Here’s Why Your High-End Workout Clothing Stinks Even After You’ve Washed It (And How To Stop That)


A decade ago I might’ve only owned 1 or 2 high-end smart fabric golf shirts. These days, my entire fitness wardrobe consists of smart fabric clothing. I’ve got so much Nike Dry-Fit, Under Armour, Adidas, and Pumpa athletic wear that I can do entire loads of laundry for just these items. Since I love down in Florida where it’s hotter than hell for 9 months of the year, I can wear this stuff not just in the gym and on the golf course, but in everyday life…So what’s the problem? Over time, these gym clothes stink like ass even after they’ve been washed.

A guest post on Business Insider by Ann Votaw of the Observer talked about this phenomenon of workout clothing stinking even after it’s been washed. It has to do with the structure of the fabrics:

Cotton T-shirt fibers are rope-like, with lots of nooks and crannies—perfect for absorbing H2O and deflecting body oil. High-tech performance gear, on the other hand, is made of smooth synthetic tubes, similar to fishing line, that deflect water and allow sweat to evaporate off the skin.
Chemicals in this fabric make clothing “hydrophobic,” fearful of water and perspiration. This “wicking” translates into a cooler workout with less friction on the skin. But it also means fabric absorbs body oils, the first event in a foul-smelling melodrama.
Over time, your favorite workout clothes can become the perfect setting for “Germs Gone Wild,” especially if garments live in dark, warm places like gym bags and lockers. Laundry detergents like Tide, which effectively pull stains and odors out of cotton, really don’t work on sports clothes that require simple, alternative treatments to remove sweat. (via)

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this stinky clothing from happening. A few of the tips Ann suggests to stop your workout clothing from smelling over time are:

1) wash your workout clothing immediately after exercising. Letting it sit in the laundry hamper only allows that stink to set in….Obviously, this isn’t entirely feasible. Not everybody has the chance to do laundry every single time they go to the gym, but this is the best possible way to ward off the stink.
2) Soak your workout clothing in water before washing. This will release the skin oils from your workout clothing. Don’t twist/wring out the water after soaking because this can permanently affect the structure of the clothing fibers, just squeeze it out flat.
3) There are special detergents for workout clothing. One that’s suggested in the Business Insider article is ‘WIN Sports Detergent’ which you can buy on Amazon for $10.95. They say to use this detergent and to run loads of laundry with only gym clothing, and this will ward off the stink.

Follow these steps and you’re good to go, allegedly. (h/t Business Insider)


A startup cofounded by a 31-year-old just got a step closer to transplanting pig organs into humans


Luhan Yang Headshot

  • Egenesis, a startup that raised $38 million in March, just successfully used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to knock out a key virus in piglets.
  • The virus-free pigs could get us a step closer to transplanting pig organs into humans, something that’s been a challenge in the past. 
  • Next, the company may have to make some more tweaks to make sure our immune systems don’t reject the pig organs and ultimately test out how safe and effective these organs are in humans. 

Egenesis, a startup that’s using the gene-editing tool CRISPR to make pig organs viable for transplants into people, just became the first company to make pigs that don’t transmit a key virus, a move that could get us closer to pig-organ transplants for humans. 

The company, which raised $38 million in March and is cofounded by Harvard geneticist George Church and 31-year old Luhan Yang, wants to knock out certain genes in pigs that could cause diseases or organ rejection in humans, making it possible for those pig organs to be transplanted.

On Thursday, the Egenesis team announced in the journal Science that it had produced 37 piglets that had inactivated Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus, or PERV. The virus, which is part of the pigs’ DNA, has been an issue for human-pig transplants in the past because of concerns that it could infect humans. Inactivating the virus could ease those concerns. 

"This is the first publication to report on PERV-free pig production," Yang, who is chief scientific officer at Egenesis, said in a news release. 

Why pig organs could help with transplant shortages

According to the US Health Resources and Services Administration, there are more than 118,000 people in the US who are on the waiting list for organ transplants. In 2016, there were a record-high 33,500 transplants, but an estimated 22 people die each day waiting on a new organ. Getting organs from animals — particularly from pigs, whose organs tend to be close in size and work similarly to human organs — could be the solution to that shortage. 

