CTM’s 20th birthday edition, taking place 25.1.–3.2.2019, continues to crescendo with a number of special projects. An already formidable slew of artists are joined by a series of compelling acts to offer a full spectrum of genre-bending sounds.
A limited number of festival passes remain on sale. Tickets to some individual events are now available, and are gradually being made available throughout the month. Press accreditation is open until 7 January 2019.
Död Mark was initiated in a shady Berlin bar as GUD and Yung Lean’s murky side of the mirror. The manic, uneasy project stumbles along a knife’s edge through a white noise, drum and bass vortex, bred and improvised in the void between “Unknown Death 2002” and “Unknown Memory.” Död Mark is a melancholic, lo-fi journey through unnerving areas filled with the debris of modern music, crossing the border of insanity into dangerous and forbidden soundscapes, and channeling love and loss as something indistinguishable. The duo debut their live show at CTM. Their headlining concert will be supported by self-described “audiovisual terrorists,” IC3PEAK, a provocative duo hailing from Moscow, who have become one of the leading voices for a disenfranchised Russian youth. Their album CKA3KA, released in 2018, is a Russian horror fairytale. Its arc passes through delicate, ethereal textures, frantic trap, and the occasional moment of clarity. The band recently found itself at the center of a campaign by Russian authorities against "undesirable music" with their concerts being shut down and the band detained by police. Danish noise project Iron Sight, the solo project of notorious The Empire Line vocalist Isak Hansen, joins the night with his bristling synths and a voice made from barbed wire.
In her Berlin live debut, Fatima Al Qadiri presents a version of Shaneera, her most recent EP for Hyperdub. The release shows-off Qadiri’s evil, femme alter ego, and joyfully articulates a love letter to evil and benevolent queens around the world. Finding agency in the word “shanee’a,” an Arabic term which means “outrageous” or “foul,” Al Qadiri celebrates queerness and gender defiance via Arabesque melodies and fiery drum arrangements. Appearing on the same bill is Deena Abdelwahed, the innovative Tunisian DJ, vocalist, and producer, who will give a live premiere of her new album, Khonnar (InFiné Music). Khonnar is a manifesto for a generation that does not seek to please or to conform; it follows her acclaimed Klabb EP in its adventurous blend of bass music, techno, and jazz-tinged vocals.
Loke Rahbek is Croatian Amor, who will be performing on the release date of Isa, his forthcoming album on Posh Isolation. The label co-founder’s sixth LP under this alias promises contributions from Puce Mary, Soho Rezanejad, Alto Aria, and Yves Tumor, in addition to an adventurous, considered artistic approach. Alluding to a messianic entity, the album circles themes of tragedy and comfort to animate a sense of hope.
Communities create spaces for social and personal experimentation as much as they offer united platforms for resistance and collective change. In addition to previously-announced nights with Tbilisi’s Bassiani and Berlin’s Through My Speakers crews, queer club icon LSDXOXO will present the inaugural edition of Floorgasm – a queer-centric party focusing on unyielding sounds – featuring Juliana Huxtable and Wallis. LSDXOXO is the House of Vogue ambassador known for 2016 mixtape Fuck Marry Kill (via the influential GHE20G0TH1K), as well as 2018’s Baltimore club-tinted Body Mods. Polymath Juliana Huxtable is a DJ, producer, writer, poet, and artist, responsible for organising NYC’s SHOCK VALUE night, and for authoring Mucus in My Pineal Gland. Berlin-based producer Wallis crafts crunching, caustic techno. Another crew joining the 20th edition is Lecken, the Berlin queer collective championing sex-positive, femme-forward spaces, with residents S Ruston, KILLA, PAARTANZ, and Carmen 16.
CTM returns again to MONOM, Berlin’s Center for Spatial Sound. The programme spans sound sculptures selected from a range of past commissioned works as well as new experiments. 4DSOUND software developer Casimir Geelhoed's composition is a tale of endurance and of hope through persistence. Tiernan Cross will perform “Schema,” a production developed at the Spatial Sound Institute in Budapest that thematises the nexus of consciousness between human and object in the post-biological world, and explores sonic relationships between the self, nature, and technology. Following the release of their collaborative record Negative Chambers, Yair Elazar Glotman and Mats Erlandsson have reconvened to compose a long-form work using electronically treated zithers and harmoniums in combination with extensive tape manipulation. The pair will present the latest iteration of this work with a small chamber ensemble consisting of Lucy Railton, Liam Byrne, Hilary Jeffrey, and Simon Goff. A collaborator within legendary bands Coil and Psychic TV, Drew McDowall will elaborate on his The Third Helix release that unravels the DNA of hallucination. Ambátt is a collaboration between Icelandic artists Pan Thorarensen and Thorkell Atlason, also known as two-thirds of electronic music trio Stereo Hypnosis. In collaboration with Up Node, Copenhagen-based electronic composer and sound artist Sofie Birch, who has released on Infinite Waves, will also perform. The MONOM spatial sound programme closes with a new overnight, durational performance by Berlin-based composer John Connell. Performed entirely in the dark, Interiority works with sonic objects as manifestations of complex, symbolic inner experience. Attendees are invited to submit audio of personal meaning in advance. Woven throughout the evening’s palette, these fragments interact and evolve into a cohesive whole, encouraging participants to re-contextualise the memories and associations they represent.
