from "Berlin Drums - 4 Solos" 4 Mini-CD-R, Absinth Records 003, 2004
BURKHARD BEINS (percussion) *1964, lives in Berlin. Since the late 1980's international festivals, concerts and tours with experimental music throughout Europe and overseas. He is a member of several ensembles like Perlonex, Activity Center, Polwechsel, The Sealed Knot, Misiiki, Phosphor, Trio Sowari and also works with Keith Rowe, Sven-Åke Johansson, Orm Finnendahl, Charlemagne Palestine and many others. More than 30 CDs and LPs released on labels like 2:13 Music, Zarek, Absinth, Erstwhile, Potlatch, Hat Hut, Confront, and Rossbin. After some early experiments with tape collages (involving field recordings, tape loops, percussion, found objects, and a piano stringboard) and some occasional rock sessions I started playing my first live concerts of experimental music in the late 1980´s together with guitarist Michael Renkel. Initially also trying to involve tapes and tape loops in the live context, I was more and more exclusively concentrating on an entirely acoustic set-up. Bowing a cymbal and turning a knob are activities which require two kinds of attention, too different from each other not to get in each others way, - while a couple of drums in combination with assorted bells and cymbals turned out to be a rich enough assembly of sound sources perfectly matching my sonic intentions. Not being a trained drummer of any sorts the 1990´s saw me struggling for an individual approach to percussion, but I slowly began developing my own language. Participating in one of Günter Christmann´s VARIO projects, working on Cornelius Cardew´s TREATISE with Keith Rowe and on graphic scores/conducted improvisation with Fred Frith definitely had an impact on me. Moving to London for a short while in 1995 brought me closer to the British improvised music scene. But while my early group FRAKTALES or the quartet NUNC (2:13 Music CD, 1996) could more or less be regarded as traditional improv, and the trio YARBLES (Hat Hut CD, 1997) was even flirting with Free Jazz, a new aesthetic focus was slowly emerging during the second half of the decade, - after I had moved to Berlin in 1996. Together with my long-term collaborator Michael Renkel I began organising a series of concerts and several festivals under the label 2:13 Club, a Berlin version of John Bisset´s 2:13 Club in London. And from 1997 to 1999 our venue Vollrad´s Tonsaal in Berlin-Mitte became an important meeting point for musicians like Axel Dörner, Andrea Neumann, Annette Krebs, or Robin Hayward (who had just moved from London to Berlin) with Londoners like Phil Durrant, Rhodri Davies, John Butcher, or Mark Wastell. Together with Krebs and Hayward I was investigating the musical potential of extremely long silences and very reduced sound material in DAS KREISEN for a short but intense period in 1998, while my duo ACTIVITY CENTER with Renkel also reached a certain point of refined sparseness around that time, although maybe in a less conceptually rigorous way (2:13 Music DoCD: Möwen & Moos, 1999). In the SOWARI QUARTET with Durrant, Davies, Renkel and Beins, some new musical tendencies from London and Berlin found an ideal place to coalesce for a while. But it was also in 1998 when Ignaz Schick was forming PERLONEX, with electric guitarist Jörg Maria Zeger and me, a post-industrial noise trio exploring rather different musical territories. Amongst other things one subject became an issue of constantly growing importance over the last years. Next to acoustic groups like THE SEALED KNOT, ACTIVITY CENTER or MISIIKI and besides my work with PERLONEX I´m finding myself in an increasing number of ensembles and projects incorporating acoustic as well as electronic instruments like PHOSPHOR or TRIO SOWARI, in electro-acoustic duo collaborations with Keith Rowe and Andrea Neumann , or a trio with live-electronics players Boris Baltschun and Serge Baghdassarians, and I´m participating in interactive computer program pieces with Orm Finnendahl and POLWECHSEL. Refusing to attach piezo contact-microphones on my instruments, not to loose the richness of the acoustic sound source, or to get electronic instruments involved myself, working in electro-acoustic or electronic music contexts nevertheless forces me to keep on searching for acoustic material of almost electronic sound qualities and to further my development of new playing techniques far beyond traditional drumming.