While Berliners often get a hard time for their commitment to electronica, no other city has done as much to redefine the narrative about excellence in underground music. Now, for the first time in its history, Berliner Philharmonie will host a two-day programme of purely electronic music: Strom Festival. And though any raver would admittedly get a kick out of rigging a few Funktion-Ones up to buttresses, organiser Stefan Goldmann is striving for more. A longtime champion of the exacting technical and musical standards of electronic music, Goldmann has brought techno to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Kyoto’s Honen-in Temple. At its heart, Strom is a celebration of post-genre electronica. Spread over three distinct spaces, the fest will make use of the main auditorium for seated listening and audiovisual performances; the foyer for dance sets, and the Hermann Wolff Room. The latter will house Ableton co-founder Robert Henke’s light installation, “Phosphorous” for the duration of the festival. Starting Feb 7, at 20:00, Austrian downtempo duo Kruder & Dorfmeister introduces the concept behind the main room: music arranged for its sonic qualities rather than for its danceability to be enjoyed in Berlin’s most finely acoustically tuned venue. Christian Vogel follows – the seminal techno artist continues to push the envelope after three decades – with his audiovisual performance, a digital take on experimental music theatre. Despite this, Strom is also an electronic music festival in the familiar form, and with Berlin’s Don’t DJ and Bulgarian icon KiNK, Friday night’s dancefloor offerings are serious stompers. Day two highlights include sound artist Ryōji Ikeda, who will present his immense electronic art installation to a blacked-out auditorium for total immersion before things come to a head with Nina Kraviz. One of the scene’s brightest stars, the Siberian DJ will absolutely test the structural integrity of Hans Scharoun’s archetypal concert hall with her club-forward sounds. And with at least seven hours of music on both nights, you can expect to be dancing well into the wee hours at this once-in-a-lifetime location.
Strom Festival for Electronic Music | Philharmonie, Tiergarten. Feb 7-8.