Squarepusher, Dan Deacon, Nene H & Ensemble Basiani and more for CTM 2020

Following our first announcement, we are pleased to release the second wave of artists and projects confirmed for CTM 2020. The festival will run from 24 January – 2 Febuary 2020 across Berlin venues HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Festsaal Kreuzberg, Griessmuehle, Heimathafen, and SchwuZ; and new partners radialsystem and silent green Betonhalle. 

With Liminal, CTM attempts to reflect on music as a space and catalyst for transformation. The festival proposes multiple entry points into its theme by bringing together challenging, hybrid performances and transformative musical experiences. The festival welcomes live shows by Squarepusher and Dan Deacon supporting brand-new albums, a special commission by Nene H and Georgia’s Ensemble Basiani choir; a CTM x Nyege Nyege co-commission with Gabber Modus Operandi ft Wahono x Nakibembe Xylophone Troupe; a number of performances exploring liminality across spiritual, cultural, and conceptual axes, including Raja Kirik, Y-DRA, Jessica Ekomane, Andrea Belfi, and Lyra Pramuk; all-night longform projects at Säule with Frédéric Gies & Fiedel and 3Ddancer; and a wide-ranging club programme showcasing dancefloor oriented sounds from all over the globe with Sherelle, Tomasa del Real, Afrodeutsche, Rizan Said, Cera Khin b2b Lokier, DJ Firmeza, and plenty more. 

Newly-confirmed CTM 2020 acts are:

  • 3Ddancer (Alex the Fairy, Rachel Lyn, Volruptus) [INT]
  • Afrodeutsche – “Amt der Seele” [UK]
  • A.Fruit [RU]
  • Antoine Chessex – “Resounding” [CH]
  • Astrid Gnosis [UK]
  • Andrea Belfi [IT/DE]
  • Cera Khin b2b Lokier [INT]
  • Dan Deacon [US]
  • DJ Firmeza [PT]
  • Frédéric Gies & Fiedel – “Dance is Ancient” [SE/DE]
  • Gabber Modus Operandi ft Wahono x Nakibembe Xylophone Troupe [ID/UG]
  • Jasmine Guffond & Ilan Katin [INT]
  • Jessica Ekomane [FR/DE]
  • Karel van Laere – “The Non-Present Performer” [NL]
  • KG [UK]
  • Lyra Pramuk [US/DE]
  • MNNNKJDE [MX/DE]
  • Nene H & Ensemble Basiani – “Chela” [INT]
  • Raja Kirik [ID]
  • Rizan Said [SY/DE]
  • Sherelle [UK]
  • Squarepusher [UK]
  • Tomasa del Real [CL]
  • Valesuchi [CL]
  • Y-DRA – “No-Brain Dance” [ID]

Also announced are the 2020 MusicMakers Hacklab fellows, selected from an open call.

day-by-day programme preview of currently announced artists is available now.

A limited number of festival passes and tickets to some individual events are on sale. More individual event tickets are gradually being made available throughout the month. Press accreditation is open until 5 January 2020.

Stay tuned for the next CTM 2020 programme announcement coming mid-December.

Second Wave of Artists and Projects

Squarepusher, aka Tom Jenkinson, is the drum & bass and IDM maverick known for dumbfounding live shows, virtuosic bass gymnastics, and an extensive discography. Jenkinson will perform live on the release day of his forthcoming LP, Be Up A Hello. After a 5 year hiatus that has seen him delve into a range of diverse musical projects, Squarepusher returns with the long awaited record, revisiting a bewildering array of vintage analogue and digital hardware—the same equipment that helped him develop his sound in the early 90s. Be Up A Hello nods to the mayhem, joyousness, and abandon of the DIY Essex rave scene that was so formative in the development of Squarepusher.

Baltimore-based composer and producer Dan Deacon has been described as a maximalist, oddball, and everything in between. Following the release of his forthcoming record Mystic Familiar, out January 2020 via Domino, Deacon delivers a live show that is sure to surprise, engage, and confound. “How do you make something solid, beautiful, and built to last in a time of cultural chaos and personal doubt?” The record comprises kaleidoscopic journeys through meandering, glittering synthpop, born out of personal explorations in meditation, self-compassion, and mindfulness.

COMMISSIONED WORKS

Born out of shared obsessions for all things high-octane, fast-paced, and outrageous, Gabber Modus Operandi explode gabber, footwork, grindcore, and noise with a number of Indonesian sounds such as jathilan, dangdut koplo, and funkot—as heard in PUXXXIMAXXX and HOXXXYA. In a unique commission between Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Festival and CTM, the duo are joined by Wahono (of Uwalmassa, a Jakarta-based project that explores connections between contemporary electronics and traditional Indonesian sounds), and Uganda’s Nakibembe Xylophone Troupe, one of the few remaining groups that perform on the embaire—an extremely rare and gigantic indigenous wooden xylophone that is simultaneously played by eight musicians. Performers lock into a hypnotic, relentless polyphonic onslaught that transcends time and place, coalescing into one of the most complex and intriguing sonic forms in East Africa. This commission is supported by the Goethe-Institut and Nusasonic.