But there are two huge hurdles to getting animal-organ transplants to successfully work in humans — a process known as xenotransplantation. The first, Yang told Business Insider in March, is the virology, or the fact that pigs carry genes encoded with viruses that could transmit disease to humans — that’s the PERV genes that Egenesis is working to deactivate.

The second hurdle, she said, is the immunology. Since the pig organ would be foreign to the body, the person’s immune system might try to kick it out, rejecting the organ. Those proved too challenging for a slew of researchers going after this subject in the 1990s. 

Ideally, CRISPR will help tackle those issues "that were insurmountable before," Yang said. "We think the advancement of gene editing can help us address both of them," Yang said.  

How Egenesis’ process works

  • Egenesis wants to build genetically modified pig clones that tackle both the virology and immunology challenges that come with taking a pig organ and putting it in a human.
  • To do that, you first genetically modify pig cells. That was the first step Egenesis took back in 2015 when it inactivated 62 virus genes in pig embryos. 
  • From those cells you can clone pigs that grow up, at which point you can take the organs from them. That’s where today’s news comes in: Yang and her team were able to create 37 piglets, 15 of which have survived and the oldest were 4 months old.
  • Now, the company can test the pig to make sure the organs are safe and effective, and eventually move the pig organs into clinical trials.

Egenesis isn’t the only company trying to harness animal organs for use in humans. United Therapeutics is also going after xenotransplantation, while others are taking a different approach of trying to grow human organs in pigs. And the world’s largest pork producer is exploring how to grow tissues and organs that could be used in human transplants. Yang said the number of companies starting to work on this again is good news. 

"I think it’s a good sign that the field has been revived," she told Business Insider. 

SEE ALSO: A 32-year-old biotech CEO just raised $1.1 billion from SoftBank to give old drugs new life

DON’T MISS: A small biotech behind a groundbreaking approach to tackling cancer just got its first drug approved

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: NASA’s most accurate map of where Americans can witness the rare total solar eclipse this year

from SAI

A nearby Sun-like star hosts four Earth-sized planets


Exoplanet discoveries are getting pretty common, so it takes something special to catch our attention. A star called Tau Ceti fits the bill, as it’s just 12 light years away and unlike the Trappist-1 red dwarf, is very similar to our own yellow dwarf (G-type) sun. Researchers have determined that it probably hosts planets like Earth that sit in its habitable zone. The only hitch is that the star is known to have a massive debris disk that probably bombards its worlds with asteroids, so living there would be a pretty big challenge.

Four rocky worlds were found, with two in the habitable zone, about 0.5 and 1.25 times as far from their star as the Earth is from the Sun. That works out well, as Tau Ceti is a bit smaller (78 percent) than the Sun, and is correspondingly less intense. The smallest of the worlds is about 1.7 times the size of Earth, but the habitable zone planets are much larger "super Earths" that could potentially support life.

However, Tau Ceti is known to have a big debris disk that probably produces far more impact events via comets and asteroids than we have on Earth. While that makes life improbable, the discovery is still important because of the techniques used.

On smaller stars, planets can be detected by the "transit method," observing the dimming of light as planets pass in front. That doesn’t work as well for bigger stars like Tau Ceti though, as the light levels drown out any dimming.

The W.M. Keck HIRES-MAGIQ detector

Instead, the team observed wobbles in the star’s movement as small as 30 centimeters (one foot) per second. That has only become possible recently by combining multiple observations from different instruments and sophisticated modeling. In this case, the team obtained observations from the HARPS spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory in Chile, and Keck HIRES (above) on the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

"We can [now] disentangle the noise due to stellar surface activity from the very tiny signals generated by the gravitational tugs from Earth-sized orbiting planets," said UC Santa Cruz Professor and co-author Steven Vogt. "Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogs."

