CTM will celebrate 20 years in 2019!
The festival has always strived to provide a forum that facilitates exchange and networking between different creative communities, while simultaneously fostering open spaces of possibility. It aims to allow those with different backgrounds and interests to explore new cultural interstices.
Through a series of concerts, club nights, an exhibition, talks, and other formats, CTM 2019 will invite both longtime and new artistic collaborators and partners to collectively consider the struggles that come with balancing continuity and changeability. In this spirit, this edition's theme of Persistence examines the aesthetic and societal potentials and pains of perseverance, and of its opposite – the transient and the provisional. It’s not only a fitting allegory for our 20th birthday, but also describes an attempt to consider what is worth being persistent about, and how.
From 25 January to 3 February, CTM 2019 will again play out across some of Berlin’s most standout cultural and nightlife venues, including regular partners such as HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Festsaal Kreuzberg, Heimathafen, and SchwuZ; and new partners DAAD, nGbK, and Grießmühle. A limited number of Early-bird Festival Passes are available now.
First artists and projects confirmed for CTM 2019 are:
With CTM Radio Lab commission winners
CTM is pleased to welcome a number of artists grappling with the complexities of today’s political and cultural climate. Gazelle Twin, the nightmarish figure with a penchant for distorted vocals, will bring her new, unsettling character to Berghain. Her recent album Pastoral articulates a corrosive critique of the state of England today. With neoliberalism reigning, nationalism on the rise, and Brexit imminent, Twin’s signature demonic identity has been reimagined as a jester clad in the colours of England’s flag - a figure that “picks away at the bucolic, Constable-generated image of English countryside like a fetid scab” (The Quietus).
Club trailblazer Lotic will debut the ambitious new A/V collaboration “Endless Power” with visual artist Emmanuel Biard, who has worked with artists such as Evian Christ and Koreless. This performance arrives on the back of Lotic’s debut LP Power, which was shared via Tri Angle Records in 2018. Across 11 tracks, the record grapples with empowerment, struggle, growth, and resilience, articulating “a battle cry for the queer community” (Resident Advisor). As Lotic navigates identity and genre, they continually confirm their position as one of club music’s most original voices.
Amalgamating elements of hip hop, dubstep, and traditional pow wow music is A Tribe Called Red. Hailing from Canada the duo is comprised of Tim "2oolman" Hill (Mohawk, of the Six Nations of the Grand River) and Ehren "Bear Witness" Thomas (of the Cayuga First Nation). Since they first formed in 2008, ATCR have established their voice in a vital contemporary indigenous rights movement known as Idle No More. Their most recent album, We Are the Halluci Nation, features contributions from rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), and Polaris Prize-winning singers Tanya Tagaq and Lido, among others. An enduring testament to the importance of indigenous culture, ATCR “promot[e] inclusivity, empathy and acceptance amongst all races and genders in the name of social justice.”
In collaboration with transmediale, CTM continues its critical engagement with the artistic and social potentials of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Young Paint has been progressively learning and emulating the shadowy, unpredictable, UK bass- and rave-inspired music of Darren J. Cunningham, aka Actress. Over the course of 2018, the AI-based character has spent time programming and arranging Cunningham’s sonic palette, learning not only how to react to his work, but also to take the lead with the occasional solo. A life-size projection of Young Paint working in a virtual studio parallels Cunningham’s performance on stage, visualising their collaboration. The duo released a mini-album this October via Werk__Ltd. (a new collaborative label between The Vinyl Factory and Actress), which delivers a sneak peak of these improvisational ventures. This two-night appearance at CTM 2019 / transmediale 2019 Collaborative Concert will be a world premiere event, marking the first time that Young Paint will perform live in collaboration with Actress on stage.
CTM 2019 will also explore tensions between past, present, and futures via multiple artistic practices, including that of Breton piper Erwan Keravec, who has been weaving folk lineages of bagpipes into contemporary music. With his most recent “Sonneurs” project, Keravec has invited composers such as Wolfgang Mitterer and Susumu Yoshida to explore how the cultural and sonic identities of the Breton bagpipe family can be reshaped. The series features two of Britanny’s historic piping instruments alongside the Scottish bagpipe (a relative newcomer to Brittany), and the trelombard, ultimately forming an unconventional ensemble. In Keravec’s words, “Perhaps, one day, this ensemble will become part of the Western erudite music tradition – who knows?”
