Written and adapted by David Domingo (netaudio.es, Barcelona/Spain)
October 12th is a bank holiday in Spain and last year I didn’t have any better plans other than taking a plane and attending the Netaudio Festival in Berlin. We (netaudio.es) had been invited by the organizers and the idea of spending three days with netaudio friends, meeting new people, listening to a lot of music and enjoying a very creative and collaborative atmosphere, was really very attractive indeed.
The festival was mainly focused on discussing the future of netaudio, the use of Creative Commons licenses and the promotion of the underground music scene. Even if the activities schedule was very tight, I had the chance to meet and talk with interesting people (Don and Raimund from Netaudio Berlin, Andi and Matt from Netaudio London, Moritz from Phlow and Fernando from PublicSpacesLab, among many others), setting up collaborations and projects for the future. This could be enough reason to attend the festival, but it was only a small part of it.
I would like to show you some of the best moments and opinions of those three days in Berlin in the already distant October 2009.
The netaudio fair took place on the main floor of the venue on Friday and Saturday afternoon. It was a good chance for netlabels, platforms and other events to show their projects to many people because the entrance was free for the fair and conferences.
We had a small table for stickers, brochures and showing our catalogue. I think it is expensive and difficult for netlabels to come to a festival to promote their music, so I would suggest, for future festivals, to open the possibility to receive stuff from netlabels around the world and put them in the fair.
Apart from netlabels, there were radios and other platforms like netwaves from Belgium, Notheen from Hungary or Radio Matraca from Latinamerica, who were interested in our project in Spain. I did an interview for their radios, talking about the local netlabel scene and my participation in the festival.
EXPOSITION AND INSTALLATIONS
Surrounding the main floor there was an exposition of posters with texts and images explaining what netaudio is about, its history and information of the most famous netlabels present at the festival: Thinner, Tokyo Dawn Records, 12rec, Pentagonik, etc.
The texts were written in a basic language for the beginners in the world of internet and music, and it was very useful for the people wandering around the venue with no special passion for this free culture.
And next to the fair, we could find a couple of installations: the Burnstation 2.0 (present in many festivals around Europe in the last years) and the project Berlin Wall of Sound: an interactive installation which mapped the current sounds of the former Berlin wall.
In the late afternoon, the representatives of Netaudio London presented their Ping Pong installation, a version of the classical game exchanging the balls and bats with sounds and MIDI controllers. The players should press buttons synchronizing music patterns and sounds, and the one who failed, was eliminated from the game.
It was fun for players and audience, but for me the most interesting thing isn’t the game itself but the concept of collaboration of the players for creating music using technology.
There were several conferences, panels and workshops covering music, technology, distribution, sociology, etc. My German isn’t good enough to follow a complete talk so I had to check which sessions were in English – more or less 30% of them.
I was in Andrew Dubber’s analysis of music as popular culture, which explained how the music industry has transformed the culture for his own benefit and how the people using the internet can reconquer this popular culture again.
Then, I participated in the international panel East meet West: Netaudio as Pioneers, which focused on the different cultures and countries of netlabels and how they integrate in a global netaudio scene.
Some notes of the panel:
- Is the language a real barrier?
- We compared the different public funding options in each country: there are big differences. Netlabels are all equal in the online domain, but not at all in the ‘offline’ world because of the cost of culture, space, fundings, etc.
- Why is the netaudio movement based in Europe? Only a few netlabels are located in USA, Japan, China, etc. I think it has the same background and reasons as the demoscene.
- One of the members of the band Tracing Arcs asked the netlabel directors of the panel if they encouraged their artists to include their country/region/background culture in their music and the answer of all of them was a clear ‘NO’ for two reasons: Artists are free to do their music based on their influences and own style, and the culture shouldn’t be over-protected because netlabels operates in a global internet scope, a place without geographical or political borders.
The main part of the festival was obviously the concerts and DJ sets. More than 100 artists in three days can be a problem but everything was very well produced and organized.
I knew many names from the line-up but I hoped to discover lot of new music and artists and so I did!
For example, I listened to the performance of Tracing Arcs, a triphop band from UK which has releases on some netlabels. I liked a lot the female voice, music and arrangements. And an interesting thing: they are in their 50s and they have decided to release free music with Creative Commons licenses.
Another good live set was performed by the Zengineers from the netlabel iD.EOLOGY who played powerful drum’n'bass and dubstep. I was amazed because one of them was playing a kettledrum synchronized with the beat (at very high speed).
Finally, I would like to mention Comfort Fit, one of the big names in the lineup and a good example of releasing free music, being very professional and having a name in the electronic music scene. He performed a really good live set and the people who filled the room completely surrendered to him.
I got in contact with netaudio for the first time thanks to the netlabel Tokyo Dawn Records, and lot of years after that, I could enjoy one of their musicians live, at last!
When I remember the festival, lots of nice moments come to mind, but if I have to choose only one, I’ll take when Mo djed the song Plastic and Flashing Lights from Professor Kliq (rec72) in that crowded room, and I felt the real atmosphere of the netaudio movement in my body. And I want to feel it again soon, so see you at Netaudio London 2011! And congratulations to the team of Netaudio Berlin for such great festival!
Netaudio Festival Berlin 2009: My personal highlights von David Domingo steht unter einer Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Lizenz.