ICAS Suite Interview with Oliver Baurhenn

From September 5th through the 8th, the second edition of the ICAS Suite is attached to the always-intriguing CTM Festival.

Bringing such fresh soundartists and performers as Mykki Blanco and Nguzunguzu, ICAS Suite plays an important role in Berlin Music Week… but what role is that exactly? And what does ICAS stand for anyway? To find out more, EB Editor-in-Chief Max Dax spoke to CTM organizer Oliver Baurhenn. Photo: Matilde Campodónico


Max Dax: Is the ICAS Suite part of Club Transmediale, or is it a separate entity, a festival in its own right?

Oliver Baurhenn: Actually, I see it more as a co-operation project, or as a small festival of festivals. There are quite a lot of partners from the ICAS Network who are also running their own independent festivals, so we’re all hooking up to make a huge program that’s not based on a single idea of one festival, but consists of approximately 18 ideas from 18 festival organizers.

So basically, it’s an aggregation of ideas?

Exactly. The goal, the ideal situation, is that the sum is greater than the parts. We’re trying to bring our knowledge together, and of course the best of each organization’s local situation and what they like best on an international level.

What I also found remarkable is that the whole thing takes place around Berlin’s Kottbusser Tor, in many bars and spaces close to each other. This is especially interesting for myself, as we had the same idea in 2010 with Spex. We wanted to celebrate the magazine’s 30th birthday in more than one club—in Kottbusser Tor’s West Germany, in La Paloma, the Festsaal and other spaces; we wanted to curate an area rather than a single space. We ended up doing the celebration at Berghain, but originally we wanted to do lectures and concerts and DJ sets and cooking in the Kotbusser Tor area. It’s funny to see how ideas don’t fade away, but are picked up by one individual without knowing about the other.

I think it’s key that these venues are located so closely to each other. It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved, and also for the city. In the ’80s, Kreuzberg was the center of the city, the center of German subculture. Neukölln was supposed to become the next hot spot. Then, with the fall of the Wall Berlin-Mitte suddenly took over that central spot in the middle of the city, and now we are going back to Kreuzberg and small spaces. It’s like a cycle come fully around. Of course, it’s nice to go where the people are, the ones who enjoy the kind of music we are presenting.

London’s The Wire Magazine and Electronic Beats are hosting an evening at Paloma Bar on September 5th, directly after the Pet Shop Boys concert. What’s the idea behind bringing together magazines from different cities?

But you’re one of the DJs spinning records that night! I think it’s an interesting way to meet up on a more joyful level. Electronic Beats is quite important for Germany and abroad, because it’s coming from a perspective that it’s authors and also you have developed out of their history. You also have this Spex background, which means that you’re quite close to the history of German music criticism. The same counts for The Wire, which is of course one of the most amazing magazines about electronic music in the world—or, as they put in the subtitle, adventures in music. I think bringing together two forces that both fancy the style of music that CTM represents is a logical thing to do. This kind of DJing and working together (but not in writing and not in criticism) might pave the way for another level of co-operation and lead to more interesting things than you might expect, on an easier and lower threshold kind of way. Rather than bringing you and, say Chris Bohn together on a stage and delivering a panel discussion. You can present and exchange ideas much better when spinning records.

I agree. It’s more like a sharing thing… you share your interest in music by creating a real club situation.

By providing this good soil, you can put some seeds. Eventually, you have carrots and wonderful white flowers! This is the idea behind the ICAS Suite: presenting sound and music from different corners of the world, curated by different organizations.

… In the bar next door.

We’re also doing a barbecue every day from six pm until nine pm in the backyard of Festsaal Kreuzberg, and this will be a platform to meet and greet artists and other people in a nice environment.

Would you go as far to call it a digital grassroots thing?

Mostly, all of the organizations that are participating are grassroots initiatives. In this sense I think yes, it is a grassroots action.

What does ICAS Suite mean?

It’s the short form for International Cities of Advanced Sound.

I thought it was some form of an abbreviation for Icarus.

Nice one, I’ll have to keep that in mind. Of course we are all trying to fly, and we hope not to burn. You’re quite often hurt and burned with a DIY approach. However, the International Cities of Advanced Sound idea was born out of a project called Networking Tomorrow’s Art For An Unknown Future, as we were searching for a good format where all partners would have an easy opportunity to present themselves in a non-competitive environment, and to foster co-operation. So we started with the ICAS Kitchen. We’re thinking it will grow from the kitchen to the suite… to a city. 

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Berlin Music Week touches down at Tempelhof

Berlin Music Week touches down at Tempelhof We guided you through Berlin Festival, we gave you a heads-up on ICAS Suite and so now we’ll give you a roundup of Berlin Music Week, the merger of international business platforms, musicians, bookers and the live-entertainment industry.