Beste Aydin, aka Nene H, collaborates with Georgia’s national choir, Ensemble Basiani, to present new work “Chela,” commissioned especially for CTM 2020 in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Athen. Georgian ancient choir music is one of the oldest traditions of such music, and its legacy is actively rekindled by Ensemble Basiani. Founded in 2000, the choir comprises 16 singers from different parts of Georgia and with backgrounds in traditional folk ensembles. Aydin is a classically trained techno artist, who first began conceptualising the project in 2017. The piece sees her pursue her interests in the commonalities of vocal music—the attitudes and intents shared across cultures, conditions, places, and times. Through collapsing, folding, dissolving, colliding, and weaving together sonic practices both old and new, “Chela” speculates on the non-linearity of time and culture, speculatively drawing out affinities and points of contact between different transformative musical experiences.

A number of artists take over Berghain’s Säule to present longer works which contrast to the programme upstairs, inviting audience members to dive into different temporalities, engage with works more patiently, or experience the progression of a set together with artists. Thursday sees Frédéric Gies and Fiedel present “Dance is Ancient.” Across seven hours of hypnotic techno courtesy of the Berghain resident, attendees are invited to join Gies, who dances throughout the evening, acting as a catalyst for the audience’s participation in dance and trance. The event follows Gies’ “Technosomatics” movement workshop at HAU2 where participants individually and collectively explore their endocrine systems and chakras through dancing, and vice versa. On Friday, 3Ddancer take over Säule following the release of their debut album, great fucking success. Composed of Alex the Fairy, Rachel Lyn, and Volruptus, the trio converge in eclectic modular sets that span electro, techno, acid, industrial, gabber, EBM, hardcore, and beyond.

MNNNKJDE is Mario de Vega and Hugo Esquinca, who will present new work initiated for CTM 2020 Liminal. Gradually progressing from temporal disarray to intricate rhythmic patterns, the piece uses custom electronic instruments that the pair developed together with Juan Duarte and Arnaud Riviére as part of a residency at STEIM, Amsterdam and Les Instants Chavirés, Paris. An interaction between code, voice, raw electronic signals, pattern-oriented structures, and amplified (ir)regularities, the piece plays with tension and elasticity, irritating perception and investigating the physical effects of vibration.

LIVE PERFORMANCES

What is resistance, and how does it shape our tumultuous histories? Two Nusasonic-supported projects examine traditional and current forms of musical resistance in Indonesia. Raja Kirik departs from the tale about the mythical King Menak Jinggo (the Dog King), who is at the centre of a war of narratives, and whose story is still reflected in the folk art of jaranan buto today. A project by electronic composer Yennu Ariendra and multi-instrumentalist and composer J. Mo’ong Santoso Pribadi, Raja Kirik is a result of extensive artistic research into the history of Java, and considers the violence, oppression, and resistance that shaped the island. At the time of Dutch colonialism, jaranan buto, jatilan and other trance dances served the Javanese as an expression of their ardent desire for freedom and their rejection of colonial rule. Today these continue to be developed in village communities as a means of responding to current exploitative conditions by global corporations, among others. Ariendra and Pribadi show how music, dance and ritual still provide narrative means today to assert oneself against foreign rule and violence. In a similar spirit, Ariendra’s solo project, Y-DRA examines the potential for resistance in koplo (or “stupid” in Indonesian), a popular Indonesian music genre that channels the sentiments and experiences of the country's working class. Hybrids of new, vivid, visceral sounds, his album and live show titled “No-Brain Dance” channel koplo’s rhythmic elements alongside techno and IDM to shapeshift between identities and realities, and create individual and collective spaces for resistance.

In a special double-bill, electronic composer Jessica Ekomane and experimental percussionist Andrea Belfi will each perform solo compositions as well as extend a collaboration that was first initiated at Letra/Tone festival earlier in 2019. Ekomane explores the physical affect of sound and the perception of rhythmic structures. Her compositions are at once static and ever changing, creating hypnotic rhythmic complexities through repetitive, harmonic, and psychoacoustic micro-effects. Andrea Belfi is a Berlin based composer who places drums at the centre of his live performances, showcasing an energetic and hypnotic visual listening experience. He artfully blends compelling rhythms on his minimal drum set up with electronic textures and haunting sonic details to create a unique sound world.

Jasmine Guffond presents work from her forthcoming record, Microphone Permission, due out next year via Editions Mego. Continuing her explorations of data sonification and surveillance, Microphone Permission refers to the consent supposedly given by smart device users when installing various apps, inspired by a 2018 scandal in which fans of Spain’s most popular soccer team were, effectively, turned into unwitting spies. Listeners are invited to collectively consider the implications of algorithmic, invasive, and computational listening practices. Guffond is accompanied by Ilan Katin, a Berlin-based artist who works across drawing, live visual performances, and installations.

