Amplify Berlin – Open call for March—July 2020

Applications are now open! The fives mentors have been offcially announced : Catnapp, Colin Self, Marie Davidson, Yuri Landman and James Young (Darkstar). Hurry up, cause the open call closed on the 15th of december 2019. Good luck y’all! Sign up HERE.

Amplify Berlin is a residency program designed to support emerging Berlin-basedmusicians through mentorships with more established ones in order to facilitate creativedevelopment through guidance, a focused work environment and access to resources.Initiated by ACUD Macht Neu, the program takes place at Kunsthaus ACUD in Berlin-Mittewhich houses a club/concert space, a multidisciplinary discursive/performative space, agallery, a cinema, a theather, Reboot.FM radio station and the headquarters of the CTMFestival, amongst others. It is a vibrant creative, artistic community which has remained atthis location for over 25 years. In 2017, the club, studio and gallery spaces alone hostedover 200 events.

Picture by Oscar Rudi
Picture by Oscar Rudi

Introducing the mentors for the fourth semester of Amplify Berlin

March 2020
Mentor: Catnapp

Catnapp is the guise of Argentinian artist Amparo Battaglia. She combines R&B, rap,breakbeat, pop, drum and bass and other genres resulting in an intense and nostalgicatmosphere with heavy beats. In her lyrics she speaks about love, anger and hate, butalso about fear, darkness and nightmarish memories. Her music can go from the simplest4/4 beat to broken experimental percussionwith deep, huge pads and synths, resulting ina unique and original sound. Now based inBerlin , Catnapp is originally from BuenosAires, Argentina. Having started in 2010,Catnapp continuously mutates andevolves. After (in 2017) founding her ownlabel ‘NAPP Records’, she released the EPs“Fear” and “No Cover” in 2018on Monkeytown, followed (in 2019) by thealbum “BREAK”, including the collaborationwith Modeselektor for “The Mover”.

April 2020
Mentor: Colin Self

Colin Self is an artist, composer andchoreographer based in New York andBerlin. He creates music and performancepieces designed to expand consciousness,trouble binaries and play with the boundariesof perception. Self works with a broad rangeof communities using voices, bodies,and computers as tools to interface withbiological and technological software. Fromhis early years experiencing Riot Grrrl showsaround his childhood home of Oregon, to hisinvolvement with Brooklyn’s avantperformancecollective Chez Deep, Self’swork reimagines “Do-It-Yourself” as “Do-It-Together.” He recently released the albumSiblings, the final installment of his careerspanning,six-part opera, Elation. The seriesis about queer family and global transfiguration and covers disciplines including sculpture,video, recording and performance. In his practice, Self works across media with manycollaborators. He has made music for various choreographers, including a score withMiguel Gutierrez for Jen Rosenblit and Simone Aughterlony’s Everything Fits in the Room.He works closely with Holly Herndon (4AD) and since 2015 has performed as one third ofthe Holly Herndon trio. He has also served as the vocalist for electronic duo AmnesiaScanner (PAN) and runs XOIR – an international non-utilitarian vocal workshop focused onalternative modalities of group singing.

May 2020
Mentor: Marie Davidson

Cool and with a touch of classic Frenchchanson, Marie Davidson’s heavy-liddedcoldwave, synthpop and EBM hasmade her one of the year’s most talkedabouttalents. Trained in classical violin,the French-Canadian artist fell hard foranalogue electronic music in high school,dropping out to become a fixture onMontreal’s thriving undergroundmusic scene. Davidson’s longest runningproject, the duo Essaie Pas, channels thenoirish glamour and woozymechanical groove of ’80s-erasynthpop. In 2012, Davidson also beganrecording under her own name, eschewinglaptops and software in favour of a raftof analogue gear—synthesizers, drummachines, portable recorders, pedals. The resulting tracks, which layered Frenchand English spoken word over spartan but muscular grooves, were collected onto a pair ofEPs released via indie labels Holodeck and Weyrd Son—Perte D’Identité, in 2014, and UnAutre Voyage, in 2015. Her debut full-length, Adieux Au Dancefloor, arrived the followingyear. Imprinted with the DNA of techno, electro, dark Italo disco and synthpop, thealbum was a natural fit for Cititrax. In an interview with The FADER, Davidson revealedthat the Adieux Au Dancefloor was born out of a stint in Berlin and “a fascination for dancemusic and club culture as much as a disgust from it”—an album that spurned thedestructive behaviors of club culture whileplaying into its fetish for analogue sleaze. In2018, she released her follow-up, WorkingClass Woman, on Ninja Tune and in 2019,announced her official departure from clubmusic, with fans waiting to find out what shewill do next.

