For the only Re:Coil European Tour date in Germany, Gramatik brought along a proper funk blasting to shake up the Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin's RAW cultural district. On the exact date three years previous, Gramatik visited Berlin’s BiNuu, a cozy venue located under a train station, for his 2014 Leave Your Mark tour. Between these tour visits, it is apparent the signifcant evolution that the Gramatik project has undergone in just three short years.
An almost non-stop international tour schedule with regular music releases, Denis Jašarević aka Gramatik, is building a rebellion for the greater good. By taking the power away from big business in the music industry, Jašarević wields his own grassroots label, Lowtemp Music, helping to provide artists a platform while "freeing music by making music free". Additionally, Gramatik is among the first musicians to tokenize himself with his GRMTK crypto-currency – a direct line of access to support artists. Innovative measures like this along with his personal philosophies reflected in his music are some examples of what sets him apart from his peers.
Aside from his own legacy, Jašarević plants seeds in the world of music by illuminating the careers of current label mates, like Emiljo A.C. and K+Lab, as well as previous bandmates who have gone on to form groups like Exmag and The Russ Liquid Test. Staying dedicated to cultivating an army of musicians and fans, Gramatik earned the largest capacity venue he has visited yet in a multi-cultural city whose abundance of nightlife and rebellious ideals make it difficult to impress.
The opening act, a unique five-piece hip hop element called The Puppetmastaz, brought us up to speed quickly. Donning hand puppets in a display of clever skits and banger hiphop beats, The Puppetmastaz instilled laughter and dancing eventually breaking into costume form of their puppet selves. With quirky lyrics and lines, the group shaped the vibe of the audience capturing the evening’s wave from the very beginning.
With the edge taken off by a group of rapping puppets, Gramatik entered a smoke-filled, dimly lit stage sporting his persona: black hat + sunglasses and a leather jacket. Wasting no time, Gramatik brought down the hammer with his hefty, crypto-currency inspired collaboration entitled “Future Crypto” made alongside Lowtemp's Branx. Gramatik on keys and Adam Stehr aka Stehreotype on a classic Les Paul guitar, the duo tag-teamed a session of relentless funk blasting with discipline and precision. Nasty blues guitar riffs capitalized on the anticipation built from creative sample weaving and mash-up execution. The most interesting parts of the set were when the two simply jammed on their instruments in between phases of the set.
The experience brought us through a storm of originals, collaborations, remixes, and unreleased material maintaining a colorful groove of glitch, blues, funk and soul from start to finish. The entire thing enhanced into an audiovisual experience with visuals reminding us that "It's Just a Ride!" to dystopian imagery resembling the Berlin TV Tower -- a former symbol of communist power. Gramatik reframes tracks of others in a live setting, despite boasting a massive library of his own tunes. Themes explored musically and visually lock the audience into a groove that's taken with out into the real world. The transmission of cinematic elements over a satisfying infusion of classic and modern music styles makes Gramtik quite the site to see live.Keep up with Gramatik and Lowtemp Music on Stereofox.
Photo credit goes to my esteemed colleague Marc. Check out his work: MRKÜS