CTM 2018 will run 26 January – 4 February 2018 at Berlin venues HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, YAAM, Festsaal Kreuzberg, SchwuZ, Club OST, and Kunstquartier Bethanien.
This 19th edition’s Turmoil theme explores the state of music and sound practice in the face of a confusing and critical present. With programme highlights ranging from a special emphasis on the intersection of music and dance, an exploration of the different threads of gabber and hardcore including pioneering and newer sounds, a special thread exploring the potentials and consequences of rapid advances in machine learning and AI, and a range of artists exploring Turmoil through confrontation, careful scrutiny, or meditation, CTM 2018 continues its inquiry into the potential of sound and music to invigorate our resilience, awareness, and sense of community.
Newly-confirmed CTM 2018 acts are:
Including the Red Bull Music x CTM 2018 Closing Concert:
CTM joins forces with Red Bull Music to close its 19th edition on tumultuous notes. For the fourth year in a row, the two partners have collaboratively assembled two back-to-back events. This year will feature electronic music trailblazers DAF, Bestial Mouths, and more to be announced soon. Read more about Red Bull Music x CTM 2018 events.
Carhartt x CTM 2018 present:
Along side the previously announced artists Nihiloxica, RoxXxan and Bad Gyal.
Plus a collaborative programme presented by MONOM, CTM 2018 and Spatial Sound Institute in 4DSOUND:
Transcend the Turmoil is a special programme created for CTM 2018 by MONOM, Berlin's new Center for Spatial Sound, together with the Spatial Sound Institute. For the programme MONOM has commissioned Gaika, Pan Daijing, FIS, and TCF to use the 4DSOUND system to build intensely visceral experiences that will range from calming and hypnotizing to thought-provoking and radical. Two presentations developped with the Spatial Sound Institute will also be presented: artist and researcher IOANN will perform "Imagining the Hyperspace", a work he developed during a residency at the Spatial Sound Institute in Budapest. On the festival’s first weekend, composer John Connell and art director Florence To will give the German premiere of "NOQTURNL", an overnight performance exploring the threshold between waking and dreaming.
And SKALAR, a stunning light and sound installation presented by WHITEvoid, Kraftwerk Berlin and CTM 2018:
SKALAR is a large-scale art installation by Christopher Bauder and Kangding Ray that explores the complex impact of light and sound on human perception. Following a highly-successful collaboration between WHITEvoid, Kraftwerk Berlin, and CTM in 2016 with "Deep Web," CTM 2018 Festival is pleased to host this next artistic venture within its titular Turmoil edition.
Launching with a BCR x CTM 2018 floor at the CTM 2018 exhibition opening, Berlin Community Radio will once again provide near daily broadcasts during the festival week, extending the festival's reach and offering CTM artists the chance to elaborate on their live sets in conversation with BCR hosts. Solo audiovisual sets from CTM 2018 MusicMakers Hacklab co-hosts Ioann Maria and Peter Kirn, translating machine learning techniques into live performances, will take place that same evening.
Adding to the previously announced focus on the cross-pollination of artificial intelligence and music, which will feature among other George Lewis & Roscoe Mitchell with their pioneering Voyager system, Marcus Schmickler’s explorations of the limits of human vs machine perception, and Marco Donnarumma’s research into AI prostheses, a night at Festsaal Kreuzberg will feature cherished club music trendsetters and technology theorists Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst in a special performance together with a vocal ensemble of Berlin-based musicians. The performance will explore themes of AI and frontiers (technological, geographical, and otherwise) while celebrating community and endorsing hope in the face of despondency. The ensemble compare and contrast the raw, guttural aesthetics of traditional folk singing styles with the humanoid, future-hailing flair of voices sent through synthesis and processing. In keeping with the commending of alternative types of family and kin, the evening’s other performances will be given by members of the choir, many of whom have their own compelling solo projects.
