Berlin Current included commissioned work as part of its aim to support local emerging talent and new sounds.
In 2015, CTM commissioned one work for its CTM 2015 Closing Concert on Sunday 1 February.
by Mumdance, Logos, and Shapednoise
“The Sprawl” is a new collaboration between Berlin Current supported artist Shapednoise, together with Mumdance and Logos. The commission, incorporates Shapednoise's focused noise and sound design into the UK dancefloor influences of Mumdance and Logos, producers who have been exploring the outer realms of grime, bleep, hardcore, and more.
The name "The Sprawl" is a reference to a trilogy of cyberpunk novels that William Gibson wrote, where the entire span of the east coast of the US has melded into a huge one single mass of urban sprawl, like a megacity. Said Logos: "We wanted it to be very industrial and intense but also have a UK angle to it, just so it represents all of our tastes" (interview with FACT magazine).
Premiered at the CTM 2015 Tune Out Closing concert, "The Sprawl" travelled to Sonic Arts Festival in Amsterdam later that month, with further dates following in spring.
In 2013-14, two artistic commissions were selected from 75 applications, and awarded to young Berlin-based musician Owen Roberts, for his project Recycled Hyperprism Plastik for Amplified Chamber Ensemble, and Kathy Alberici, who proposed to create a Sonic Portrait of the Funkhaus Nalepastraße in conjunction with analogue film artist Martha Jurksaitis.
In the spirit of the CTM 2014 festival theme, Dis Continuity, the 2013-14 Berlin Current Call for Works was addressed toward aspiring young music creators in Berlin who channel the experimental and innovative energy of past music pioneers, producing music and sound that defies mainstream musical conventions and breaks new creative ground.
Both projects were mentored by veteran music producer Stefan Betke, and premiered at CTM 2014 Festival to great acclaim.
Sonic Portrait of Funkhaus Nalepastrasse
by Kathy Alberici and Martha Jurksaitis
Multi-instrumentalist Kathy Alberici & analogue filmmaker Martha Jurksaitis present A Sonic Portrait of the Funkhaus Nalepastraße, using a mixed-media approach that captures elements of the history, ecology, and sound and visual environments of the home of the former DDR National Broadcasting Corporation.
Working with tape loops of field recordings, violin, synthesizer, and ring modulator, and joined by repeat collaborators Calvin Xang and Scotch Egg on guitar and bass respectively, Alberici’s musical score is deeply intertwined with Jurksaitis’ combination of archival and original footage projected via three 16mm projectors and a number of homemade optical effects.
Alberici and Jurksaitis explore much more than the unique environment of the Funkhaus – the clash of past and present, the power of aural memory, and music’s potential to change our perception of the visual (and vice versa) all become increasingly present as this slow-building work comes to a thunderous close.
Recycled Hyperprism Plastik for Amplified Chamber Ensemble
by Owen Roberts Ensemble
Owen Roberts’ Recycled Hyperprism Plastik for Amplified Chamber Ensemble is inspired by Edgard Varèse’s influential piece, Hyperprism, written in 1922/23 as a response to the new electric and electronic worlds developing rapidly at the time. The work bridges Varèse’s compositions and contemporary techno productions by highlighting their timbral similarities.
Suitable for performance in a large club space, Recycled Hyperprism Plastik is conceived as a concert work for an inversely amplified eight-piece chamber ensemble that itself comprises some of the most renown and creative instrumentalists in Berlin’s Free Improvisation scene.
Owen Roberts does not arrange techno for orchestral instruments (something that has been tried many times in recent years) but instead embraces the extreme percussive, timbral, and textural possibilities of acoustic instruments as a sound palette for music which drives, grinds, and grooves within the more experimental end of modern techno.