By Martin Schray
July 31, 2019, Berlin
When I volunteered to write about this year’s A’larmé! festival again, my colleague Colin joked that it would be the same as ever year: too hot and too loud. Surprisingly however, the first day was nothing like that at all. Even Louis Rastig, the art director of the festival, said that he was glad that the temperatures (20 °C) were moderate this year and that it was even raining. As to the music the 2019 line-up is very promising, a bit more focused than the one last year with its extensive excursion to electronic music, which tended to frighten away the regular free jazz audience. This year’s program looks a bit more like going back to the roots without giving up the main characteristics of diversity and crossing genre boundaries. It’s the seventh festival and as usual it’s combining avant-garde jazz with experimental music and noise, improvised music and performance. As a reference to the neighborhood the festival started at the Säälchen at Holzmarkt, very close to the usual festival venue Radialsystem. And the first day was A’larmé! in a nutshell - experimental drumming, mainstream bar jazz and hiphop/free jazz crossover.
Today the second day of the festival will start very early (6 p.m.) and with Christian Lillinger, Hamid Drake, Tristan Honsinger etc. there are even more famous musicians on the schedule.
I’m looking forward to the next three days.