Using the new techniques, the same team actually ruled out two planets they previously identified in 2013 as planets. "But no matter how we look at the star, there seem to be at least four rocky planets orbiting it," said coauthor Mikko Tuomi.

We can disentangle the noise due to stellar surface activity from the very tiny signals generated by the gravitational tugs from Earth-sized orbiting planets. Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogs.

The team hopes to refine the techniques to find wobbles as small as 10 cm (4 inches) per second, small enough to detect Earth-sized planets. That could be crucial, because while its easier to spot exoplanets around dim red dwarf stars like Trappist-1 using the transit method, astronomers are beginning to wonder if such stars can actually support life.

Planets tend to get tidally locked to red dwarf stars early in their life because their years are so short — often a week or less. As a result, much like our moon is to the Earth, one side is constantly exposed to radiation and the other is in the dark. "Because of the onslaught by the star’s radiation, our results suggest the atmosphere on planets in the Trappist-1 system would largely be destroyed," said researcher Avi Loeb.

That makes the likelihood of life just one percent compared to Earth. Since life has enough challenges already, it’s probably got a much better shot on a planet around a type-G, main sequence star. We know for a fact that those can support life, as here we are.


Source: UC Santa Cruz

from Engadget

How to Set Up Your Workspace for Maximum Productivity [Infographic]


If you’re having an unproductive day (or week or year), this infographic by Davitt Corporate Psychology may help. It outlines a number of ways that your workspace can be set up to help maximize your productivity.

Here are just a few of the easy-to-implement tips:

• If you play music, consider whether it’s helping or hurting. Studies show that music can decrease productivity when a task requires focus, but increase it when performing routine tasks, says the infographic.

• Check your posture, which affects not only your physical health but also your productivity. Employees who sit straight when they type think more clearly and have higher output than those who slump.

• Exercise at your desk. The infographic illustrates five easy stretches to do while you work.

To increase your, comfort, productivity, and output, check out the full graphic:

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

from Marketing Profs – Concepts, Strategies, Articles and Commentarie

Reinforcement Learning: Using Q-learning with RSI oscillators


The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is one of the indicators I like the most because of its ability to condense significant amounts of important information into a single measurement. Because of this I wanted to see whether I could use a group of RSI measurements in order to device an optimal policy for trading the Foreign exchange on the daily timeframe. Today I want to talk about some of the results I obtained and why these point to the fact that successful simple systems can be created using reinforcement learning provided that the right information is used for policy generation. You will see how I could in fact generate an optimal policy using only RSI measurements across a significant number of Forex pairs.

The idea of reinforcement learning is to treat the market as if it was a game (you can read more about this here). We define a set of market states using some set of variables to describe the market and we then train an algorithm using Q-learning to derive an optimal policy for those market states. For this experiment I decided to use RSI oscillators of different periods in order to create a Q-value table that I could use for reinforcement learning. Using daily data from 1986 to 2010 to generate the optimal policy and then data from 2010 to 2017 to perform a pseudo out-of-sample test to see whether the algorithm was curve-fitted or not. Of course tests of the entire training/testing process over random data are also needed to establish data-mining bias. Note that these reinforcement learning based systems contain absolutely no take profit, stop loss or other exist mechanisms, the reinforcement learning approach merely decides at the start of every day whether it’s optimal to be long, short or out of the market according to its policy and trades accordingly. 

The above image (EUR/USD backtest) shows you the first attempt I made using 256 different possible market states. With this amount of freedom the optimal policy for the training period achieves outstanding results in 1986-2010 but utterly fails when confronted with the pseudo out-of-sample conditions it didn’t see during the training phase. In essence 256 market states are too many and what we achieve during the training period is a curve-fitting to the data using the excess degrees of freedom within the Q-table that provide no additional useful information.

To alleviate this problem I moved to a Q-table with only 64 different market states, which were achieved using 6 different RSI oscillators. The above graphs show you the in-sample and pseudo out-of-sample results of using this algorithm over 5 different pairs including the result of a trading portfolio using all pairs. Results are much more successful with all pairs achieving profitable results in the pseudo out-of-sample. It is however worth mentioning that many of them do become much flatter in their pseudo out-of-sample compared with their in-sample period, while others – most notably the EUR/USD – basically continue the same trend they followed during their in-sample training period.