Presenting his alchemical research on the influence of nature on culture is Austrian artist and composer Stefan Fraunberger. His work touches on time, periphery, memory, and transience – as evidenced in his Quellgeister research. The series has developed through archeological sonic research on semi-ruined organs discovered in saxon churches in Transylvania. Fraunberger sees these instruments in the liminal areas beyond nature and culture, reinforced by their location in cultural deserts of the European present. Fraunberger’s recordings focus not on preservation, but rather on speculation, as he considers the identity of objects as they become less tied to human significance.
The Iraqi artist, musicologist, and Nawa label head Khyam Allami will premiere Kawalees: Part II. Wary of technology’s Western bias, Allami has been researching and developing Comma, a new plugin for Ableton Live that aims to open the DAW up to artists working with Middle Eastern musical traditions. Finding popular music software exclusive of much Arabic music, Allami focuses on Arabic microtonal modes, using Comma to enable a new pathway between Middle Eastern tonality and contemporary electronic performance. Rooted in Allami’s Comma software, Kawalees is one outcome of the his ongoing research on such cultural asymmetries, and his persistence to balance them.
The world premiere of “Perceptual Geography”, a new piece by Thomas Ankersmit, is inspired by and dedicated to Maryanne Amacher, one of the most uncompromising and persistent sound artists. Marking 10 years since the sonic pioneer’s passing, the three-dimensional composition is rooted in Amacher’s extensive research on perception, psychoacoustic phenomena, sound spatialization, aural architecture, and in expanding the role of the listener. The piece will be presented alongside a performance from London-based composer and cellist Lucy Railton, who bridges electroacoustic and modern classical lineages. Her debut album, Paradise 94, was released via Modern Love in 2018, and weaves together archival, location, and studio recordings. Railton’s detail-oriented, convention-confounding approach imagines how sonic cultures evolve, mutate, and persist; “you can only properly begin to f*ck with something from the inside once you truly know it.”
CTM is proud to continue our partnership with Iran’s SET Festival by hosting several works developed and presented under the SET x CTM umbrella this past summer in Tehran. Noise techno duo Temp-Illusion will appear alongside the presentation of a new piece for electronics and small acoustic ensemble by Rabih Beaini and Pouya Pour-Amin. Beaini, otherwise known as Morphosis, boasts plenty of experience in the techno and experimental/improv worlds, and Pour-Amin is a Tehran-based composer and multi-instrumentalist. A second new collaboration between Paris-based duo 9T Antiope (Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani) and visual artist Rainer Kohlberger will also see its Berlin premiere. Titled “Nocebo”, a term for when a patient’s negative expectations cause their treatment to have a more negative effect, the work “recounts the stories of beings, who have given up, forcing themselves into complete isolation.” Through visuals, sound, and text, the artists explore images inside the brain of a comatose being, reflecting on their experiences of having loved ones stuck in a vegetative state.
Following the release of new record Siblings on RVNG, Colin Self will perform live with a choir and string ensemble. The record marks the final chapter of his speculative sci-fi operetta series, Elation. Inspired by the work of seminal feminist theorist Donna Haraway, Siblings imagines new forms of kinships, and formulates methods of collective persistence amidst environmental destruction.
Also vocal about the political potentials of music is Riobamba, who is part of Discwoman’s formidable roster. The Ecuadorian-Lithuanian DJ’s exuberant style of mixing has been described as “exalting, joyous, [and] sexy” (The Fader), and can be relied on to bring heat to the dancefloor. With her label and agency APOCALIPSIS, Riobamba creates visibility for those “ni de aquí/ni de allá” (not from here, nor from there), showcasing Latinx artists, and allowing them to create their own kind of representation.
Another Discwoman affiliate, DJ Haram throws down for Jersey, Philly, and Baltimore with club and booty bounce sets, but has also been known to pay homage to Middle Eastern dance music and DIY noise cultures. The Philadelphia-based artist is known for curating fundraiser party series (f)LAWLESS, DIY hip hop night Gas, and monthly radio show RAGE RADIO on RINSE FM London. Together with poet and musician Moor Mother, Haram is also part of 700 Bliss. Their debut release, Spa 700, pairs DJ Haram’s distinctive lo-fi productions with Moor Mother’s impassioned strain of doom-poetry. The duo are now working on an LP, which is to be released next year.
