Welcome to a state of emergency: A L’ARME! Vol. X+I is a call to disobedience. A signal indicating it is time to face new challenges and leave our routines behind. In times of upheaval, the festival applies the anarchic character of jazz to other fields and genres. The three days at Radialsystem in Berlin will offer an interdisciplinary variety of protagonists, all taking part in an awakening that is centered not only around music, but also around art and performance.
The bridge from improvisation to noise all the way to hip-hop is an integral aspect of Vol. X+I. And Kassa Overall, celebrated as “one of modern jazz music’s most audacious futurists” by Pitchfork, is a perfect example. At Overall’s first performance in Berlin, he will be joined onstage by Tomoki Sanders, among others, who will be playing a saxophone that they inherited from their father, Pharoah Sanders. An artist who is equally at home in the worlds of jazz and hip-hop, Lukas Koenig, the initiator behind 1 Above Minus Underground, will be performing backed by Elvin Brandhi and Victoria Shen – two luminaries of noise music – as well as the tireless rap innovator Dälek.
Another highlight of the 11th edition will be the premiere of Joy Guidry's “Radical Acceptance”. Guidry’s sound remains impossible to pin down, somewhere between new music, soundscapes and free jazz – and that is precisely the point. Black, queer, and radical, Guidry smashes stereotypes and expectations. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the album “Radical Acceptance” is “one of the strongest statements that free music has made recently.”
At A L’ARME! Vol. X+I, these recent developments are also tied to historical breakthroughs. A common thread runs from Carl Michael von Hausswolff’s atonality to Thomas Ankersmit’s homage to the Serge Modular synthesizer all the way to the hyper-pop opera of No Plexus, which dismantles cliches about Generation Y. All strong statements that could stand alone, and yet when they are brought into a polyphonic dialogue at A L’ARME!, they become even more impactful. In this way, Vol. X+I remains true to A L’ARME!’s subversive impetus: to challenge, inspire, and open the audience’s eyes and ears.