Carl Craig and his Synthesizer Ensemble hit the Funkhaus Berlin
On April 5th, Carl Craig came to Berlin with his Synthesizer Ensemble as part of the Funkhaus Sessions series, and I went to check it out for you.
Let's start with the impressive location. The Funkhaus Berlin is situated in the district of Treptow-Köpenick overlooking the river Spree in Berlin's East. Built in the 1950s on the remainings of an old plywood factory, it served as the radio-broadcasting headquarters of the former GDR from 1956 until the reunification of Germany in 1990.
The vast red brick complex was the joined effort of architects and sound engineers to create a world-class broadcasting campus and its construction and acoustically perfect interiour are considered state-of-the-art until today.
Nowadays, the internationally renowned venue functions as concert hall and event space, and houses various recording studios where symphony orchestras, choirs, chamber and jazz ensembles, pop music and radio plays from around the world are being recorded. (Depeche Mode, Sting, A-ha and the Black Eyed Peas have recorded albums here, just to name a few.) The landmarked Funkhaus also regularly hosts large-scale club events, live performances and installations.
Carl Craig presents Synthesizer Ensemble
Carl Craig is an American techno producer and dj from Detroit who has been playing and publishing electronic music since the late Eighties. The Synthesizer Ensemble is his latest project and stems from an idea born in 2008 at La Cité de la Musique that has gradually evolved over time.
Its basic concept is to adapt Craig's techno tracks to a symphonic language. In order to achieve this he has relied on the help of Francesco Tristano who has been in charge of orchestrating his music from the beginning.
The first impression you receive when you enter the Funkhaus is of the magnificent open foyer with its twenty meter high ceiling, imperial staircase and beautiful columns and marble floor.
The concert took place in the Großer Aufnahmesaal which is still known as one of the acoustically best recording studios in the world. The performers stand in a 'pit' in the middle of the room, the spectators sit on the stairs that go all the way around. In the back of the room stands a magnificent concert organ from 1957.
Carl Craig's ensemble consisted of four other musicians with synthesizers and one playing the grand piano. They were standing at arms-length from the audience playing a selection of his timeless techno tracks like Desire, Darkness or At Les, breathing fresh life into them playing live on their synths. The closed window-less round room provided a very special calm and almost meditative atmosphere.
It was a beautiful concert that made us look at the famous tracks from a different, calmer angle, since the sounds were deconstructed and put back together in front of us, with Carl Craig providing some personal information on how each track came to be. In the back the slow-moving visuals of a bird's eye view of the city of Detroit, Craig's hometown, added to the relaxing atmosphere.
I definitely recommend the show and absolutely would come back to the beautiful Funkhaus again – watch out for more concert reviews here on Bbop.eu!