How do sounds and frequencies affect us? CTM 2015's music programming is shaping up with a diverse range of artists exploring the affective potential of sound from innumerable points of view: spatial explorations, otoacoustic emissions, binaural beats, and other phenomena that play on our perception and mental states meet visceral manifestations such as acerbic grindcore hallucinations, psychedelic drone freakouts, numbing consumer-trash beats, and future-punk ecstasies.
Following our first artist announcement for CTM 2015 - Un Tune this past October, we are pleased to release the second wave of artists and projects confirmed for the festival’s 16th edition, taking place January 23 to February 1, 2015 at various venues in Berlin, including Berghain, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Astra and Stattbad:
CTM 2015 – Un Tune aims to engage with the direct bodily effects of frequencies, sound, and music, as well as these phenomena’s synergistic effects with other sensory stimuli. Artistic experimentation with the affective and somatic potential of sounds and frequencies opens up possibilities of tuning and de-tuning the composite that interconnects body, matter, energy, and (musical) machines – and of exploring our perception.
Previously announced, the open call for the CTM 2015 Musicmakers Hacklab is still running until December 12. An open collaborative laboratory, the Hacklab, which takes the title Tuning Machines for its 3rd edition within the festival, seeks a wide range of participants, from musicians and artists to technologists and scientists. Led by Peter Kirn and invited co-host Leslie García, this year’s Hacklab will explore the technological ramifications of CTM 2015’s Un Tune theme.
This second announcement adds to an already rich line-up including:
Alec Empire with visuals by Zan Lyons [DE/UK] / Emptyset [UK] / Soundwalk Collective with Nan Goldin, visuals by Tina Frank [INT] / Craig Leon [US] / Simian Mobile Disco [UK] / Electric Indigo with Thomas Wagensommerer [AT] / Peder Mannerfelt [SE] / Jenny Hval and Susanna [NO] / Gazelle Twin [UK] / Klara Lewis [SE] / Pierce Warnecke & Matthew Biederman [US/CA] / Lucio Capece [AR] / Elisabeth Schimana [AT] / CTM 2015 Radio Lab with Claire Tolan [US] and Sol Rezza [AR/MX]
Stay tuned as we reveal our full night programme right before the holidays. The 1st wave of CTM 2015 artists and projects is available here.
A limited number of festival passes are on sale, and tickets to individual events will gradually be made available in early December. Professional and press accreditation is now open.
→ More information and to purchase
Reigning psychedelic metal lords Electric Wizard appear in celebration of their new release, Time to Die, an album that “deserves every accolade thrown its way” (Pitchfork) and which the band has supported with only a select few live appearances to date. Formed in 1993 in Dorset, Electric Wizard have long been embraced as doom linchpins with their use of tense hypnotic stoner riffs, heavy, dripping, low-end psychedelic freakouts, and ominous vibrations. Their hallucinatory world of sleaze, exploitation, vintage horror, and occult syncrasies conjures up the dark and dirty sides of popular culture. Described by the band’s guitarist and singer Jus Oborn as “a perfect example of arrested development,” (The Quietus), Electric Wizard drag us along on hazy trudges through second-hand smoke and misanthropic glee.
Red Bull Music Academy returns to CTM this year for a special, joint presentation of the festival's closing concert at Astra on 1 February. Since 1998, the Academy has been on the forefront of musical innovation, sharing an ethos with CTM's commitment to the cultural vanguard. First to be confirmed for the event are Carter Tutti Void, a project that brings together Chris Carter and former Academy lecturer Cosey Fanni Tutti (both of Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey) with Factory Floor’s Nik Void. The trio's Berlin appearance will mark one of their first "Transverse II" shows - the follow-up to their highly acclaimed collaborative work, which was released in LP format by Mute Records in 2012.
Sharing the bill with CTV will be Tokyo-based trio, Nisennenmondai, whose name stems from the Japanese word for the Y2K Bug. Since 1999 they have been whipping up electrified, up-tempo loops through rock and noise means, inducing similarly spellbinding states of hypnotism. 2014 saw their hyper, raw trance-punk unleashed to full effect on their fourth full-length, N.
Select highlights of the night will be recorded for RBMA Radio. Be sure not to miss more confirmations for the CTM x Red Bull Music Academy night, set to be revealed in early December!
French producer Paul Régimbeau, most commonly known as Mondkopf, brings his own shade of acerbity under his new grindcore-influenced alias Extreme Precautions. Having had his fill of churning out brutal techno, Régimbeau began turning to grindcore masters such as Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, and Pig Destroyer for even rougher relief, and bases his new moniker on a similar, if digital, sound. His new release, | , will be put out on his own imprint, In Paradisum.
18-year-old Jonatan Leandoer Håstad aka Yung Lean hails from Stockholm but the cult following he’s garnered has until now mostly been scattered through North America and other parts of Europe. Earmarked as “a pit bull in a fun-house mirror of hip-hop mannerisms” by The New York Times, he is the ringleader of a clan of beatmakers and producers that goes by the name, Sad Boys. Lean’s popularity as a rapper and record producer has surged since the release of his "Ginseng Strip 2002" music video on YouTube last year. Blasé rhymes portraying suburban ennui and isolation over trappy hihats and melancholic, aimless bass lines are backed by an aesthetic rigged with early 2000’s paraphernalia and consumer trash references, Japanese characters and bucket hats, a penchant for cough syrup highs and self-pity, and the explicit worship of the last decade’s rap heroes.