For the overall portfolio there is an important deterioration from the training period – which is expected – as the annualized Sharpe ratio decays nearly 50% with a value of 3.49 in the in-sample period falling to 1.90 within the pseudo out-of-sample period. It is almost certain that this would fall further within a real out-of-sample period, with a reasonable Sharpe to be expected possibly between 0.5 and 1.0, as the full effects of data-mining bias, curve-fitting bias and alpha decay become apparent in live trading.

With all this said it is quite surprising that the exact same market descriptors can generate somewhat successful policies across 4 different currency pairs on their daily timeframe. Even more so considering how simple these descriptors are. That said the policies do cause important restrictions in the decisions of the algorithms with the overall portfolio taking around 20 trades per year. It is also worth pointing out that this type of reinforcement learning trading system design is not trivially translated to things like GPU mining, however this might not be necessary as it is really easy to manually add and test these complex inputs as all the policy optimization is completely automated by the Q-learning algorithms. It might not be hard to generate a portfolio of a few dozen systems deriving optimal policies from similar descriptors. 

Reinforcement learning approaches seem to benefit greatly from information condensation as their success is predicated on maintaining their degrees of freedom as small as possible in order to have a Q-table that contains the largest amount of real market information, leading to the smallest possible alpha decay due to curve-fitting and data-mining bias. I will continue exploring this type of approach and will share a few further posts about this with you within the following weeks. If you would like to learn more about reinforcement learning and how you to can trade systems based on this approach please consider joining, a website filled with educational videos, trading systems, development and a sound, honest and transparent approach towards automated trading.strategies.

from Mechanical Forex

How to Survive Nuclear Fallout


It happened. Bright, white light flashed before your eyes, the power of the sun licked your skin, and you felt a shock wave of dust and debris plow through the city you call home. You’re one of the lucky ones, for now, but your struggle isn’t over yet—not even close.

What Is Nuclear Fallout?

After a nuclear bomb is detonated, residual radioactive material is propelled into the upper atmosphere. That material, usually comprised of radioactive dust and ash, then “falls out” of the sky—hence the name. The material can travel for hundreds of miles along natural wind patterns. Exposure to any type of fallout, be it debris, dust, ash, radioactive rain, or anything those materials contaminate, is extremely deadly.


In the short term, exposure to fallout will cause you to become ill, suffering acute radiation syndrome. You’ll suffer rapid cellular degradation and DNA damage and, depending on the dosage, experience nausea and vomiting, adverse neurological effects, and even rapid death. In the long term, pregnant women may miscarry or bear deformed children, your risk for cancer is greatly increased, and you may die a slow, painful death.

Fallout radiation does not hang around forever, though. It decays at a rapid, exponential rate, and many contaminated areas eventually become somewhat safe. Your goal post-blast is to mitigate your exposure to the fallout, find a suitable place for you and your family to hide, and create a feasible escape plan.

The Initial Blast: Destruction, Burns, and Blindness

Example of a 10 KT nuclear warhead detonating over Los Angeles Air Force Base. Notice the fallout trail. Created in Nukemap.

Anyone within a few miles of the detonation will either be killed instantly or will die very quickly. The epicenter of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, for example, was estimated to be around 300,000˚C. Body cremations are carried out in furnaces that only reach 1,200˚C. A bomb coming in at 10 KT, which is roughly the size of the bombs North Korea has been testing, would level anything and anyone in a one-mile radius—and that’s one of the smaller bombs out there.


According to Brooke Buddemeier at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the area between one and three miles out is considered to be the “light damage” zone. Glass will shatter, possibly injuring people, paint will peel, and thermal radiation traveling the speed of light will give exposed skin third-degree burns. At seven miles away, you’d probably get away with just first-degree burns.


