Berlin Techno Software/Hardware Explorations

How do aesthetics and technology relate to and influence each other in contemporary music production? We will analyse those aspects based on hardware and software from Berlin, the capital of techno. During the process, you will get the chance to visit world-leading companies as well as small manufacturers which develop tools for special musical phenomena.

Berlin became the center of the worldwide techno scene not only because of its club landscape but also thank the creative economy in which the music technology develops. In a close exchange with DJs and musicians, new tools are being created and programmed constantly to expand the potential of electronic music.

Based on Berlin hardware and software, our workshop explores the current state of music production. We'll sharpen the distinction between analog and digital signal paths, and our understanding of analog-digital hybrids. Furthermore, we'll critically question the diverse aesthetic discourses associated with the certain notions of “analog” and “digital”.

We will undertake excursions to leading music software producers (synthesizers, samplers, digital audio workstations, etc.) and visit small manufacturers who develop hardware for special musical phenomena (e.g., complex sequencers, clock timing).

Based on practical experience, the following questions can be discussed in the course and with external experts: To which extent are music-technological modes of operation are shaped by aesthetic paradigms? How does the interface, in particular, suggests specific musical actions to the users?


Day 1: Distinctive features of Berlin as the center of club culture and music technology.

  • "Sound of Berlin" vs. company-specific music design.
  • Excursion to an emerging music hardware-maker (e.g., KOMA Elektronik).
  • Excursion to a tools manufacturer (e.g., E-RM Erfindungsbüro). Would be especially useful for techno/EDM producers.

Day 2: Distinction between analog and digital (and their hybrids) in both technical and aesthetic terms.

  • Excursion to world-leading producers of music software with dedicated hardware (e.g., Ableton, Native Instruments).

Day 3: Exploring Interfaces

  • The reciprocal relationship between technological functionalities and musical paradigms.
  • Deepening critical discussion.

Kim Feser is a musicologist, sociologist, and philosopher. His research and teaching activity focuses on the relationship between aesthetics and technology in electronic music, new music, and in the frontiers of pop/underground/avant-garde. He gave lectures not only in Germany but also in the USA and Japan (2017) as well as in China (2018).

In 2016–2018, he published texts analyzing the use of synthesizers and sequencers in music. In 2016, following an international conference, he published the volume Techno Studies. Aesthetics and History of Electronic Dance Music (in German; with M. Pasdzierny). Between 2011 and 2017, he was an UdK research assistant in a project initiated by the German Research Foundation at the International Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music. In 2018 and 2019, he’s been teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts as well as at the Free University of Berlin.

Run period:
11.07.2019 – 13.07.2019
Course time:
10. am – 5. am
Application Deadline:

Course fee:
EUR 290

Min. number of participants:
Max. number of participants:

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