Max Hallett.

There is little to no contact with the audience because we are talking here of a prophecy of sounds, a monologue of extreme emotions. Time meets the space in space. The lights remind me of an end of the world. The algae coloured light sends me to Herzog’s footage of underwater creatures in Encounters At End Of The World. We are taking survey of our unbelievable moves, watching our bodies diving into the sexy-synthy afrobeat.

Whenever you will stumble upon any of these names I was dropping with joy, lay back and listen. And maybe send Notwist an email and thank them for putting together something so cool. In the name of music, in the name of these wonderful, lucky times that provide these creators with such inspiration, joy and will to play from the heart to the stars.

*photos by Konstantin Behringer
*MORE photos on Facebook

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