Six-hour, eight-hour DJ sets? Okay. How about a 24-hour live set? How about not one artist, but six, or thirty-two, or more? Sometimes it’s techno; sometimes it goes ambient. There’s singing, there’s dancing – just no DJing.
That’s the kind of too-much-is-not-enough attitude that has gripped Krautok, a wild 24-hour live jam held together only by a spaghetti mess of cables and a single clock source. (Previously: vintage MPC. This year, something a bit more scientific. More on that in the moment.)
Over the years, the likes of Dasha Rush, Ed DMX, Housemeister, Eric D Clark, Electric Indigo, Khan of Finland, Candie Hank, Bozzwell, and Alexander Kowalski have joined in, among many others. This year the lineup is in the dozens – myself included for my second outing with the group, hopefully avoiding bloodshot eyes.
So, as champions of the live lifestyle, at CDM we take a look at this mysterious ritual, this year falling at Berlin’s about:blank starting Friday evening the 6th of June, just in time for the Pfingsten holiday weekend.
And we have some sounds to share, as well.
Co-founder Benjamin Weiss (aka NERK, and part of Toktok) explains, to the extent you can explain this sort of thing:
Krautok started out as a one-off project in 1995 by Toktok together with Robotnik -six people playing live for 24 hours at Frisör (which was around the corner from Elektro, E-Werk, the first WMF and the original Tresor). We kind of picked up the idea of playing long live-sets from the Spiral Tribe collective and felt like it was something totally different from listening to a DJ playing records. In 2006, we revived the idea again, but decided on inviting our friends and other artists as well and ever since then we have tried to do Krautok every year (with the only omission being 2013). Over the years we have established a nice base of artists who are regulars at Krautok with some new ones joining every year.
Technically the whole setup is quite easy: a bunch of mixers connected and a Master Midi Clock. We used to use an old MPC 4000 as a Master MIDI Clock, but this time around it will be the MIDI Clock by Rest & Maier.
That ERM Midiclock is a wonder, by the way – and so now it gets a beautiful torture test.
For those of you who have been suffering clock headaches, it’s worth a look.
But what does this all sound like, exactly? Much of it hasn’t been entirely documented, but some extended sets are preserved for posterity. That includes several from Daniel Troberg, aka erase – also known as the CEO of Elektron. Yeah, it’s that kind of nerdy party, where things get harder and nerdier and more sci-fi-dystopian than in Elektron’s marketing films, and the guy who built the machine … drum … shows up with his machine.
Three sets for you from Mr. Troberg, so light some candles, and enjoy a chilled out date night.
In a very different groove, American-born disco/house legend Eric D. Clark is a regular on the mic. In this set, we get Mia live from 2008:
This year, Dr. Nicolas Bougaïeff – really, he has a doctorate in techno, as he’s explained before on CDM – joins the lineup. Here he is jamming in 2011; very curious to see what he’ll be up to this year. He promises “no auxes for me, i’ll be playing minimoog stone cold, no fx, straight up, dry as f***.”
LADA — aka Dasha Rush & Lars Hemmerling — are back this year, as well. Here they are doing the live thing in Moscow:
And many others.
And with info on this and years past, the Krautok site: