To celebrate six years of touring and events, Picnic will host one of the most influential and respected figures in the club milieu, Berlin’s Moritz von Oswald, at its birthday party on Saturday March 15. Von Oswald has remained one of the most innovative figures in electronic music since getting his start in the early ’80s as a percussionist for Thomas Felhmann’s new wave band, Palais Schaumbur. If we were to take a Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure-style time travel excursion and return to Berlin when the wall had just been torn down and the Iron Curtain lifted, readers might be disappointed that much of the music of the time and place was decidedly saccharine and naff – call it ‘cheesy’ if you like. But von Oswald helped change this, and was one of the first Europeans to pioneer a form of dance minimalism built upon an exploration of the possibilities of repetition, both as a form of change and a mechanism to allow the music to speak for itself. “I find rest in loops,” a philosophical von Oswald reflected when explaining his musical ethos. “I would extend this even beyond techno music: I also like loops in human relationships. I like the daily business. I like repetition. I accept everydayness.”
Together with Mark Ernestus, von Oswald established a distinct niche in the club realm through his productions as Basic Channel, Maurizio and Rhythm & Sound, which would shape the minimal and dub techno oeuvres, while his early collaborations alongside Juan Atkins on Tresor Records forged the now fabled Berlin-Detroit axis. In recent years von Oswald has ventured well beyond the genres he helped create, remixing the likes of Tony Allen, Ravel and Mussorgsky and forming the Moritz von Oswald Trio alongside Deep Impressions favourite Sasu Ripatti (who also produces under such monikers as Luomo, Usitalo and Vladislav Delay) and renowned experimentalist Max Loderbauer. He also linked up with Norwegian future jazz trumpeter/composer Nils Petter MolvЊr on an album entitled 1/1 that dropped at the end of last year and reunited with Atkins earlier in 2013 on Borderland, an album comprised of an improvised series of long jams that was one of the best releases of the year. “Music is always about development. It’s as easy as that,” von Oswald affirmed when discussing his recording sessions with Atkins. “You pay respect to another musician when you choose to collaborate with him or her. It’s because you’re interested in the way the other person plays their instrument and because you’re curious where the collaboration will lead you. It’s about freedom – the freedom of reaction.” In the nightclub environ, that reaction flows and extends from the performers to the dancefloor. There is no excuse for fans of music of all varieties not to see von Oswald perform at The Burdekin, where he will be supported by a lengthy local lineup headed by Simon Caldwell.
That very same night, IF? Records is hosting a warehouse party across town. Though this may initially appear to be an unfortunate clash with the above event, there’s also the possibility of combining both parties and ending your night with some rollicking techno courtesy of Tresor residents 88uw and Krenzlin. Since its establishment in the late ’80s, Tresor – which linguists will tell you is German for ‘safe’ or ‘vault’ – has remained a staple in Berlin clubbing folklore. A veritable techno dungeon, the club has reopened in several locations across Berlin over the past few decades, and is currently located in a renovated three-level power plant in the Mitte region of the city where DJs like 88uw and Krenzlin throw down dark, booming techno. Tresor’s standing at the zenith of the techno pyramid is reflected in the Tresor Record label’s back catalogue, which includes cuts from techno powerhouses like Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Blake Baxter and Juan Atkins. Uncompromising in both its commitment to techno and quality, you can expect the Tresor resident DJs to deliver the kind of unflinching techno that is rarely heard in clubs in this part of the world. More details are available through the IF? Records Facebook page.
Deep Impressions: electronica manifesto and occasional club brand. Contact through firstname.lastname@example.org