Elusive New York / Los Angeles duo 18+ have existed on the international radar as shifty avatars for a couple of years surrounding the hyped releases of three alluring mixtapes. In conjunction with their new album, Trust, on Houndstooth, they’ve begun to emerge from their shells as recognizable, live-performing artists, or at least to meld this blood-and-flesh identity with the anonymous and perplexing Internet presence that had come to be associated with 18+. Both members drizzle listless words over sparse but compressed, gem-like motley beats, resulting in music that dizzily walks the line between playful seduction and apathetic sexual oversaturation.
Appearing in support of their album, Live At the Cairo High Cinema Institute, E.E.K. feat Islam Chipsy are borne out of “electro chaabi”, a new manifestation in Egypt that took over weddings in order to be able to throw parties in a tightly controlled society. In the collaboration, the hyper-activating sound of E.E.K. combines Islam Chipsy’s freewheeling Shaabi keyboard blazes with a percussive maelstrom produced by Islam Ta’ta’ and Khaled Mando frenetically bashing away on two drumkits. Connecting the Arab underground with a Western YouTube sound world, the trio creates something that sounds “like Aphex Twin taking over the decks at your boring nephew’s wedding.” (The Quietus)
Indonesian duo Senyawa return to Berlin after a celebrated appearance this past August perhaps best described as “on a force-of-nature level” (Resident Advisor). Vocal extended-technician Rully Sharbara and instrument maker and player Wukir Suryadi (inventor of the “bamboo spear”, a thick bamboo stem circled with strips of thin wood and steel strings) create a sound that pairs traditional Javanese music with noise rock, improv experimentalism, and black metal. Sharbara’s multiple-octave range and repertoire of shrieks and growls act at once as intimidation tactics and ecstasy release, and result in a surface as rough as the band’s referential contour is deep. Senyawa appear at CTM 2015 ahead of an upcoming release on Rabih Beaini’s Morphine label.
Joining Senyawa is Teheran-based Sote, whose high-tempo geometrics were put on the map with his 2002 Electric Deaf release on Warp. Sote came out of the woodwork again this September with the Architectonic LP (Morphine Records). The result of a deliberate, premeditated vision and adept craftsmanship, Sote’s music plays like “a hyperkinetic rush of trance-inducing tones and completely unstable, chaotic rhythms woven with supreme guile, intricacy and attention to detailed frequencies that flood the senses.” (Boomkat).
CTM’s Berghain programme swells with additions such as the new live performance from Evian Christ, who, since the release of his breakthrough mixtape Kings and Them (Tri Angle, 2012), set up a relentless pace of touring and producing several solo follow-up releases, as well as taking part in collaborations ranging from a sound art installation with Matthew Barney to producing a track for Kanye West and remixing a track of Ben Frost’s stunning A U R O R A release. Having last graced the city with his muscular productions back in 2012, Evian appears at CTM 2015 with his latest heavy live A/V performance.
Joining the same bill as Evian Christ will be James Prudhomme aka Suicideyear, a 19-year old native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Prudhomme made a name for himself with the release of his 2013 mixtape, Japan, which mixed trappy hi-hat crystal formations with loops nodding to American mid-century minimalism. Following his Remembrance LP on Daniel Lopatin’s Software Recording Co., he has produced tracks for Yung Lean, Rome Furtune, Main Attrakionz, and Antwon a.o. and remixed even more. The potency of the melancholy-steeped tracks is remarkable for such a young producer, and the penchant for sweet lamentation is just one of the things Suicideyear shares with his equally young colleague Lean – he’s the honorary Sad Boy on the muggier side of the pond.
James Donadio, aka Prostitutes, has found homes for his crunchy, textural techno on Digitalis, Diagonal, Opal Tapes, and most recently Spectrum Spools and Night School. Donadio has carved out and occupied his own particular groove in the techno community, and this niche is as solid and relentless as his 3D beats, the materiality and rough woodenness of which could leave splinters. The Quietus wrote of the final B-side track to Donadio’s September EP Nouveauree that it “borders on ridiculousness, a blaring foghorn swells like a knocked lip, smothering everything in its wake.”