AI is further explored by conceptual artist James Ferraro in a new stage performance as part of the collaborative CTM/transmediale concert at HKW. Including live visuals and scenographic elements by Nate Boyce, “Plague” is a choral work built around speculations on a future society in which an AI is simulating reality through the manipulation of living humans with the goal of creating the ultimate consumer product. As the AI struggles to emulate what it means to be human, tensions arise between the clinical gaze of the machine and the imperfection of its emulation. The piece is a joint commission with Abandon Normal Devices festival within their ongoing Creative Europe network The Networked Man.
In another project, Marcus Schmickler and Julian Rohrhuber explore the "Mind Reader", an invention that helped lay the foundation for machine learning in the midst of the Cold War, and that also had a wide reception in psychoanalysis and media theory by way of Jacques Lacan. Invented in the 1950s by Claude Shannon, the Mind Reader was inspired by game theory, American Romantic literature, and Shannon’s belief that people are not a good source of random behaviour. The machine plays an “odds and evens” game with a human player, refining its guess about the opponent’s next move with each new round. In their project, Rohrhuber and Schmickler sound out the peculiar setup that allows such an extremely simple mechanism to outwit us all. What seemed like a mere zero-sum game might turn out to have been a conversation of a different kind all along.
Stepping away from AI, poetess and musical activist AGF presents a protest-inspired hybrid DJ/live performance based on her new album Solidicity, to kick off a night that follows with a quadraphonic performance by Jessica Ekomane. Ekomane uses psychoacoustics and polyrhythmic structures to explore how we strive for meaning/seek familiarity when faced with chaotic or complex musical information, much like we do when faced with the intricacies of real life.
Based on sound material submitted by radio correspondents from all over the world, Olaf Nicolai’s "In the Woods there is a Bird" melds sounds from demonstrations, riots, and rallies originally recorded for news broadcasts. Devoid of their usual radio commentary or written indices, the concrete audio objects become detached and undefined, allowing the artist to mix, reference, and re-reference them into an urgent sonic essay about power and powerlessness, authority and protest. The piece, which is complemented by a publication and is sometimes also performed in dialogue with an improvising live musician, was commissioned by documenta 14 and Deutschlandfunk Kultur as part of the radio programme titled, Every Time A Ear Di Soun.
Contrasting the restless disquiet of Nicolai’s soundscapes, Scottish musician Drew McDowall will give the European premiere of his solo, "revisited" version of the legendary Coil masterpiece Time Machines, which still packs a punch today as a classic of late-20th-century drone and ritual music. McDowall has shaped the fates of several influential bands over a span of many decades – he was a member of Psychic TV in the 1980s and a long-term member of esoteric avant-industrial collective Coil starting in the late 80s and early 90s. He and fellow band member John Balance conceived of the Time Machines album as a tool through which its listeners might be able to escape the present and the self – in their words, "music cures you of time" – and eventually compared the power of its sound to psychotropic substances. The performance commemorates the album’s reissue on Dais Records this past fall, twenty years after it first went out into the world.
As an addition to Rashaad Newsome’s "FIVE Berlin", which will run for three nights at HAU2, club accelerationist Lotic and classically trained American choreographer and dancer Roderick George team up to present "Embryogenesis," a piece exploring the restrictions of assigning certain dance genres to specific racial groups or cultures. The collaboration investigates the potential of blurring boundaries between "high" and "popular" culture, pitching classical against modern dance styles against Lotic’s metallic dancefloor blowouts in a kinetic, ever-evolving exchange.
Like many artists in the world of Flex Dance Music (FDM), Hitmakerchinx and DJ Aaron are both dancers and producers – and in these roles they’ve worked with the likes of Rihanna and Madonna. Flex, an offshoot of dancehall & reggae dance styles, evolved in the Caribbean neighbourhoods of Brooklyn after legend and innovator Bruk Up relocated from Kingston in 1995. The dance style alternates elastic contortions and ballet-like fluidity with disjointed, "broken" movements and wacky facial animations. The music to accompany it, originally known as "flex tunes", has also grown into a genre of its own with club-ready beats and obscure samples – now known as FDM. In their CTM performance, Hitmakerchinx and DJ Aaron will both move between the decks and the dance floor, where they’ll also be supported by a collaborative force between OG hob dot, one of the leading pioneers and creatives of the bone-breaking flex style, and the female flex dance phenomenon Susie Q.