Even if you’re 13 miles away from the blast, however, you’ll still be temporarily blinded if you were looking in the direction of the blast (53 miles away at night). And the fallout hazard area (DF zone) at least extends 10 to 20 miles from ground zero.

The First Hour: Find Shelter and Get Clean

via FEMA.

Okay, so you survived the blast and you can see the telltale mushroom cloud billowing in the distance. A general rule of thumb (literally), is to hold your arm out if you see a mushroom cloud, shut one eye, and raise your thumb to it. If the cloud is bigger than your thumb you are in the radiation zone and need to either evacuate or seek shelter. You now have 10 to 15 minutes to get somewhere safe. Fallout moves fast and can travel long distances, so you need to seek proper shelter immediately, especially if you are downwind from ground zero. The U.S. government lays out three key factors for finding appropriate protection and avoiding fallout:

Distance: the more distance between you and the fallout particles, the better. An underground area such as a home or office building basement offers more protection than the first floor of a building.

Shielding: the heavier and denser the materials – thick walls, concrete, bricks, books and earth – between you and the fallout particles, the better.

Time: fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. In time, you will be able to leave the fallout shelter. Radioactive fallout poses the greatest threat to people during the first two weeks, by which time it has declined to about 1 percent of its initial radiation level.

It’s important you remember these items so you can tell whoever you’re with if you’ve been blinded. Do not try to hide in a car, a trailer, or any kind of vehicle unless you think you can drive away from the area before your 15 minutes is up. If you see a cloud of debris moving toward you, leave the area by a route perpendicular to the path of the fallout. If you’re near a building that can offer better shelter, and you can get there in a few minutes, do so.

If you can’t get underground, get to the very center of the building. Via FEMA.

The further underground you can go, the better. If you can’t go underground, head to the center of the building. Once you’re inside, shut off ventilation systems and seal the doors and windows.


After that’s done, you need to clean off any radioactive material that may have settled on your body. Failure to do so could lead to “beta burns” on the skin, and exposure to deadly levels of radiation. Instruct everyone who was outside to remove their clothing—at least the outer layers—place it all in a plastic bag, tie it off, then place the bag as far away from everyone as possible. If running water is available, wash your body with lots of soap, wash your hair with shampoo (no conditioner), blow your nose, wipe your eyelids and eyelashes, and wipe your ears. The goal is to remove as much radioactive material from your skin as possible.

The First 24 Hours: Find Supplies and Hunker Down

Now that you’ve found shelter and removed any contaminates, you need to get ready for the long haul. You should expect to stay put for at least 24 hours. Longer if you’re downwind of the blast. It could be a few days, or it could be a month. It all depends on the radiation levels in your area, which will be monitored by emergency personnel. When it’s safe for you to leave, you’ll be instructed to do.

So, you’ll need supplies. First, you need to find drinkable water. Bottled water is your best bet, but if that’s not available, you’ll need to get it from taps that draw from deep wells, water tanks, or covered reservoirs. The types of wells you’d find on a farm or rural home are ideal. Keep in mind, you cannot remove radioactive elements from water through boiling or any type of disinfection. If you cannot find a clean source of water soon, you’ll have to filter some yourself. Your best bet is filtering it through a basic clean earth filter (as shown in the video above), which removes about 99% of the radioactivity in the water.


Next, you need to find an emergency radio that will allow you to listen for updates. You don’t want to be trapped in your shelter for any longer than is necessary. There’s a chance most electronics will not work due to the EMP effects of the blast, and even if they do, you’ll likely experience constant power outages, so a hand-crank emergency radio is your best bet. Make sure someone is always listening for news about what to do, where to go, and any places you should avoid.


But say, as you set up your base, you see someone begin to feel nauseous and display heavy fatigue. Acute radiation sickness is setting in, and you need to help them. If Potassium Iodide (KI) is available in a nearby first-aid kit, administer it to them at the first sign of trauma. There are other ways to manage internal contamination, but Potassium Iodide tablets are the most common. If they don’t start vomiting until four hours or more after exposure, that’s a good sign. They’ll likely recover within a few days or weeks as long as they can stay inside and rest. If they start vomiting within an hour of exposure, go unconscious, or are experiencing seizures, they are in need of serious medical attention and will require aid from a professional.

