Activity Center – Michael Renkel / Burkhard Beins

Activity Center - Sanatorium dźwięku 2015 / fot. Marcin Polak
Activity Center – Sanatorium dźwięku 2015 / fot. Marcin Polak

Michael Renkel – strings and percussion

Burkhard Beins – percussion and strings

“Beins and Renkel create spontaneous compositional structures, by finding musicality in non-musical sounds… there’s a beguiling opposition between tone and noise… The result is an intensely musical improvised sound art, by players uncannily gifted in exact choice and fine replacement of sounds.”
Andy Hamilton, The Wire

“Beins and Renkel’s fractured instrumentation … rock out to a scattered beat of madness, joy and sheer bedlam”
Edwin Pouncy, The Wire

Activity Center was founded in 1989 when post-war Germany stumbled into a new era and post-punk finally felt worn out. Renkel and Beins played their first concert in the legendary Hannover underground club ‘Silke Arp bricht’, and their second one as part of a Guenter Christmann ‘Vario’ project. After the duo had been the core of the ‘Hamburger Salon’ for a while it re-established itself within the freshly evolving Berlin Echtzeitmusik scene around 1995. Their Berlin version of the ‘2:13 Club’ at ‘Vollrads Tonsaal’ became a central meeting point of the so-called ‘Berlin Reductionism’ and its like-minded companions from London throughout the late 1990’s – at a time when this musical episode didn’t have any names yet. Activity Center gained some recognition for playing its idiosyncratic version of it and consequently became one of the original ingredients of the renown Berlin septet Phosphor at the turn of the millennium and throughout the decade of the group’s existence.

Over the course of 25 years Activity Center has developed a unique style of musical performance. Their long sold out double-CD ‘Möwen & Moos’ (1999) has been regarded as a milestone of its genre, while they have managed to build bridges between generations and styles with their CD ‘Activity Center & Phil Minton’ in 2005. With ‘Lohn & Brot’, their most recent release from 2010, they have summed up their wide range of musical experience with electro-acoustic grit.