How do aesthetics and technology relate to and influence each other in contemporary music production? We will analyze those aspects based on hardware and software produced in 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 specific musical phenomena.
Berlin became the centre of the worldwide techno scene not only because of its club landscape but also thank the creative economy in which music technology develops. In close exchange with DJs and musicians, new tools are being created and constantly programmed to expand the potential of electronic music.
Based on Berlin hardware and software, our workshop explores the current state of music production. We will sharpen the distinction between analog and digital signal paths, and our understanding of analog-digital hybrids. Furthermore, we will critically question the diverse aesthetic discourses associated with certain notions of analogue and digital. We will also undertake excursions to leading music software producers (synthesizers, samplers, digital audio workstations, etc.) and visit small manufacturers who develop hardware for specific musical phenomena (e.g., complex sequencers, clock timing).
Based on practical experience, we will discuss the following questions: To what extent are music-technological modes of operation are shaped by aesthetic paradigms? How does the interface suggest specific musical actions to the users?
DAY 1: Distinctive features of Berlin as the centre of club culture and music technology
DAY 2: Distinction between analogue, digital, and their hybrids in both technical and aesthetic terms
DAY 3: Exploring interfaces
Kim Feser is a musicologist, philosopher, and sociologist, whose research and teaching activities focus on electronic music, new music, and the blurring boundaries of pop and avant-garde. He is particularly interested in the relationship between aesthetic, technological, and social aspects. Kim Feser is the co-editor of Techno Studies (Berlin 2016), a book about the aesthetics and history of electronic dance music. In recent years, he has published texts on the musical use of synthesizers and sequencers and lectured not only in Germany but also in the USA and Japan (2017), as well as in China (2018) and Lebanon (2019). From 2011 to 2017, he was a research assistant at the Berlin University of the Arts. Since 2018, he has been teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Freie Universität.