Australian producer and founder of the influential experimental music label Room40, Lawrence English presents intricate, thoughtful explorations that have at their core an unrelenting curiosity about the spatially descriptive and poetic potential of sound. His most recent album, Wilderness of Mirrors, which is based on Cold War misinformation campaigns, breaches new territories in sound density and volume: “over the course of the record… I was fortunate enough to experience live performances by artists I deeply respect for their use of volume as an affecting quality, specifically Earth, Swans, and My Bloody Valentine. I had the chance to experience each of these groups at various stages in the making of this record and each of them reinforced my interest in emulating that inner ear and bodily sensation that extreme densities of vibration in air brings about.” (Lawrence English)
As part of his musical studies, Aleksi Perälä (Ovuca) spent several months immersed in the studio containing pioneering electronic instruments built in the 60’s by one of the great unsung pioneers of the electronic age, Erkki Kurenniemi. Featured at CTM’s 15th anniversary edition last year, Kurenniemi’s instruments and sound library left an indelible imprint on Perälä’s explorations and inspired a series of Colundi Sequence releases for Rephlex sublabel AP Musik based on a newly-invented musical scale: “Instead of dividing the keyboard into octaves with semitones, we have chosen specific frequencies to work around... The scale is 128 resonant frequencies chosen via experimentation and philosophy, each relating to a specific human bio-resonance, or psychology, traditional mysticism or belief, physics, astronomy, maths, chemistry.” (interview with The Wire). Perälä will test the efficacy of his Colundi Sequences utilizing a six-channel setup at Berghain.
Several programmes revealed in our first announcement are continuing to take shape. Joining Soundwalk Collective’s joint effort with Nan Goldin at the CTM opening concert on 24 January are New York-based filmmaker and musician Rose Kallal and London musician, esoterica writer and publisher Mark O Pilkington. Kallal’s 16 mm film "Aldebaran" will provide the backdrop for a semi-improvised soundtrack of analogue psychedelia.
Joining the same programme is Dutch sound artist Thomas Ankersmit, who harnesses the Serge analogue synth, an instrument that rarely receives a spotlight in live performance. His solo concert, a German premiere, will feature Ankersmit’s mastery of a sound phenomenon known as otoacoustic emissions, or in-ear tones. These “phantom sounds” are generated by listeners’ inner ears in response to certain sonic stimuli. The disturbing perception of sounds originating directly in one’s head potentially clears away any notion of space. In Ankersmit’s performance, in-ear tones and sounds conventionally perceived as coming from the loudspeakers form two intricately linked but distinct musical streams.
Cologne-based Marcus Schmickler will add to a programme of music that toys with our perception. From difference tones (an additional tone whose frequency is a mentally perceived difference of two played notes) to acoustic emissions produced by the cochlea, Schmickler’s interest revolves around the brain and its adaptation to multiple auditory stimuli. In his recent Palace of Marvels release on Editions Mego, Schmickler explores a new interpretation of the 1960’s “Shepard tone” discovery. When listening to a Shepard tone, we are faced with the illusion that the pitch is either continuously ascending or descending though it is apparently never reaching a limit. Starting from such phenomena, Schmickler’s multi-channel piece “Fortuna Ribbon” twists the fundamentals of musical practice – rhythm, sound, and pitch.
TeZ continues a targeting of our perception’s sensitivities and peculiarities. His experimental performance “PV868” is aimed at producing an audiovisual feed / stimulus which, through the use of certain aural and visual frequencies, trick the brain into hearing sounds and seeing visuals that are not there as it adapts to and begins to resonate with the stimulus’ wavelengths. The work combines in real-time a flickering video displaying abstract lights and colour gradients with binaural beats distributed over a quadraphonic surround system.
Alongside Jenny Hval & Susanna’s Meshes of Voice project at HAU1 on Saturday the 31st will appear Canadian-born rising pop experimentalist Lydia Ainsworth. Trained as a film scorer and composer, Ainsworth decided to collect the pieces of recreational pop she’d been haphazardly creating in her free time between film composition engagements. The result, her debut album Right from Real (Arbutus Records, 2014) is a network of atmospheric, dramatic, and vivid soundscapes; although her pop constitutes a break from the professional obligations of film scoring, they’re inseparable from that skill and cut from the same cloth in their ability to evoke, amplify, and accompany.
Simian Mobile Disco share the bill with Berlin’s Gajek on Tuesday, 27 January at HAU1. Gajek’s new album, Restless Shapes, was drawn from a wealth of music that ran the gamut “from post-rocky electronica to complex and moody renderings of intricate introverted beat structures to mutant dance music” before being passed on to Modeselektor for release on their Monkeytown Records in October.
Finally, CTM is pleased to announce a collaboration with long-time partner Unsound to bring a selection of emerging Polish artists and projects to the festival. First to be announced are Piotr Kurek, who straddles the worlds of free jazz, musique concète, psychedelia, and drone and will open for Craig Leon, and We Will Fail, who brings her unique techno aesthetic built from field recordings, tape samples, synthesizers, and electronic drum kits to CTM’s vast Berghain programme.
Returning for a 2nd edition, the CTM 2015 Radio Lab explores and experiments with intersection of live performance and the medium of radio. The lab hosts two projects commissioned by Deutschlandradio Kultur – Hörspiel/Klangkunst and CTM Festival, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst, Ö1 Kunstradio, and ICAS/ECAS – International Cities of Advanced Sound. Two commissioned projects – "Always Here for You" by Claire Tolan, and "In the Darkness of the World" by Sol Rezza proposing unusual ideas for pairing the specific artistic possibilities of radio with the potentials of live performance or installation will premiere at CTM 2015.
Stay tuned for the full CTM 2015 programme, to be announced before the holidays!