Following our first festival announcement, we are pleased to release the second wave of artists and projects confirmed for CTM 2018. CTM 2018 will run 26 January – 4 February 2018 at Berlin venues HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, YAAM, Festsaal Kreuzberg, SchwuZ, and Kunstquartier Bethanien. We’re also very excited to enter new venue Club OST for the first time this year.
The Turmoil theme explores the state of music and sound practice in the face of a confusing and critical present. In the face of nonstop crises, protests, call-outs, and so on, normalised exhaustion and disquiet permeate our daily on- and offline lives. Music has always been a remedy for the ruthlessness of this world, a tool for altering our own way of being and for creating community. CTM 2018 questions the continuity of such potential. Can music mitigate societal polarisation? Does answering the world’s turmoil with aesthetic turmoil help? Should we not, in the face of conflict’s escalating logic and capitalism’s voracious desire for intensification, instead explore aesthetics of placidness and disengagement? Which other sonic and musical responses could we conceive of as an antidote?
Newly-confirmed CTM 2018 acts are:
Supported by the CTM 2018 Exhibition, with works by:
Plus a collaborative concert presented with the Akademie der Künste:
A limited number of festival passes remain on sale. Tickets to some individual events are now available, and are gradually being made available throughout the month. Press accreditation is open until 8 January 2017.
Stay tuned for the next CTM 2018 music programme announcement coming mid-December.
CTM 2018’s Turmoil theme explores the state of music and sound practice in the face of a confusing and critical present. One angle of exploration into this theme is the array of discussion, from over-optimistic to ethically troubled, surrounding artificial intelligence. As machine learning and AI become more intertwined in our daily lives and respond ever more accurately to human expectations, the positivist hope that they become indispensable collaborators in extending human potential is counterbalanced with fears of increased surveillance and autonomous weapons, worry about the socio-economical impact of automation, fearful projections of robot takeovers, and deep ethical questions around what it would mean to come face-to-face with a new form of consciousness.
Two indispensable contributors to this year’s focus on the cross-pollination of artificial intelligence and music, enabled through the support of the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany, are the American experimental music innovators George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell. Both are long-term activists for the visibility of African-American composers, leaving their indelible marks through visionary work with ‘non-musical’ noise and computers. As members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), their approach centers on economic and musical collectivity, a hybrid composition-improvisation aesthetic, methodological diversity, and freedom of cultural reference. Mitchell, the founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, is a multi-instrumentalist who performs on woodwinds, saxophones, and percussion, a composer whose works range among solo, chamber, and orchestral forces, and an interdisciplinary artist whose paintings and sound sculptures have been shown in important exhibitions around the world. His work has brought forth new and highly influential ideas about collective and collaborative improvisation and composition, extended technique, and the integration of sonic and visual forms. Lewis is an interdisciplinary scholar, trombone player, and technology artist in addition to being a composer and improvisor. His interactive computer system, Voyager, which was one of the earliest strides in the development of a real-time relationship between a music-making machine intelligence and human musicians, enables improvisational, non-hierarchical communication between computer and artist. The system was conceived in the 1980s based on mathematical models that today have become widespread in AI technology. However, its approach to exchanging musical and emotional currents through machine interaction remains, even today, exceptional: “Instead of a virtuality that attempts to hegemonize the physical, the goal is one where virtuality and physicality interact to produce a hybrid that strengthens on a human scale” (Lewis). Lewis and Mitchell will perform with Voyager at CTM 2018.
Marcus Schmickler co-opts a public domain algorithm used to model gravity as a tool for sonification. When dealing with large systems such as a model of the collision of galaxies, the auditory domain has certain limits. While it’s hardly possible to listen to billions of objects at once, it’s arguably possible to visualise them. “Particle/Matter-Wave/Energy” explores the borders of a scientific universality of sonification towards something that becomes a singular experience – sound. Simultaneously, Schmickler also points to communication gaps between human and machine worlds; while machines can interpret complex algorithms at increasingly high resolutions, the realities that they create ultimately exceed the realm of human perception, comprehension, and/or enjoyment.
Marco Donnarumma explores machine intelligence from the angle of the body. Wearing an AI robotic prosthesis that has a particular behaviour and sensibility towards its wearer, its environment, and surrounding sound, Donnarumma tests his and the AI’s agency through a ritualistic, sensual, and tense choreography of movement. The dancer and prosthesis eventually access new identities as they influence one another, questioning notions of “passive” intelligent software, the role of AI in regulating human bodies, and the optimism of the trans-humanist ideal.
