How to put the city into the (human) ear? That’s how the musical soirée by both, the Berlin-based label Human Ear Music and Hamburg-based Dekorder at the Rote Salon in Berlin’s Volksbühne could have been called.

Though it wouldn’t be cities of the global north only. The artists would, amongst other, send you through industrial surroundings that have left and still are about to leave the cities of the northern hemisphere. They made sound all objects what would belong to the everyday environment of the worker in the production sphere, factory buildings, clocks, machines, chattering. It goes without saying that the event was taking place within Volksbühne.

More familiar to a Berlin-Mitte-based human ear then sounded the laughter, the mumbling, the swimming pool, the singing birds in the parks, the children that would also come through the darkened room of the Rote Salon. The artists would give them all the time needed to appear and disappear. By acoustically reminiscing broken machines, music boxes, churches, forests, meadows and steam boats entering a harbor they would keep your imagination busy. And the sounds would come in such diverse forms as that of a narrative, of a sound collage, then of a melody, of brutish noise and what have you.

Sounds from all over the place

If there is a discipline or genre invented within that kind of music it could be termed an engineer’s music rather than sound engineering. Though it might be an engineer with a different understanding of what working on process optimization amounts to. This kind of engineering means transforming nature into sound and music only. It consists of building a fictitious machine called the ‘human ear’ or a ‘Dekorder’. In this respect the names of both labels perfectly make sense and the label night could be said to have paid tribute to both their own names.

The first to perform that night was Hamburg-based artist Marc Richter as BLACK TO COMM. Richter has released on an assemblage of labels and himself runs his own named Dekorder. He musically evoked huge spaces and factory halls that are familiar from danceable techno tunes. Here they came without the beat that would have otherwise moved everyone out of the comfortable chairs and sofas of the Rote Salon. In this regard the location was carefully chosen, the red living room furniture would make it easy to relax anything else apart from your auditory perception.

Addressed to the ear

Afterwards JASON GRIER , the head of Human Ear Music himself, had his live performance. GRIER is managing the label Human Ear Music which he founded 2006 in Los Angeles, whereas he now lives in Berlin. On his own label among others he hosts artists as JULIA HOLTER and ARIEL PINK but also released his own LP Unbekannte in 2013. His own performance would extend as an auditory landscape throughout the room, assembling humans and machines, organic rhythms and mechanic movements.

EKKEHARD EHLERS, who releases on Human Ear Music too, gave an on/off performance partly consisting of playing otherwise exotic records and sound material that ranged from dances in the meadow to visiting Arab markets.

Not very often one happens to lend that much attention to what – be it in an ordered fashion or not – addresses your ear. And so it was maybe there where the strength of that night laid, in putting the focus on your capacity, and in particular its capaciousness, to listen.

Written by Hanna Fiegenbaum

Human Ear Music – Official Page

Dekorder – Official Page