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PREVIEW: Kosmostage 2015
Stewart Smith , July 13th, 2015 14:31

Stewart Smith previews the upcoming second edition of Berlin's Kosmostage which this year features Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal among its line-up

Curated by the Berlin-based Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Kosmostage is a genre-dissolving festival of ‘universal music’, bringing together jazz, improv, 11th century choral works, contemporary composition and electronic music. The Berlin festival’s second edition takes place from July 17-18 in Radialsystem V, a water treatment plant turned arts venue by the river Spree.

Special guest is Brazilian maverick Hermeto Pascoal, a composer and multi-instrumentalist perhaps best known in the West for his contributions to Miles Davis’s Live Evil, but a remarkable figure in his own right. Emerging in the mid-60s alongside frequent collaborator Airto Moreira, Pascoal helped push Brazilian jazz in new directions, incorporating elements of Brazilian folk, fusion, classical music and the avant-garde. In addition to playing saxophone, flute, accordion, keyboard, melodica and guitar, o Bruxo (the sorcerer) often uses everyday objects in his music (teapots, toys), as well as the human body and the natural world. Música da Lagoa sees Pascoal and his band joyfully blowing bubbles in a lagoon, while Misterios de Corpo is a solo extravaganza of taps aff percussion and body noises. Far from being wacky japes, the results are beguiling and genuinely inventive. It’s hard not to warm to an artist who adds the grunts and squeals of a live pig to the intricate mesh of acoustic guitars, Afro-Brazilian percussion and Magma-esque choral chanting that is Slaves Mass. At Kosmostage, Pascoal will be peforming new arrangements of his work with Andromeda Express Mega Orchestra, vocalist Aline Morena and percussionist Fabio Pascoal.

Other highlights include sets from German-Icelandic contemporary music ensemble Adapter, Burkina Faso’s Layana and the Belgian vibraphonist Els Vandeweyer, who is performing solo and in a duo with saxophonist Johannes Schleiermacher. Based in Berlin, Vandeweyer has brought her innovative style to a range of improv and jazz projects, including Quat, her excellent group with European free jazz legends Fred Van Hove, Paul Lovens and Martin Blume.

The medieval choral music of Oferi Consort appears alongside modern works by Giacinto Scelsi, Charles Ives, John Cage and Ligeti. All this and a closing DJ set by veteran Berlin electronic duo Mouse on Mars. For the full line-up and ticket information, head here.