In its second year Berlin Music Week (BMW) will again focus on new developments in music consumption, distribution and marketing as well as building strategic partnerships across the individual segments – which hopefully benefit the individual user in the end. Also, BMW is not a single event, it can be better understood as the entity of all the single events during that week (i.e. ICAS Suite, BMW Clubnacht, Club X-Berg, French Connection, Yellow Lounge, etc).

From September 7-11, Berlin Music Week will take place in many venues around the city of Berlin – in clubs, on the river Spree as well as around Tempelhof Airport, where (besides Berlin Festival) the two platforms Popkomm and all2gethernow Conference are based.

Most of the BMW programme addresses a professional audience – but besides all the business bla one can find interesting panels discussing the future of music and entertainment. Very promising are the workshops during all2gethernow Werkstatt – check out the programme and find your personal favourites. University students can also get themselves a reduced ticket for Popkomm market place and get in touch directly with the movers and shakers of the pro biz. And then there’s the Red Bull Music Academy which is inviting for in-depth panels and concerts at Hansa Studios.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so make sure to have a look at the full programme listing and save some money when choosing just the tickets you need. Last but not least: don’t forget to pick up your free copy of Electronic Beats Magazine at BMW Headquarter at .HBC in Berlin-Mitte.

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ICAS Suite brings club music to Berlin Music Week, you can win festival passes

ICAS Suite brings club music to Berlin Music Week, you can win festival passes Berlin not only sees the fifth edition of Berlin Festival (for which you still can win tickets to) in a couple of days, a whole entertainment and information programme is built alongside the festival. In its second year, Berlin Music Week (BMW) will once again be hosting discussions on new trends in music and entertainment from a fan and professional point of view. Besides this, the festivals ICAS Suite in cooperation with CTM will be covering all aspects of electronic music.

The network ICAS Suite (an acronym of International Cities of Advanced Sound) consists of around 30 independent, non-profit organizations and festival curators from all over the world, focussing on the international development and presentation of diverse musical cultures and arts.

From September 7-10, ICAS Suite makes stop in Berlin for BMW, presenting a number of interesting showcases. Located around Berlin-Kreuzberg’s ‘Kotti’, ICAS invites you to tiny, sweaty bars such as Paloma Bar, Monarch and West Germany or to bigger venues like Festsaal Kreuzberg and new Blumenbar Club (near Moritzplatz).

To name all of the participating artists would be blowing the space – don’t forget to check out the full line-up. Worth mentioning however are the sets of Peter van Hoesen, 2562, Schneider TM, Groove & DE:BUG Magazine dj teams, Jacob Korn and Cuthead, Cosmin TRG, Deadbeat, Ossie, The Mole, Toy Selectah and Kassem Mosse.

Tickets for ICAS Suite are available here as (day) passes from 7 to 30 Euros, you can also merge ICAS Suite with Berlin Music Week Club Night. Or you can win two passes valid for all 4 days of ICAS suite. Simply drop us an email with your full name to win@electronicbeats (Subject: ICAS because you do) until September 2, 5pm (winners will be notified on saturday, September 3 via email).

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The EB guide to Berlin Festival 2011, which you can win 2 tickets to!

The EB guide to Berlin Festival 2011, which you can win 2 tickets to! Festival season is nearly over but the best is yet to come! Early september sees this year’s edition of Berlin Festival take place at the historic innercity airport Tempelhof – spitting distance from Kreuzberg’s club culture and Berlin Music Week. A festival can’t be much more urban than this one – and luckily the artist forecast is delicious, too.

The EB team recommends you watch leftfield heroes LFO, house butches and femmes Hercules And Love Affair, The Rapture with their new album, Apparat Band of course and all of these: DJ Hell, Buraka Som Sistema, Mount Kimbie, James Blake, Rainbow Arabia, Gesaffelstein and Public Enemy!

And, if you’re more into guitar noises check out Wire, Health, Steve Morell and Battles! And then there’s the highly anticipated reunion set of (Absolute) Beginner of course – so make sure to bring your dictionary with you for some ‘hamburgischen Sprechgesang’ from Eimsbush basement. Check out the festival website for the full line-up.

As well as the musical programme you can discover arts and culture with the Art Village, their Design and Record Label market and the mobile disco right on the festival compound. And with Tempelhof’s festival stages closing during the early evening, the musical vibe won’t die though: Club X-Berg and Berlin Music Week Clubnacht offer plenty possibilities to dance away the night.

Last but not least: We’re giving away two 2-day-passes for Berlin Festival 2011 (Sept 9-10) so you can save 160 Euros for you and a friend of yours and spend the money at the bar instead. HERE’S HOW TO WIN:

Share this page with your friends! By email, via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace – whatever suits you best! Then take a screenshot of your shared post (HowTo: WIN/OSX) and send this together with your full name and phone number to win@electronicbeats.net. The competition ends on September 4th, winners will be notified on monday, September 5th. Good luck and see you down-the-line at Berlin Festival 2011!

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