June 2020
Mentor: James Young (Darkstar)

Since their early dancefloor 12”s onHyperdub from 2008 and through two vocalledalbums in 2010 (‘North’) and 2013 (‘NewsFrom Nowhere’), Darkstar have been aninfluential force in the UK’s electronic scene.Following collaborations with the likes of Actress, Wild Beasts and Zomby theyreleased their third album ‘Foam Island’, to critical acclaim in 2015 on Warp Records.It was a hugely ambitious record, buzzing with the energy and excitement of all thepossibilities currently inherent in electronic music. Yet it was also one that wasshaped by the prevailing social and political climate at that point in time. The bandundertook a three-month project of documenting this by talking to and interviewing localyoung people in Huddersfield, in the North of England. The lyrics and the sound palette for'Foam Island' were shaped by the people and emotions they encountered there,and – alongside photography included in the album’s physical release – the band’srecordings of interviewees’ speech were compellingly woven into the tracks.Darkstar have continued their dedication to collaboration – releasing music withEmpress Of (XL) and Gaika (Warp), collaborating with director Lucy Luscombe andRandom Acts for Channel 4, working on ground-breaking live dance performanceswith choreographer Holly Blakey (Micah Levi) and scoring the Palm d’Or nominatedshort film ‘Dreamlands’ Darkstar worked with Director Cieron Magat to create a film andlive score entitled SAFE’. ‘SAFE’ was commissioned for Berlin’s ‘Pop Kultur’ Festival,premiering in the city in August 2017. The film continued Darkstar’s trend of socialdocumentation, presenting an insight into young male identity in modern day Britain.Darkstar were commissioned by PRS to create a piece for New Music Biennial inresponse to 2017 City of Culture, Hull. Entitled ‘Dance Unity’ the piece wasperformed to a capacity Royal Festival Hall alongside the famed organist JamesMcVinnie. This collaboration with James McVinnie has since continued and sawDarkstar compose a new works for Organ Reframed festival which they performedwith James McVinnie and London Contemporary Orchestra in 2018 at Union Chapel.Alongside these the band worked with Metal Liverpool, Arts Council England andHarthill Community centre to create an installation and performance piece with teensfrom migrant communities. The final performance, TRACTRACKBED, was performed atthe Barbican in London.

July 2020
Mentor: Yuri Landman

Yuri Landman (1973) is a musicianand an inventor of musicalinstruments. Based on preparedguitar techniques, he built his firstinstrument in 2001 to solve theinaccuracy of instantpreparations. He has buildexperimental for acts such as SonicYouth, dEUS, Melt-Banana, RhysChatham, Ex-Easter Island Head,Half Japanese, Kaki King andothers.Besides performing and inventinginstruments, his main co-activity isgiving instrument building coursesand lectures. Since 2009 he has given over 200 DIY-instrument building workshops inEurope and the US at music festivals, music academies, art academies, concert venuesand art spaces. In 2012 Yuri Landman and Bart Hopkin published Nice Noise, a bookabout string preparations and extended techniques for guitar. In the same year he startedhis band Bismuth with Arnold van de Velde as well as doing solo performances. In 2017 hewas commisioned by the sound art org iii to develop the motorized sound art installationHelicopters.Institutes such as MIM (Phoenix), Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, WORM, Extrapool, Radiona,Matrix, Sonoscopia own collections of his instruments. Articles about his work haveappeared in Pitchfork, The Guardian, CNN, Libération, El País, Frankfurter Algemeine, andmany others.

During each one-month residency period, two emerging artists receive feedback andadvice from their mentor, work (together with their mentor and individually) in a privatemusic studio with a range of equipment and software, develop/practice their live set in theACUD club’s concert space with its professional stage, lighting and PA (with theopportunity to work with the assistance of a sound technician in both), as well as host aradio show on Reboot.FM. They are required to complete at least one track to be sharedonline and at the end of the month, they play the live set they have prepared at ashowcase event at ACUD Club, on a lineup alongside their mentor.Applicants would be committing to a period of one month for their residency. Note thatapplicants should be Berlin-based and no accommodations are provided. Applicants arerequired to commit time to their development in the studio and club spaces at ACUD, inorder to focus on their work and complete the program’s objectives. However, they are notrequired to be available every day of the month.After the program is completed, the past residents will be invited to meet up regularly atevents at ACUD, to continue the ongoing process of artistic development, professionalgrowth and community building.This program has been co-financed by the Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung(EFRE) and Musicboard Berlin. The program has been funded until 2021, with a total of 25mentors and 50 mentees over the three-year period.


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