Although this year’s MaerzMusik theme, “Time Wars”, sounds like your generic summer blockbuster title, you’re more likely to need a soft pillow than popcorn. In keeping with the festival’s obsession with durational pieces, some of this year’s performances will be even bigger endurance tests than Batman vs. Superman.
Chief among them is the first-ever live rendition of Terre Thaemlitz’s Soulnessless. Originally released in 2012 as a micro SD card filled with over a day’s worth of music (the bulk of which is taken up by the 30-hour piece “Canto V: Meditation On Wage Labor And The Death Of The Album”), the producer/composer/activist’s “longest album ever” will be performed in full at the Martin-Gropius-Bau with help from UK artist Mark Fell and others (Mar 17, 15:00). To wake you up at the end, Thaemlitz will step behind the decks as her male-pronouned alter ego DJ Sprinkles, repeating one of the Deeparama deep house sets he played at a New York sex workers’ bar in 1990 (Mar 18, 21:00). For those who can’t spare a whole weekend, Thaemlitz will stage two shorter works at the Festspiele: Deproduction (Mar 19, 20:00) together with music ensemble Zeitkratzer, examining the power dynamics of Western patriarchy; and Lovebomb (Mar 21, 20:00), analysing the cultural mechanism behind love.
The festival culminates with another marathon: The Long Now, Maerzmusik’s by-now-traditional 30-hour send-off/sleepover at Kraftwerk. You can sit, stand, wander around, have a snooze or eat overpriced snacks in between long-form improv by Aussie trio The Necks, lots of other live acts and electronics and, you may have guessed it, amplified ceramic water bowls (Mar 24, 19:00).
MaerzMusik’s biggest durational coup might be its relationship with long-overlooked African American minimalist composer and self-proclaimed “gay guerilla” Julius Eastman. First celebrated at last year’s festival with a CTM homage in between, his oeuvre is nowhere near exhausted. Continuing where it left off, this year’s Maerz- Musik will stage multiple Eastman pieces at its opening (Mar 16, 20:00) followed by performances at Silent Green (Mar 24, 16:00; Mar 25, 11:00) and an accompanying exhibition at Savvy Contemporary (Mar 24-May 6).
MaerzMusik Mar 16-25 | Various venues, full programme at berlinerfestspiele.de