In recent years, CTM has been increasingly building and intensifying truly mutual collaborations with like-minded partners around the globe. Thanks to Nusasonic, the newest and biggest collaboration to date, a large number of musicians and projects from Southeast Asia will be featured in the CTM 2019 programme.
Adopting a multi-perspective approach, Nusasonic is a collaboration between CTM Festival and Yes No Klub (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), WSK Festival for the Recently Possible (Manila, The Philippines), and Playfreely/BlackKaji (Singapore) that explores how contemporary sound practices enable connections and dialogues within the Southeast Asian region, and with Europe. An initiative of Goethe-Institut Southeast Asia, the project kicked-off with a two week long Artistic Lab and Festival in Yogyakarta in October 2018.
Several highlight projects and artists will appear at CTM 2019 as part of the initiative. Best known for his powerful vocals as part of duo Senyawa, Rully Shabara will appear with his new project, Setabuhan. Comprised solely of percussion (drummers Ramberto Agozalie and Caesarking), and Shabara’s voice, the project is a modern reinvention of tribal trance. They take inspiration from the monotonous, interlocking beats of the ancient Central Sulawesian animistic ritual, Balia. The ritual focuses on healing people possessed by evil spirits, exorcising and appeasing the spirit through repetition, dance, and movement. Their performances are often accompanied by displays of martial arts – the project does not promote violence, but rather proposes cathartic ways of managing aggression via the release of raw energy.
Rully Shabara is also part of Kombo, a DIY platform that aims to facilitate and develop a dialogue between local and international improv music scenes. Researching and testing alternative sonic and compositional methods, Kombo was started in 2014 by Shabara and Satya Prapanca. Experimental musician Bhakti Prasetyo, percussionists Cheryl Ong and Ramberto Agozalie, experimental vocalist Kok Siew-Wai, improvisor Yuen Chee Wai, and Berlin-based musicians will come together for a night of spontaneous music.
Experimental punk band Zoo began in 2005, and were initially known for noisy, fast-paced music. In recent years, they have begun fusing traditional, tribal elements to create a new strain of rock music. Zoo will appear ahead of their forthcoming album, Khawagaka, on Yes No Wave. The record explores their own unique fictional universe, replete with its own culture, language, and religion.
Gabber Modus Operandi is the accidental project born out of Kasimyn and Ican Harem’s celebrations of anarchic cultures, from folk to street, and past to present. Shared, healthy obsessions with jathilan, gabber, dangdut koplo, Chicago footwork, grindcore, and noise form the foundation of Gabber Modus Operandi’s exuberant digital sarcasm and singular take on high-energy sounds.
Turbulent snarls, polyrhythmic beats, and warm breaks coalesce in the work of Manila-born Caliph8. Active in the city’s visual and sound art scenes for close to twenty years, Caliph8 has released on Dub Temple Records (Brisbane) and SVBKVLT (Shanghai), among others, and counts the likes of Keiji Haino, Otomo Yoshihide, and Yuen Chee Wai as collaborators. He’ll be joined by sonic experimenter and DJ Nonplus, whose work with sound is a globally scaled montage of past sensibilities, and strange tonal and rhythmic vocabularies that result in new cultural hybrids and intentional sonic anomalies.
Sound and performance artists Nguyễn + Transitory (Nguyễn Baly and Tara Transitory) present work-in-progress Bird Bird, Touch Touch, Sing Sing, an immersive site-specific performance initially developed at HAU Hebbel Am Ufer. Together they explore Southeast Asian and diasporic queer histories; and (de)colonial approaches to sound, synthesis, noise, and rhythm.
Thai artist Pisitakun grapples with political speculation and frustration. His work marks a break from that of many of his peers; not content with offering palliatives, nor with simply decrying corruption, Pisitakun interrogates fundamental values within a tumultuous and challenging climate. In his album Black Country, heavyweight techno and acidic noise offer a means of “expressing ideas and feelings which would otherwise be too dangerous to utter.” (The Quietus)
Tarawangsawelas will join previously announced Rabih Beaini. The duo, who hail from Bandung, Indonesia, perform a contemporary take on Tarawangsa, the sacred music from Sundanese West Java – as heard on Wanci, their 2017 record released on Morphine. The minimalist, cosmic album offers a careful contemporary interpretation of one of the most mystical and spiritual genres in Indonesia.
Dark ambient project Sarana utilise both electronic and acoustic elements to explore self-healing strategies through noise. The group, based in Samarinda, Indonesia, are known for fashioning jarring textural experiments.
Due to the central place of noise music cultures within many parts of Southeast Asia, a screeching noise programme at Berghain Säule will unite a range of artists from the region with noise colleagues from Europe. Performing are Vietnamese composer, producer, and experimental multi-instrumentalist Nguyen Hong Giang; Manila-based instrument builder and noise artist Rambo; and Indonesian harsh noise act pioneer Sodadosa, one of the driving forces behind Jogja Noise Bombing (JNB), an open community for noise artists from around the city of Yogyakarta. Inspired by graffiti bombing, JNB keep the city’s noise pulse strong by organising guerilla gigs in the street all the way to multi-day festivals and workshops. Synth builder and experimentalist Lintang Radittya and DIWO artist-activist Andreas Siagian will also join, together with Peter Kirn. The trio will be co-facilitating the 2019 MusicMakers Hacklab under the experiment-driven Adaptation title. Musician and researcher C-drík, an important connector and researcher in the global noise scene, as well as AJA, whose recent self-titled release on Opal Tapes, deploys “rhythmic noise, bomb heavy drum machine, convolving vocal utterance and a dedicated hell-scape of field recordings, abrupt sound design and blistering drone,” (Opal Tapes) round out the night.
Nusasonic is collaboratively created between Yes No Klub (Yogyakarta), WSK Festival for the Recently Possible (Manila), Playfreely/BlackKaji (Singapore), and CTM Festival (Berlin). It is an initiative of Goethe-Institut.