Music & clubs

Split the difference

Do punk and experimental classical belong together? Techno and classical? Time to check out Echtzeitmusik. Get acquainted with one of Berlin’s most avant-garde subcultures at Splitter Music Festival on Wabe and Ballhaus Ost Nov 24-27.

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Splitter Music Festival

Ever heard of Echtzeitmusik? Get acquainted with one of Berlin’s most avant-garde subcultures at Splitter Music Festival.

Part social experiment, part performance art, the Echtzeitmusik (“realtime music”) movement emerged in the squats of East Berlin in the early 1990s, combining elements of punk and experimental classical. Over the years, the scene has lent its avant-garde approach to renditions of electronica, noise, free jazz and an array of other genres. In 2010, Clare Cooper, Clayton Thomas and Gregor Hotz set out to revitalise the movement with its very own orchestra, the Splitter Orchester, showcasing its eclectic compositions at a diverse variety of events from Jazzfest to MaerzMusik. This year sees their first ever festival at Wabe and Ballhaus Ost, featuring contemporary orchestras from across the globe.

Each day of the festival, the Splitter Orchester will present itself in a different guise and invite a like-minded orchestra to the stage, starting out with Geneva’s Insub Meta Orchestra on Nov 24. Founded the same year as Splitter, the Swiss group will premiere a composition before joining forces with its Berlin counterpart to improvise (or “sound paint” as the Echtzeit musicians call it) a piece conducted by Sabine Vogel. Friday sees a tribute performance to US poet and essayist Anne Carson by Berlin vocal acrobats Les Femmes Savantes together with composer and singer Margareth Kammerer.

Apart from the Splitter crew celebrating the release of their debut album with a concert, Saturday is all about minimalist post-rock straight from the German capital with The Still taking the stage. The final day will be a lesson in rhythm when Australian Tony Buck gets behind the drums. Together with his band Transmit, he’ll venture forth into the realms of psychedelia and trance; a welcoming send-off after four days of brain-crunching performances.

Splitter Festival Nov 24-27 | Wabe and Ballhaus Ost, see for details