Oscillating between humour and unease, Planet Mu signee Antwood produces delicate and uncanny cyber-ecosystems in reaction to subversive advertising, the ubiquity of ads, and the commodification of online content.
More works problematizing AI will be presented in the CTM 2018 exhibition, while the 2018 Musicmakers Hacklab will offer artists and technologists opportunities for first-hand experience in working with AI-technology. Lectures and discussions within the festival’s daytime conference will complement the focus programme.
Berlin composer, sound artist, and performer Maximilian Marcoll will present “H A C K”, a new work closely modelled on procedures developed in his “Amproprification” series, which takes works of other composers and transforms them using computer-controlled, lightning-speed volume manipulation. The piece features the electric guitar duo AAA—AAA. Both the musicians and the audience will be situated between two walls of amplifiers and thereby subject to powerful aural and psychoacoustic turmoil as the guitar’s cascading drones are violently “hacked.”
Likewise metamorphosing disquiet into sound is prolific avant-garde cellist Okkyung Lee. Her expressive vocabulary is made up of self-designed and well-honed extended techniques, and draws from extreme noise, jazz, Western classical, and traditional Korean music.
Self-taught UK pop visionary Klein may represent what it means to be truly original in the post-digital era. Her fidgety collages attend to various emotional layers in parallel, thereby portraying our age’s turmoil of distraction and promise of simultaneity.
Scott Kelly, who is best known as the frontman of legendary post-metal band Neurosis and also for his work with Shrinebuilder, Tribes of Neurot, and Mastodon, will open for Amenra at Festsaal Kreuzberg, joined by the complimentary and nuanced sounds of Rwake’s John Judkins. In its bare frankness and deeply personal spirituality, Kelly’s fearlessly introspective songwriting speaks of its function and faculty to help withstand the struggles and pains of life. With sparse guitar and a bottomless, dark voice, his songs conjure survival, redemption, forgiveness, console, endurance, and healing. With his roots in the crust punk movement, staying fiercely independent and keeping a distance to the mainstream music business has always been at the core of Kelly’s agenda with Neurosis, nurturing likeminded artists and bands such as Amenra, who they’ve repeatedly published via their Neurot label.
A definite CTM 2018 club programme highlight is Berlin’s techno punk Boys Noize, founder of longstanding, nonconformist collective Boysnoize Records. He established himself as one of the worldʼs preeminent wizards behind the decks and created a sound that is peerless, uncompromising and enduring, flying in the face of convention at every turn. Preceding the release of the second volume of his STRICTLY RAW album series, he will play an exclusive Turmoil-inspired DJ set, capturing the energy and spirit of punk and fused with the power of raw techno, classic rave, and industrial.
A handful of names will join Darkraver, DJ Panic, and KABLAM in a high-octane Berghain programme made up of gabber and hardcore: German producer Marc Acardipane aka The Mover is generally credited as making the first proto-hardcore techno track as Mescalinum United, titled “We Have Arrived”. Working under various monikers and setting up the Planet Core Productions (PCP) label, he was also crucial in laying the groundwork for a variety of other hardcore techno styles and subgenres that have since emerged. New York’s Kilbourne uses “terrifying”, “aggro-fem” slammers with titles like “Witch Hunt” and “Men:Parasites” to reconnoitre and exorcise the haunted territories of trauma. Stockholm’s HAJ300 founded the female electronic music collective Drömfaculteten (Dream Faculty) and recently released the 200-bpm “Varfor sa du inget” (“Why Didn’t You Say Anything?”) on the young label Country Music, which “us[es] tempo and speed as the lens and tool through which to look at material desires and failures, post-industrial economies and workaday workings in a Full Geography…”. HDmirror creates cerebral club mash-ups celebrating and deconstructing trance breeds using a range of percussive timbres. The music holds up a mirror to tumult by mapping out the psychogeography of virtual madness and finding sonic equivalents to the swirling cacophony of online news feeds, gossip forums, memes, and blinking ads.
Errorsmith, one of the Berlin scene’s quiet gems, is making waves with a new critically acclaimed album on PAN, his first in 13 years. Upcoming producer Perel creates a hybrid DJ/live set of electro-tinged house in support of her upcoming album on DFA, Panorama Bar resident Lakuti celebrates house fundamentals, and Batu lays down the bass-heavy sound and fractured rhythms that propelled his fledgling Timedance label into FACT’s top 10 best labels in 2016.