The First Week and Beyond

Fortunately, you now have shelter and water, so you’re ready to play the waiting game. You may want to try and locate any canned or packaged foods in your vicinity (anything that didn’t come in contact with radioactive particles), but you should be fine for a while if you can’t find any. Be sure to carefully ration and share whatever you do find, however.


Continue to listen to your emergency radio, keep morale up if you’re with others, and check to see if anyone with you is in need of any medications. Some people may be in shock and have forgotten. Waste management will also become an issue, whether you’re sharing a space with people or not. James Roberts and Mark Lawrence at Secrets of Survival suggest a trash can or large bucket should be designated as a toilet, and cat litter can be used to keep smells to a minimum. A little Vick’s Vapor Rub on your nostrils can block out any nasty smells as well.

via FEMA.

After the first 24 hours, the fallout will have given up about 80% of its energy, but it’s still best to stay indoors unless told otherwise by emergency responders. Eventually you’ll hear a message and be told to where to go, and how. For additional resources and useful print-outs, check out:

I hope you never need any of this information, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

from Lifehacker

Easy ways to slash up to 500 calories from your day


breakfast woman eating croissant juice

Losing weight often feels like an uphill battle. Counting calories is hard (and imperfect) work, declining dessert can make you feel like a bore, and packing your own meals requires time and investment.

Thankfully, there are a few easy tweaks to your daily diet that registered dietitians and nutritionists say can help you meet your healthy eating goals. While cutting calories shouldn’t be the sole focus of a healthy diet plan, it can be a good starting point for weight loss.

With that in mind, all of the swaps listed here are healthier options overall — not just because they are lower in calories, but also because they contain less sugar or more protein.

DON’T MISS: There’s even more evidence that one type of exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have

SEE ALSO: How to look and feel healthier in one week, according to a nutritionist

Go savory, not sweet, at breakfast — slash 350 calories

Breakfast items like muffins, pancakes, and granola parfaits can pack a hefty portion of calories and — since they’re not always high in protein or fiber — leave you crashing later. 

Instead of starting out the day with sugar, many dietitians recommend going savory. Rather than a large blueberry muffin, pair a couple of poached eggs with wheat toast. As registered dietitian Nichola Whitehead told Business Insider, only one of those meals "will leave you feeling more energized and provide you with what your body needs to stay strong and healthy in the long term, i.e. vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, as well as slow-release carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats."

Conveniently, the egg-and-toast combo also packs about 350 calories less than a muffin. It’s a win-win.


Order bubbly water instead of soda — shave up to 300 calories

A large soda at your favorite fast-food chain can contain upwards of 300 calories. Pairing a seltzer or an unsweetened ice tea with your meal instead is an easy way to slash those extra calories. Plus, plenty of research suggests that liquid calories don’t fill you up the same way solid food does.

Cara Anselmo, a nutritionist and outpatient dietitian at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, advises clients who are trying to lose weight to stop drinking soda, sweet tea, and other beverages with calories.

"If you drink 500 calories of liquid versus eating 500 calories of food you’re going to feel much less satiated, which is one of the reasons soda and sweetened drinks are such horrible things. You don’t get a sense of fullness," Anselmo told Business Insider.

Swap your granola for carrots and hummus — cut 400 calories

Granola is often associated with wholesome vegan hippies and long hikes in the woods, but it’s packed with sugar and calories. A cup can contain up to 600 calories — the same amount as about four cereal bars.

By comparison, carrots are high in fiber (great for digestion) and vitamin A (which helps keep skin glowing and eyesight healthy). Pair your crunchy snack with some creamy hummus for a protein boost to tide you over. In the meantime, you’ll also be cutting about 400 calories.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

from SAI

Radical electronics on a grand scale: Berlin Atonal in its fifth reboot year


Berlin’s idea of a summer holiday is a bit different: shroud yourself in black, retreat into a giant concrete bunker, and prepare for an onslaught of experimental sound and light.

