Curated by Carsten Seiffarth and Carsten Stabenow of Dock e.V., Sound Exchange began its search for the roots and current state of experimental music culture in Central and Eastern Europe in 2011. The region has a lively, international network of musicians, cultures and festivals. Since the period of transition started in 1981, however, local traditions and their protagonists – especially the underground movements – have partially been forgotten or escaped wider notice as they reinvented themselves.
In a special two-day programme, several Sound Exchange projects pay homage to a series of Eastern European pioneers via performances by younger-generation artists. The first Sound Exchange evening begins with Lithuania’s DIISSC Orchestra, a group of five composers who perform with Soviet-era VENTA synths as well as an eclectic array of appropriated instruments such as disc players, stopwatches, and graphic scores. For their CTM 2014 appearance DIISSC orchestra are joined by special guest musicians Hilary Jeffery, Enikö Ginzeryova, Christopher Williams, and Anthony Buck.
The First Latvians on Mars will present “Dein Bart in Zeit und Raum”, a project dedicated to Hardijs Lediņš, an interdisciplinary composer, performer, and theatre dilettante considered as a cult figure in Latvian non-conformist art history.
The evening extends its explorations into East Germany with Ronald and Robert Lippok, known for their involvement in Roccoco Rot and Tarwater, who revive Ornament & Verbrechen, an avant-garde band they founded in the GDR underground in 1983.
In finale, Jan St Werner presents his new Black Manual project, formed in 2012 after Jan St. Werner heard percussionists Valdir Jovenal, Juninho Quebradeira, and Leo Leandro play at a Candomblé ceremony in Kreuzberg. Together with Andi Toma, with whom Werner had risen to fame through their pioneering 1990s project, Mouse on Mars, Werner mixed this unholy conglomerate of Brazilian Candomblé “voodoo” rhythms into a live performance project and a recently-released album, Mordendo (Brigade Commerz, 2013). The result is a musical marathon somewhere between performance and ritual, a roiling sound and rhythm collage with uncanny spatial dimensions.
CTM’s focus on Central and Eastern Europe includes various panels and film screenings within the festival’s daytime Discourse programme, as well as a variety of talks and film screenings investigating experimentation that surround the Generation Z: ReNoise exhibition on music and technology pioneers in post-Revolution Russia.
The exhibition Experimental Music in Central and Eastern Europe is also on view in the HAU2 throughout the festival.
Sound Exchange I is presented as part of CTM 2014’s Opening Night events, which are supported by the Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and Deutscher Musikrat. The programme is also supported by the Lithuanian Composers’ Union and the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia. The entire Sound Exchange programme at CTM 2014 is presented in collaboration with DOCK e.V.
Black Manual is a collaboration between Jan St. Werner (Mouse On Mars, Lithops, Microstoria) and percussionists Valdir Jovenal, Juninho Quebradeira, and Leo Leandro. While keeping a distance from the cultural aspects of the music, the project explores sounds as pure grammatical elements to explode textural, structural, and temporal possibilities.
The First Latvians on Mars (Latvian - Pirmie Latvieši uz Marsa) is a new wave psychedelic band created as a tribute to the iconic Latvian avant-garde artist, musician and architect Hardijs Lediņš, founder of the pioneering Riga-based Soviet-era artist group, NSRD.
Lithuania’s DIISSC Orchestra, founded in 2008, is a group of five composers who perform with Soviet-era Venta synths. Group members include Jonas Jurkūnas, Antanas Jasenka, Vytautas V. Jurgutis, and Martynas Bialobžeski. The name is onomatopoeic—a skipping CD—in recognition of the principle sound-making machine used in their performances.
Based in Vilnius, DIISSC Orchestra was developed as a vehicle to present and remix the group’s own music, and that of other artists. It has since evolved into a platform to elaborate on their own compositions and those of renowned composers. The group also produces live videos, presents compositions using a variety of disc players, stopwatches, special graphic scores, low-tech devices, and, more recently and with increasing frequency, computers and other electronic instruments. The DIISSC Orchestra presents contemporary music as an “engaging sonic adventure”, eschewing predictability to embrace chance and unexpected outcomes in live performance.
DIISSC Orchestra has played all major Lithuanian festivals as well as Sound Exchange events across Eastern Europe. Their debut album titled D.O. was released via Clinical Archives in 2009. The release included pieces by five composers (Bialobžeskis' "CD in C(D)" for viola and electronics among them). It was recognised as the Best Electroacoustic Work of 2008 at the Lithuanian Composers’ Union Awards.
Their composition “Venta” (2012) is designed for an old electronic instrument. It is intended to show the potential of the Venta in the context of 21st century electronic music by using its acoustic tones as well as the instrument itself.
Ornament & Verbrechen is a project that informs the mythos of the pre-Wende East German underground. Formed in 1983 by brothers Ronald and Robert Lippok, the group was more phenomenon than band, an open system of experimentation with other artists and musicians that was continuous for over a decade.