DJ Champion’s penchant for low-end basslines and dazzling rhythmic patterns sees him flit between house, UK funky, and grime. He first exploded onto the scene with a release on Terror Dangah’s Hardrive label before forming his own Formula Records imprint to continue his bass odyssey. He’ll be joined by MC Serious for his Berlin appearance. Meanwhile, Moscow’s Pixelord assembles tributes to an imagined future with dystopian sci-fi / video-game aesthetics. His marriages of new IDM with UK bass and glitch range from the somber to the ecstatic.
Rising Chinese producer Hyph11E’s eerie dystopias combine vintage noise and industrial with contemporary club music. Her debut EP, which came out this year on Shanghai label SVBKVLT includes remixes by M.E.S.H., Tsuzing, and Kid Antoine. Compatriot Jason Hou intertwines traditional Chinese instrumentals with fat industrial dubstep beats, thanks to collaborations with Beijing melodic death metal band Frosty Eve and Chinese Canadian composer & conductor Jin Zhang.
Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes, a Kampala-based label and festival showcasing outsider music from East & Central Africa and beyond, will bring the new project Nihiloxica, in which four percussionists, one live drum kit, and analogue synths investigate Buganda & Busogo drumming from novel and euphoric angles. UK MC and self-described tomboy/feminist/rebel/misfit RoxXxann will take her no-nonsense lyrics to grime-informed backdrops, and internet sensation Bad Gyal punctuates dancehall, reggaeton, and Atlanta-style textures with fresh, DIY musings in English, Spanish, and her native Catalan language.
Hanin Elias, an early protagonist in Berlin’s post fall-of-the-wall electronic punk and hardcore scene through her work in Atari Teenage Riot and her Fatal Recordings label, hosts an explosive evening of confrontational outbursts and dizzying noise. She is joined by outrageous Berlin punk band Cuntroaches, who “inject chaos before the music even exists and then put the music on top”, the heterogeneous abstract rhythm-infused noise of NAH, or the extreme primordial noise from duo NAKED, whose new EP on Halcyon Veil uses the sounds of sex, vomit, and noise to create a heavy, spine-crushing sonic hybrid. NAKED are supported by the SHAPE platform, which marks a strong presence in this festival edition, including previously-announced Swan Meat and Schwefelgelb. Other SHAPE supported artists are Olivia, who proposes dark techno and starry futurist leanings through fluid DJ sets; a future-facing DJ set by one of Berlin’s freshest voices, JASSS, spanning a myriad of influences from wiggy electro and EBM to punk and jazz; and Nene H, whose rough, grating textures and command of all things distorted have found their home on Bedouin records. Nene took her moniker in honour of a 19th-century Turkish folk heroine, paying tribute to independent women in Turkey and infusing Turkish folk elements into contemporary techno hybrids.
The second announcement adds to an already rich line-up including:
Amenra [BE] / Cevdet Erek [TR] / Darkraver [NL] / DJ Panic [NL] / Ernest Berk Retrospective by Company Christoph Winkler with groupA, Rashad Becker & Pan Daijing, Ian Helliwell, Patrick Primavesi [INT] / Jace Clayton presents: Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner [US] / Jana Rush [US] / Medusa’s Bed – Lydia Lunch, Zahra Mani & Mia Zabelka [INT] / KABLAM [SE/DE] / Nadah El Shazly [EG] / Rashaad Newsome presents “FIVE Berlin” [US] / Schwefelgelb [DE] / Swan Meat [US/DE] / Violence [US] / Zorka Wollny & Andrzej Wasilewski [PL/DE]
With CTM Radio Lab commission winner ZULI [EG]
And installations: “The Physical Mind” by Teun Vonk [NL] and “Boem BOem” by Philip Vermeulen [NL]
→ Day-by-day programme preview
Compositions by Bunita Marcus, Dieter Schnebel, Ernstalbrecht Stiebler & more
With Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop and Rashad Becker
Tickets available soon. Entrance free for CTM Gold Pass holders
“Inside/out”, a concert by Solistensemble Kaleidoskop with Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, explores the possibilities of an inner perception of sound, a “listening-in” to strange sound spaces. The concert will present music by composers who are important reference points for Stiebler, from Dieter Schnebel and Walter Zimmermann to Mozart and Puccini. Rashad Becker complements the evening by bringing Stiebler’s music into the electronic music realm.