The Torino Scale Showcase at No74

Xaver von Treyer (aka Xaver Naudascher) debuted selected tracks from his new ablum in three parts throughout the night. His five piece band included a cello player, drummer, two female singers, and himself on guitar. A DJ accompanied them to mix in electronic tunes between each of their three live sessions.

At least a hundred eager art-minded fashionistas were there for the start of the first session, casually dressed, and packed into the reasonably sized No74 boutique on Berlin’s famous Torstrasse. The back show room, one step down from the cashier’s desk, had been converted into an open and inviting dance floor, constructed out of three giant, screened walls. Three projectors hung discretely from the ceiling and their silent beams painted the walls with color, creating an immersive space to dance, drink, and discuss the unique sounds coming from Xaver and his crew.

When the second live set started the walls were thick with images of what may have been bluish white smoke or jellyfish, overlapped slowly by yellow shades until the two layers mixed into green plumes. The combination grew with traces of pink as it sailed upwards out of the showroom. It was mildly psychedelic in the same way that visiting an aquarium can be. The drummer’s beat machine pushed through calm, deep loops as the cello player strummed into the song slowly.

Then the beat dropped almost aggressive and audience members broke into their own private wiggles and spins. Fractured images of colored light beams splashed the walls and Xaver’s band jammed everyone into their third or fourth beverage of the evening. The part was packed until the last session ended and folks slowly headed home. Luckily we had time to catch up with Xaver von Treye, a Berlin resident who’s been making music for almost 20 years, to ask him exactly what is The Torino Scale?

It’s my upcoming album that will be released on Supersoul Recordings October 24th. It’s also a show that mixes live music with big projections of moving art, kind of like animated paintings.

Wow, that’s pretty exciting. Where’d the name come from?

The Torino Scale is a scale to measure the potential hazard of a planet to be hit by another celestial body (meteor/asteroid).

That’s some heavy etymology! Can you tell us more about the band members?

I don’t have a set group or band. what you saw was a mixture of guests that were present on my album (the 2 singers Yuko Matsuyama and Jayney Klimek) and two live musicians that helped out making the show: cello player Jan Tillmann Schade – a fellow film composer and the drummer Sven Ulber (Mittekill / Rich n Kool).

And where can fans pick up this new album?

As I said the album will be available from October 24th (CD / LP / digital). Cologne based techno stalwarts Kompakt will take care of the distribution as they have done for my label Supersoul Recordings since 2008.

So how’d you get setup to play at No74?

The PR agency that runs No74 approached me because they saw a presentation of my show and loved it. They offered to make the store available for the show and helped to finance the event. Working with this kind of technology (HD video projections) is expensive and makes it hard to get a project like this off the ground. I am very grateful they helped, because now I have footage of how this can look and work in a real life environment.

We agree, the No74 crew is so friendly! Have you done things with adidas in the past or was this just a one-time coincidence?

It was a total coincidence even though as a producer I have worked for adidas in the past. I made the music and sounddesign for quite a few in-store videos for Performance stores for various big sporting events (Olympics, World Cup, Euro Cup etc). As I said what happened is that the PR agency Haeberlein + Maurer saw my work and loved it and asked me to do something at the store. They were very nice about it and let me do my thing without ever interfering with the content.

You’re a man of many talents it seems. And what’s next for you on the horizon?

I am focusing on my release and it’s PR campaign, which is already a handful to do. It’s not unlikely that the schedule for live shows will fill pretty quickly considering the response to the show at No74 last week. I am also working on a Kenyan film project, scoring the movie. It’s called Nairobi Halflife and is produced by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run / Perfume). On top I will be working on a documentary about a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan (making the music and sound design for it) later this fall.

Good to hear that you’ll be keeping busy! Thank you for taking the time to inform us and please accept our sincerest wishes for good luck with your album release. And, of course, kudos to the No74 team for another great night on Torstrasse!

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by Ailine Liefeld