apparat’s krieg und frieden – real instruments and handmade live visuals

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Last Saturday I went to Centraltheater to see Apparat playing their soundtrack for the stage play Krieg und Frieden by Leo Tolstoy. I unfortunately have missed the play last year, so I was all happy about to see at least the concert. Plus, I was really excited to see the modification of the auditorium and stage from a regular one to an arena, what they did for the Leipziger Festspiele, a period of special stage plays and concerts.

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I didn’t read about the installation before or was looking at pictures, because I like to be surprised and get the whole first impression. So when I entered the room I was really overwhelmed by a white and clean surrounding. I liked the kind of room in room concept and the idea of watching the band playing from above and with that to be able to see it all. And somehow that contemporary construction reminded me of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Which is a cool association I think.

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As for the music: I also wasn’t prepared. I know Apparat’s music since a long time and like their album Walls a lot (especially the song Hailing from the edge), but I did not listen to this Krieg und Frieden album before. I mean, not to the full length album (you can have a taste of it here). Because sometimes I like to keep the impression of a good concert with starting to listen to the album after the show.

I do listen to different genres of music all the time, but I like electronic music a lot. Actually, I don’t care about, if it’s made with a computer program only, or if the artist plays a real instrument (which of course is a great talent). I care about the sound and the music itself. But sometimes it’s kind of boring to watch a single man behind a little desk. So I really enjoyed Apparat’s show with real instruments like drums, cello or piano, affected and distorted by noise machines. In addition, Sascha Ring’s clear and calm voice was very awesome.

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But not only the music was handmade. There were also two artists making the visuals live. And that was kind of imposing. They had this little scanner-like light table and threw something like soil or paper cuts on it and then cleared it along to the rhythm of the music (you can see them on the left side of the picture above). All of this action was projected to the big screen. That was kind of cool and diversified.

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So I need to say, that concert was a great idea to get tickets for (and the two shows at Centraltheater were sold out). With the installation, the possibility of sitting above, the music and the visuals it was kind of perfect to me. And the audience liked it as well, ’cause they gave standing ovations.

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This probably was the last great concert I have seen at Centraltheater. I have seen so many good shows there in the last five years and I am glad they happened in LEipzig. I am not sure, if bands like Apparat would have found an equal venue around here.

I really liked any of the unconventional ideas that current director Sebastian Hartmann realized. I remember one night when I went there to see the concert of Byetone (Raster Noton). It was supposed to happen on the stage behind the stage. So the guests were leaded behind the curtain to the stage and remained to be quiet, ’cause the play was still in progress. And then suddenly the curtain was opened and all the concert guests were standing on the stage behind a group of freezed artists and facing an audience of some hundred people. Oh well, I was so nervous and excited at the same time. What was I supposed to do? Would we be integrated into the play? What a thrill! ;-)

Unfortunately Sebastian Hartmann is leaving this year. So finger’s crossed for another imaginative director…

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