Hitmakerchinx and DJ Aaron take centre stage at YAAM’s main floor, presented by Carhartt. They will be joined by Kingston, Jamaica avant-dancehall collective Equiknoxx, who have made big waves with their prismatic, forward-thinking, shimmy-mandating latest releases, Bird Sound Power and the Colón Man, on DDS. Their CTM performance will feature three core members: riddim producers Gavsborg & Time Cow and vocalist Shanique Marie. DJ and No Shade co-founder Hunni’d Jaws will expose roots in bass and grime but also introduce new outgrowths in the directions of hybrid techno, noise, and even ambient. Previously announced artists Nihiloxica, Bad Gyal and RoxXan round out the lineup.
A special night on the first festival weekend will be held at newly opened Club Ost, which is housed in a 100-year-old former power station. The venue boasts a room that has been immaculately optimised for an immersive, listening-focused club experience. Designed by New York sound guru Gary Stewart, its custom-built, eight-stack system distributes a high-powered sound evenly throughout the space. The lineup on this night is designed to take full advantage of the room’s sonic capabilities. On his latest album as Special Request, expert techno/house stalwart Paul Woolford takes as his inspiration the unruly conventions of UK pirate radio stations, capturing the raw energy of illegal airwaves via murky house, darkside techno, and eye-of-the-storm hardcore/jungle tear-outs. He will test Club Ost’s high-powered sound system with a DJ set reflecting his in-depth mastery of audiotechnical intricacies. Beloved, single-minded footwork enchanter Jlin will revisit the festival, this time with a live, percussion-heavy set showcasing material from her latest album, Black Origami. The album was largely inspired by her ongoing collaboration with dancer and movement artist Avril Stormy Unger. Jlin says "composing music for me is like origami, only I’m replacing paper with sound." Phon.o will bring a signature euphoric DJ set with sounds ranging from UK house to dubstep and techno. His brand-new UK-styled 12" was sent out into the world via Pinch’s label Cold recordings, receiving rave reviews and support from DJs like Answer Code Request, Paula Temple, Modeselektor and Andrew Souto. Fresh of a mix for Room 4 Resistance and with an upcoming set recorded for Radio Cómeme, Florida native DJ Occult flips the script on ghettotech and booty bass, reclaiming those low subs for a dancefloor with "zero misogyny, zero predatory vibes & zero judgement, baby."
Daemmerlicht (fading light) is Recondite’s upcoming fifth album and new immersive live AV show, developed specifically for the cavernous space of Berghain’s Säule. The work guides listeners through Recondite’s suggestive interpretations of ambient, electronica, classical music, and hip hop oriented soundscapes. Contemplative violet and dark blue atmospheres unfold as nocturnal episodes of blurred vision and nebulous state of minds ahead of the light/dark to come. The Daemmerlicht LP will be released on Plangent Records in February and implements a different musical approach to the usual techno and house infused material Recondite is known for.
Berlin-based Colombian musician Lucrecia Dalt will perform an "alienated lecture", i.e. the live version of her upcoming album Anticlines, whose concept was guided by lyrics that work equally as poetry and thematic framework. The work is concerned with edges, boundaries, porosity, liminality, and tellurics, and explores these not only through lyrical content but also via musical delivery – microtonal shifts in Dalt’s voice will navigate the foggy borderlands between speaking and singing. Her songs visit tales of confusion between self and other, of human dependence upon Earth, of spontaneous emergence of non-human consciousness, of radical alterity, and of a conceivable martian legacy here.
French musician Cécile Schott aka Colleen produces intricate, mesmerising, profound music that traverses diverse instrumentations and sound worlds while steadfastly considering existential questions through contemplation. She will perform the music from her new LP, A Flame My Love, A Frequency, which was composed in reaction to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. It reflects on the interlacing of life and death, "finds optimism in the face of tribulation", and "meditates on humanity’s ability to prevail."