Antoine Chessex’s work is absorbing, calculated, and caustic. Playing with audio deconstruction and sonic imaginations, Chessex challenges, skirts around, and stretches the capabilities of instruments. With “Resounding,” he plays with circular breathing techniques on the tenor saxophone, processing its output via amps and distortion. Chessex incarnates a doom metal-like maelstrom, pushing the wind instrument to scream, screech, and wail.

What would it be like if, just like a computer, you could switch off your body every now and then? Interdisciplinary performer Karel van Laere presents “The Non-Present Performer.” After encountering various barriers with his initial idea to perform under anaesthesia, van Laere devised a performance in which he surrenders his limp, hypnotised body to a choreographer and three dancers.

Lyra Pramuk is a vocalist, composer, and producer whose work fuses classical vocalism, pop sensibilities, performance practices, and contemporary club culture in what can best be described as futurist folk music. Cross-pollinating various genres and short-circuiting boundaries, Pramuk’s work dynamically sidesteps easy classification. She performs live ahead of the release of her debut album.

CLUB PROGRAMME

Filling out the club programme are artists who push forward dance-oriented sounds worldwide.

Tomasa del Real is the Chilean producer and vocalist credited with “mak[ing] reggaetón hits that put women in the driver’s seat.” (The Fader) Animated by popular music’s ability to bring people together, del Real coined the term “neoperreo” a few years back. “La Reina del Neoperreo,” or Queen of Neoperreo, recently shared TDR, chock-full of low-slung rhythms and syrupy autotuned vocals.

160 star Sherelle can be relied on to deliver fast-paced club heaters across a spectrum of footwork, jungle, and drum & bass. With a formidable reputation already behind her, buoyed by an infamous Boiler Room set, Sherelle is the BBC Radio 1 resident and Reprezent Radio affiliate who runs Hooversound Recs alongside Naina.

Afrodeutsche presents a new live A/V show. Since releasing her debut LP, Break Before Make, via Manchester’s notorious Skam in 2018, she has risen through techno’s ranks. Titled “Amt der Seele,” the show features visuals by Bhatoptics. Together, they rethink the concept of a requiem—a piece of music traditionally composed to honour and commemorate the dead. With “Amt der Seele,” Afrodeutsche takes on the tasks of commemorating her past and contemplating her future.

Glorifying discomfort through a torrent of nu-gabber is Astrid Gnosis, the London-based multi-disciplinary artist, producer, and DJ who “makes the weird and wonderful both engrossing and bizarre.” (Kalt Blut) Singles such as “DROP DEAD” and “Troll” are accompanied by sinister, gothic videos which exhibit Gnosis’ fascinations with religion, dance, folklore, and pagan ceremonies.

KG is the Queen of UK Funky. Her high-energy DJ sets traverse gqom, bass, and all good things in between. Buoyed by her infectious and unique sound, KG has toured all over Europe. She’s known for heaters such as “808,” which came out on Goon Club Allstars; and her collab EP with Scratchclart (aka Scratcha DVA), Touch, which was shared by Hyperdub.

Crafting futuristic takes on jungle, footwork, and halftime, A.Fruit is a sound designer, audio engineer, music producer, and DJ also known as the founder of Get High on Bass, a music blog and club night active in Moscow and St. Petersburg. With past releases on imprints such as Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge, Russian netlabel Hyperboloid, and Hospital Records sublabel Med School, A.Fruit is a part of a new generation of bass innovators.

Rizan Said is a prolific composer, musician, and producer who has contributed to hundreds of Syrian music industry productions, and scores for television and cinema. Said’s live performances catalyse fervent dancing driven by the sounds of the Syrian dabke. He will perform following the release of his second solo record, on Akuphone Records.

Part of a new generation of Berlin techno DJs are Cera Khin and Lokier. Khin is the Lazy Tapes label boss, Rinse FM resident, and Noods Radio regular known for playing all things ravey and unrelenting. Hard-hitting, high-in-demand DJ Lokier unleashes acid, EBM, techno, and other dirty rave sounds.

An affiliate of famed underground São Paulo party Mamba Negra, Valesuchi is a Chilean producer and DJ currently based in Rio de Janeiro. Her debut album, TRAGICOMIC, emerged last month via Mamba Rec. Having previously shared music via Cómeme and Discos Pegaos, Valesuchi crafts dark, smoky dancefloor detonators brim with love, desire, machines, and danger.

Portugal’s DJ Firmeza is the Princípe affiliate known for releases such as Alma Do Meu Pai and Ardeu. The dextrous DJ mostly plays his own music—a practice common to his local scene. “[F]or the Firmeza experience, you should dress to sweat and go see him play.” (Resident Advisor)

day-by-day programme preview of currently announced artists is available now.