On this Friday, the entire Berghain dancefloor will be devoted to exploring the different threads of gabber and hardcore, including pioneering and newer sounds. While the hyper-affective (and hence hyper-effective), high-velocity stabs of gabber elicit turmoil on the dancefloor like hardly any other club sound, at its core the gabber scene has always been less about rage and much more about togetherness and social inclusion – qualities which, in light of the political and social developments of late, are more important than ever.
Representing the Dutch old-school rave scene will be Steve Sweet aka Darkraver, who first became famous for his flamboyant schtick behind the decks, which made use of props like batman costumes, wigs, and rubber hammers. Decades later, his sophisticated mixing skills and versatile taste still secure his mainstay status at raves and mega-events worldwide.
Early hardcore colleague DJ Panic has toured the world with The Forze DJ Team (Paul Elstak, DJ Lars) and as part of duo, Hard Creation. Today he manages several hardcore labels, including Rotterdam Records, Neophyte Records, Forze Records, Terror Traxx, Seismic Records, and Tremble Tracks.
German producer Marc Acardipane 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.
KABLAM, who is known for her affiliations with collectives such as Janus and Staycore, will be one of the younger artists joining the night with a DJ set inspired by her love of this sound.
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 Drömfakulteten (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.
Closing the night, Poland’s young crew of "rave revival" pranksters WIXAPOL S.A. 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.
Also included in the night is access to the impressive Halle am Berghain, which will be the site of "Physical Rhythm Machine_Boem Boem", an immersive, playful installation by Dutch artist Philip Vermeulen. With the visceral acoustic instrument, the Physical Rhythm Machine (PRM), Vermeulen shoots balls at speeds of up to 150 km/h into large resonant boxes. Because the shots can be fired at precise intervals, the machine can generate intricate rhythmic patterns. Various artists will be invited to create short rhythmic compositions to be brought to life via the momentum of the balls. Alternatively, the machine itself can also create non-metric, free rhythmic structures on its own using pre-programmed algorithms. The PRM visualises violent compositions while resonating the space and the bodies of the audience.
"Physical Rhythm Machine_Boem Boem" at CTM 2018 is kindly supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands.
Philip Vermeulen is also supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL.
Affiliated with Country Music and Stoscha, among others, is the energetic HAJ300, who plays frenetic and uncompromising hardcore/gabber sets. They are a founding member of Drömfakulteten - a Stockholm-based collective of female and transgender artists.
Soweto, South Africa native Lerato Khathi, or Lakuti, was influenced by her mother’s soul & funk music collection as well as her grandfather’s affinity for jazz. She developed an interest in early Chicago house and has since become a prominent house DJ.
Ashe Kilbourne is a hardcore producer and DJ from New Jersey. She plays in a grindcore band called Cicada, is affiliated with the irreverent New York dance music collective KUNQ, and in 2016 released the EP, Sourland.
Philip Vermeulen is a young and upcoming artist from The Hague. He studied at the ArtScience Interfaculty at the Royal Conservatory & The Royal Academy of the Arts in The Hague, NL.
Hailing from the internet (as well as from Berlin and Capetown), HDmirror is part of a new wave of artists emerging from online communities and netlabels. Their work, as their name suggests, engages with the internet’s implications on musical production.
Wixapol S.A. is a musical, aesthetic, and social project that uses a 20-year+ heritage of hardcore genres and radical rave varieties from gabber and trance to hardstyle and pumping house, with a particular emphasis on the Polish strains. It confronts these interests and redefines extreme peripheries in techno culture via internet aesthetics, memes, and accelerationism.
DJ and producer KABLAM (aka Kajsa Blom) was born by the Swedish westcoast, and moved to Berlin in 2012. She started her career as a DJ, as one of the residents of Berlin’s Janus party alongside co-residents Lotic and M.E.S.H. Janus is now a label and has held parties at Berghain, booking producers and DJs such as Arca, DJ Hvad, Total Freedom, Nigga Fox, and more.
As a musician, DJ and co-founder of the Leisure System label, Sam Barker has helped push the boundaries of dance music in Berlin, looking beyond the realm of 4/4 techno to explore left-field sound design and rhythmic complexity. His musical approach – both solo and in the duo Barker & Baumecker with longtime Panorama Bar resident nd_baumecker – combines bass music tropes, breakbeat, dub and ambient elements while still maintaining a strong connection to the dance floor.
DJ Panic is the moniker of Dutch DJ Dennis Copier. His career began in the Rotterdam hardcore scene in the early 90s, and his first major appearance was made at just 18 years old, at Terrordome in 1994. In the years following, he toured all over Europe, the US, and Japan.
Darkraver is The Hague- born, Curacao-raised Steve Sweet. For over twenty years, he has been one of the biggest names in The Netherlands's high-octane rave scene. His unique blend of early house, old school, early rave, hardstyle, jumpstyle, and hardcore has earned him mainstay status at mega-festivals and raves worldwide.
Marc Acardipane (also known as Marc Trauner, Mescalinum United, and Marshall Masters) is a pioneering hardcore producer and DJ from Frankfurt.