But that’s Berlin Atonal Festival in a nutshell. It’s what Tresor entrepreneur Dimitri Hegemann calls “a platform for radical ways in electronic music … in an industrial cathedral,” a packed-solid schedule of music and media art in the hulking abandoned shell of the power plant above the techno club.

This film affords probably the best insight into that

And now, Atonal is at an interesting inflection point. While the festival had its roots in the former West Berlin, 1982-90, it got a fairly significant reboot after a 13-year hiatus. So, sure, Hegemann himself carried over from the festival he first started. But a new curatorial team, a new context, this whole, uh, computer thing that happened, the reunification of Germany, the transformation of Berlin into international capital, the explosion of techno – these are non-trivial changes. That’s to say nothing of the move from a fairly conventional club (SO36) to a DDR-constructed behemoth that is literally used to record reverb impulse responses.

And the festival that once hosted the likes of Einstürzende Neubauten now treats listeners to a brand of experimental music that, while still adventurous, is starting to become commonplace in the festival circuit.

But maybe that’s the state of “radical” electronic music in general, certainly in Europe and the islands of media art chic around the globe. A fifth year festival isn’t going to be a shock that the first-year one is. But more than that, there’s a brand of violently sensory, retina- and eardrum-blasting but intelligent and high-concept experimental festival fare. And it’s grown popular. That popularity also transforms at least a circle of people making it. Their sound may be distorted and aggressive, but now it’s out of the tiny basements and blown-out crap PAs, and onto expensive speaker arrays, surround sound. There are sound technicians, even.

I’m of the opinion this doesn’t make experimental sound less experimental – on the contrary, it ups the acoustic and optical firepower and precision available to artists, which gives them a wider spectrum to exploit. It inarguably makes it less underground, but it also need not destroy underground aesthetics – and I think artists being able to eat is a good thing.

Of course, the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed yet. So I’ve watched curators cherry-pick their favorite acts from past Atonal, then import them to their own festival the following year. But that’s in something of a bubble, centering around Berlin (and London, and Amsterdam, and other capitals) in Europe, and festivals like MUTEK in the Americas (now a kind of pan-American festival franchise, in fact). It’s to the point where I can’t recall which festival discovered whom.

That consistency is easy to criticize, particularly for anyone jealous of Atonal’s grand spectacle (as a curator), cool crowds (as an audience member), or artist opportunities (for music and media art makers). But on the other hand, for this circle, it can begin to allow refinement. Audiovisual works in particular benefit from repetition and iteration, as you rely on multiple media to mature in parallel, collaborations to deepen. And a certain oneupmanship among lineups can drive artists to hone their craft.

This leaves us the question, what makes Atonal special?

Well, the obvious edge is its space. The artists interviewed aren’t kidding: you can’t imagine how big Kraftwerk is until you enter. It’s bigger than cameras can capture, vaster than words can convey. The Atonal organizers have found a way to tune the experience for listeners center stage, amazingly stopping it from turning into mud. And artists are adjusting their sets, too. But I agree with Sam Kerridge – it’s a unique pleasure to wander the space. Festivals are so often a pre-packaged, linear experience, a proscenium blasting a pre-determined significance to a packed crowd. In Kraftwerk, you can explore a set the way you would an art museum after closing. You can stand under the stage. You can find a sweet spot by a wall where reflections transform your perspective. You can find yourself gazing in complete stillness at some installation. And Atonal combines this with Ohm (the former battery room of the power plant, an intimate tile-walled affair) and Tresor (the basement, with its famous metal-bar booth).

That says something about Berlin as it is now, citywide, year-round. It’s too much music, and it’s dark and industrial and sometimes monotonous. But you’re free in that overabundance to chart your own way, to come and go in a music culture that seems to have no beginning, middle, or end.

Photo: Helge Mundt.