As in past years, CTM’s programme also explores the noisier, harder, and more sinister sides of music. John Bence is the composer and producer behind the ghostly and ominous Kill (2018). Recorded at ETOPIA, Centre for Art and Technology, Zaragoza, Spain, and released by Yves Tumor’s Grooming label, Kill tells the story of a murder, suicide, and judgment by God through the lens of a tormented protagonist with allusions to early chant, elegies, and anguished confessionals.
Poozy and False Prpht are Virginia duo Prison Religion. Funneling rage, disbelief, horror, and humor into shapeshifting, noisy music, the Halcyon Veil affiliates weave together musical legacies both old and new. Their sound draws on metal, hardcore, contemporary club, industrial, and techno, as heard on O FUCC IM ON THE WRONG PLANET, a commentary on the state of the world today. In Prison Religion’s words, “We're living in Idiocracy. What the fuck is going on?”
SHAPE supported duo Schtum distill oscillating rhythms, noise, feedback, and microtonality into tense, menacing, and abrasive sounds. They distress, re-contextualise, and deform sounds, stretching them towards latent breaking points.
More confirmations explore other genre-bending sides of the club spectrum. TSVI’s highly infectious rhythms can be relied on to propel partygoers toward the dancefloor. Following the release of debut LP Inner Visions, TSVI will play a DJ set that delves into hard drum, UK bass, dancehall, tarraxo, and more.
Violet is the Portuguese DJ, producer, and Naive label boss. Her Togetherness EP marked the fledgling label’s first release, which has since gone on to share music from Eris Drew and Octo Octa, among others. A bastion of her local scene, and a champion for feminist and queer club spaces, Violet co-founded independent online radio station Rádio Quântica, is part of the crew behind techno queer feminist party Mina, and also hosts nights at Lisbon’s Lux Frágil.
Genome 6.66 Mbp affiliate Rui Ho offers a singular blend of Western club influences and Chinese melodies. After breaking out with her debut EP, 戰記, Rui Ho branched out, showcasing her ability to craft lush, ambient atmospheres – as heard on Becoming is an Eventful Situation on Objects Limited. She has been invited to play a fast-paced, breathless DJ set at CTM. Two further artists associated with Shanghai’s Genome 6.66 Mbp will also appear: label co-founder Kilo Vee, and Noctilucents.
Brat Star displays an aversion to both rules and convention. The DJ has played for Spanish rapper Yung Beef, guested on coucou chloé’s NTS Radio show, and promoted her own boundary- demolishing nights. She’ll be joined on the bill by Berlin duo Sick Girls, guaranteed to spin anything weighty, rumbling, and sub-bass heavy.
The CTM 2019 Discourse programme takes shape with a few highlight modules and talks. Speaking about different forms of resilience within music cultures are cultural theorists Robin James, Paul Rekret, Salomé Voegelin, and Brandon LaBelle. A wide range of inputs will also bring together actors in music, culture, and technology to discuss current ideas, concepts, and concrete projects that could enable the preservation of free spaces and a sustainable, open, and pluralistic music ecosystem. Streaming economy specialist Liz Pelly will give a keynote talk. Multiple case-study and discussion sessions will range from innovative strategies in organising festivals with Roskilde and Into the Great Wide Open; through considerations artists can take when looking for the right booking agency as presented by Poly, Discwoman, and Suspension Artists; financial infrastructure that gives agency to creators and communities, such as Blockchain My Art; or a look at the press ecosystem via sustainable journalism platform Civil, and an interactive talk on decoding the language of music writing with Christine Kakaire. Multiple artist talks, public Input sessions within the MusicMakers Hacklab, as well as Research Networking Day presentations by junior and senior researchers traversing the fields of audio, art, media, design, and more, will round out the weeklong Discourse programme.
Stay tuned for the final CTM 2019 programme announcement coming in January.