Kai Whiston is a young artist known for ferocious, dark, yet playful productions shaped by hard, bassy sounds such as dubstep and bassline. Whiston has released via labels TAR and Big Dada, and collaborated with artists such as Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, South London MC BUCHANAN, and experimental designer Sam Rolfes. The 19 year-old producer will release his debut LP, Kai Whiston Bitch, later this month.
The enigmatic Eartheater is known for an extensive vocal range, a singular approach to production, and a love for the pageantry of performing. Previously having performed as Alexandra Drewchin, as well as with Greg Fox as Guardian Alien, Eartheater is the newest and strangest incarnation of Drewchin’s musical ventures. Her most recent album IRISIRI (released on PAN) is rooted in the theme of “curiosity liberates infinite truth,” or C.L.I.T. – a mantra that has been central to her experiences as an autodidact.
Producer and DJ Mina will be “bringing sunshine to the club” (FACT). Displaying an affinity for low-slung rhythms, the UK-based artist released EP Sentah via independent Portuguese label Enchufada in 2017 - a release that drew from UK funky, dancehall, afrobeats, and other syncopated sounds. Mina can be found working with artists such as Don Sinni, Gafacci, and perhaps most famously, MC Bryte. The Ghanaian MC will join her in delivering Panorama Bar with a crucial dose of warmth and joy.
CTM 2019’s closing concert will present Curl - a label, community, and collective formed by Brother May, Coby Sey, and Mica Levi. Brother May is an MC and vocalist known for his warm, joyful style. NTS Radio regular Coby Sey released EP Transport for Lewisham via Whities in 2017. Mica Levi, also known as Micachu, is known for her work with The Shapes (now Good Sad Happy Bad), as well as for acclaimed film scores for Under the Skin (2013) and Jackie (2016). Making her Berlin debut is R&B-influenced singer and frequent Levi collaborator Tirzah. Her heartfelt and intimate LP Devotion was released in August on Domino, and described as a “compelling vision of what imperfect pop music can be” (Pitchfork). Completing the lineup is restless sonic provocateur Yves Tumor, associated with unpredictable live shows and a dynamic discography. He is known for his 2016 LP on PAN, Serpent Music, and more recently for Safe in the Hands of Love, his debut record for Warp. Described as “primal, beautiful, and beseeching” (Pitchfork), the album presents a bizarre take on distorted pop.
The CTM Radio Lab is dedicated to exploring the pairing of the specific artistic possibilities of radio with the potentials of live performance or installation. This year, it will support new work from Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman and Israel Martínez. The two works will premiere at CTM 2019, before being broadcast in Deutschlandfunk Kultur’s Klangkunst programme and by the ORF Austrian Broadcasting Service.
The MusicMakers Hacklab, hosted by Peter Kirn of CDM, is a performance laboratory that aims to invent tools and strategies for improvised play. With this year's theme of "Adaptation", the Hacklab invites artists to work together to make new and unplanned collaborative performances on this theme of adaptation. How can we work together to generate rather than compete for resources? How can music be a speculative medium for sustainability at a time when we face now-inevitable shifts in the world's politics and climate? Can we imagine interactions with one another that propagate rather than consume?
An open call, with a deadline of 2 December, is available now.
The Research Networking Day (RND) is an exchange platform for students and researchers from different European graduate and postgraduate programmes traversing the fields of audio, arts, media, design, and related theoretical disciplines. It seeks innovative and critical submissions from all areas of study addressing the scope of CTM 2019’s Persistence theme. Selected candidates will give short presentations in English at CTM 2019. Unfortunately, we cannot grant any funding for travel and accommodation, but participants will receive a festival pass.
Interested applicants should email a 200 word (max.) proposal to rnd@ with a subject line of "RND Persistence". The deadline for submissions is 2 December. ctm-festival.de
As in previous years, CTM Festival will take place parallel to and in collaboration with transmediale – festival for art and digital culture, which will hold its 32nd edition. In the weeks before the two festivals, the 9th edition of Vorspiel, a city-wide programme in which over 45 Berlin-based initiatives and venues invite the public to a series of exhibition openings, performances, interventions, artist talks and special events, will be launched on 18 January. An open call for Vorspiel proposals is open now, until 23 November 2018.
Stay tuned for the second CTM 2019 announcement in late November. The full CTM 2019 programme will be available in January 2019.