And this year, Atonal seems poised to build on what the festival has constructed after four editions. In short:

Back to experimental music’s roots. I always have a historical bias, so this is what I’m excited about. For both Atonal and The Long Now (two Kraftwerk-based festivals sharing some of the same curators), attendees are treated to a mix of historical concert music / new music / historical works and new commissions. In this year’s Atonal, it’s Stockhausen‘s turn. His 8-channel spatial OKTOPHONIE is inspired by the sounds of warfare (a tradition itself with threads back to Italian futurists). Stockhausen collaborator and director of the Stockhausen Foundation for Music, Kathinka Pasveer, leads that recreation, and younger composers will try out the system, too.

Rashad Becker + Ena on those eight channels should be especially good. But it’s nice to be treated to Karlheinz, too – having heard Cage and Reich recalled in this space, I can’t wait.

New stuff. There’s too much here to mention, but it’s fair to say this year’s Atonal promises more emerging artists and premieres, and might be one of the breakthrough festivals in 2017 generally. I’m curious about the “composed live act” of Chinese performance artist and composer Pan Daijing, the collaboration of Renick Bell (live coder) and Fis (sound designer). Sophie Schnell (PYUR) I’ve followed since her first AV show, and she has a unique and sensitive approach to her solo audiovisual work – this seems one to watch. Turkish-born Nene Hatun has a Rumi-inspired work.

I’m keen to see LCC (Ana Quiroga and Uge Pañeda) plus Pedro Maia; these Editions Mego-recorded artists are at the top of their synth game, and it’ll be spectacular to see them on this grander scale.

One sure-to-be-poingnant moment is Argentine-born installation artist, instrument builder and clarinetist Lucio Capace, who will have a trio doing a remembrance of the late experimental legend Mika Vainio.

There are also just a lot of new live shows. There’s a reason curators scout out Atonal for talent; there are few chances to see this many new AV works anywhere. (Another chance this fall will be Prague’s Lunch Meat; I’ll be there, too.)

Another easy bet: go see anyone Japanese. Thanks to collaborating with the New Assembly festival in Tokyo, Atonal is fresh with a bunch of legendary Japanese talent not normally seen in Europe. (I’d like CDM in general to get a little closer to the Japanese scene, and since I can’t always jet over to Japan, this will be a nice shortcut.)

All stars. Okay, and there’s more Puce Mary, more Roly Porter, more Shackleton, more Emptyset, etc. etc.. But with new premieres and such from these artists, there’s a reason to bring the all-star quasi-residents back. Some possible highlights – the combination of Shackleton’s music, Anika‘s voice over, Berlin artist Strawalde, and live visualist Pedro Maia is on my must-see list – partly because that combination sounds like it’ll either be transcendent or a cluttered mess, and that uncertainty ought to be why we go see stuff. Emptyset is doing something with architecture – and architecture is what Kraftwerk is about.

We’re Northern Electronics fans around these parts, so a program by the label’s Jonas Rönnberg aka Varg is a must on Sunday.

I’m skipping the DJ lineup, but it’s also really robust.

Photo: Helge Mundt.

Some free sounds

Can’t fly to Berlin? (or, uh, walk across the river as you don’t work for Ableton or Native Instruments?) Fret not.

The Wire has a special, free download of a number of wonderful live recordings from 2014, 2015, and 2016.

And, okay, basically these are all favorites here – note Peder Mannerfelt, PYUR, Ena, and so on returning in 2017.

It’s their Below The Radar Special Edition

Alessandro Cortini “Perdonare” 0:04:56
A Vision Of Love “Rose Transept” 0:06:49
Marshstepper “When Misfortune Confounds Us” 0:10:23
Felix K + Ena “Live At Berlin Atonal 2016” 0:03:55
Pan Daijing + JASSS “April” 0:05:23
Abdulla Rashim “Live At Berlin Atonal 2014” 0:04:49
SUMS “Budapest” 0:04:52
Peder Mannerfelt “The Theory” 0:04:41
Orphx + JK Flesh “Light Bringer” 0:04:42
Caterina Barbieri “Human Developers” 0:12:41
PYUR + Fis “The Pact”

Below The Radar Special Edition: Berlin Atonal: Force Majeure

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