Hugo Esquinca will create a special site-specific piece for Berghain, calibrating his system to the cavernous venue’s resonant frequencies. Titled "Study of (In)operable Rigour," his performance is a stress test of the audience’s and Berghain’s sonic limits through feedback between spatial resonance, the venue’s sound system, and Esquinca’s own programmed musical disturbances and glitches.
The festival’s evening of gabber and hardcore is now further bolstered by Poland’s young crew of "rave revival" pranksters WIXAPOL S.A., who will appear as a many-headed beast of DJs and dancers. The crew, which like its gabber & hardcore ancestors was founded “as a reaction to all that seriousness in the techno scene”, has gained traction quickly within their country’s conservative political & social climate. They come to CTM shrouded in a carnival-like www artillery of memes and all-caps irreverent monikers – as they put it, they’re "post-shame" when it comes to flaunting bad taste. On the same night, representatives of Tanzania’s Sisso Records come as ambassadors of new indefatigable, happy-hardcore-tinged sounds from the streets of Dar Es Salaam. This past June, Kampala-based enterprise Nyege Nyege Records, the same ones to host the project Nihiloxica, put out a compilation showcasing the output of Sisso Records. In this Berghain performance, Bampa Pana (one of Sisso’s main producers) will mix frantic beats with MC Makaveli spitting hi-velocity, rapid-fire chat on top.
Further confirmations for CTM 2018’s club programme are Lima, Perú’s duo Dengue Dengue Dengue, who will bring a tropical storm of electronic psychedelia spanning rhythmic traditions from cumbia, dub, and salsa to footwork, tribal, and techno.
Bliss Signal entwines the mutating electronic rhythms of Jack Adams aka Mumdance with powerful washes of haunted guitar melodies from ex Altar of Plagues frontman James Kelly. Adams has become a mainstay of the UK club scene with techno, grime and noise collaborations with the like of Novelist, Logos, and Pinch. Kelly meanwhile has been recently focused on his solo experimental pop under the WIFE pseudonym.
Brooklyn’s Celestial Trax will deliver a live set exposing his penchant for cinematic, heavy-hitting club psychedelia. He appears fresh of the release of his late 2017 album, Nothing Is Real, for which he first reached the point of creative purge, deleting almost all his samples, sample packs, and software synths. Fueled by ideas of rebirth and true self-projection, he amassed a new library comprised of field recordings from New York City, plus samples from his own cassettes, vinyl, and YouTube search history. The result: " there are dark seductions, moments of painful introspection and vertiginous fear. but more than anything else, there is real beauty." (The Wire)
Berlin community space and ongoing party series hoe_mies take over one of the floors at YAAM with their crew of female, non-binary, and trans artists that fight for better representation in the hip hop scene. Combining sounds from the 90s and 00s, hip hop, R&B, trap, baile funk, dancehall, reggaeton and more, Hoe_mies also welcome Hengameh Yaghoobifarah aka kos_mic q’andi, who fuses diasporas yearning with the nostalgia of MTV youth and current queer sounds.
Borusiade appears with a DJ set in support of her latest EP on Cómeme, which sees the producer delve into darker EBM terrain with an array of opaque, powerfully rhythmic tunes.
A DJ set by producer, multi-instrumentalist, and "insatiable music junkie" Perera Elsewhere will favour polyrhythms, rich sound textures, shifting basslines, and post-modern club hybrids.
South African Londoner and musical polymath Esa Williams, whose debut EP was recently released via Dekmantel, propels groovy house infused with samples of traditional vocals and acoustic rhythm-makers into the ether.
London’s Elena Colombi hosts a popular NTS show promulgating cold-edged synth sounds at their most experimental.
Founder of Berlin queer femme forward collective Room 4 Resistance, Luz fosters late-night house atmospheres with selections that range from funky tech to warm Chicago grooves to cold electro.
Uta, a member of the Through My Speakers collective, will whip up a set of future bass music, grime, and breaks.
Yeşim curates the monthly female:pressure radio show on Byte.FM, aside from running the Erdogay and Bubble queer party series in Hamburg and creating passionately varied DJsets spanning hip hop to techno.