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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

echtzeit@30: Q&A with Annette Krebs

Annette Krebs. (c) Cristina Marx/Photomusix

Explore Annette Krebs’ site here . Recent releases include Konstruktion#1 & 2 | Sah and Konstruktion#4 .

FJB: What is echtzeitmusik to you? Is what might be considered echtzeitmusik connected through any approach, process, or sound result?

Annette Krebs: I think that the term Echtzeitmusik, although it has established in recent years as a style, is still in transformation - at least I hope so.

Originally, we used the term Echtzeitmusik to describe a music genre whose protagonists have diverse backgrounds in music and art, for example, from the classical, jazz, punk or other music genres, or who have studied art and make their art musically audible. Echtzeitmusik is definitely characterized by the combination of various improvised and composed music techniques. It has a lot to do with sound research, adventurousness and musical interest in equal, non-hierarchical (p.e. decoratively arranged) connections of noises, sounds and tones.

I speak here of what I associate with real-time music for 20 years, although today the term may have changed or moved away from some of what I define here.

Is there something material - like demographics, affordability, or cultural practices - about Berlin that you think makes such a scene possible?

For a long time, it was easy to move to Berlin because the prices of apartments and the cost of living were not so high. The city had a lot of free spaces in the vacuum between the two systems of East and West. So, many artists and musicians could meet, work together and also find new spaces for music and art easily. Unfortunately, this has changed in recent years, but there is still a great fluctuation, the city is still inspiring because many interesting musicians and artists from all over the world come to play, live and work here.

In what ways do you think the scene has changed since your involvement and what might have caused these changes?

My preferred time was when the scene was not even called like that, when we started to invent our music and when we were still unknown. I liked the freedom, which was also due to this unknownness and the almost complete absence of money involved. We could develop music without compromise, without thinking about marketing or other capitalistic things. Sometimes five people played on a small stage for six people in the audience, and those six people listened very well and critically, but the music was intense, authentic and very thoughtful.

Today I don't know the scene as a whole so much, because it has become very big and diverse, with over a hundred participants. The term Echtzeitmusik is not clearly defined. This is good, but I'm afraid and observe a little bit that there may already be rules on how to perform Echtzeitmusik, and that you could get graded one day in Echtzeitmusik at music academies. Of course, that would be the opposite of the freedom of art.

Personally, I need the retreat into silence, and the intensive work with a few people, to find and elaborate music in a concentrated way. Therefore, I do not know exactly how the scene as a whole has changed.

Are there any recordings, labels, venues, musicians, or other participants you would like to shout out for cultivating the scene, or that you feel are essential to it? And is there a recording of you or your work that you feel is particularly representative of the scene?

I would not like to do that so happily. I don't believe so much in the artistic necessity of defining a scene, but rather in the creativity of many individual people who are then called this scene. All people are important. Therefore I would not like to shut out someone, or a special production as especially representative: everyone can find out for themselves what they find most inspiring. A lot of information and links are collected on the website “”

What could ‘real-time’ mean in the context of echtzeitmusik?

It could mean “instant-composing-performing.”

But it does not necessarily have to. 


- Interview conducted by Keith Prosk