CTM Festival’s 15th edition attempts to explore and map fragments of an alternative or neglected history of electronic and experimental music that still waits to be fully written. Under the title Dis Continuity, the festival will highlight select trajectories of past artistic experimentation, protagonists, and movements offside well-beaten paths, and explore how their ideas have evolved throughout different generations of artists, into the present – or how, when arising in an unreceptive or even antagonistic environment, their ideas were ignored, suppressed, sometimes even purposely destroyed, and eventually forgotten.
Common narratives of music’s radical evolution over the past century usually favour a few exceptional individuals whose achievements are undisputed, and whose stories are used to exemplify music´s major revolutions and transitions in bold strokes. But the fabric of music is of course far more complex; the conspicuous threads of its agreed-upon luminaries are interwoven with countless individual and collective achievements. No less inferior, these achievements spark, carry, and support the main storylines of the history of music, criss-crossing and feeding into one another or running in parallel, and forming nuclei of change and innovation within their own communities and networks. Within this vast interconnected fabric that stretches across times and places, the simultaneous invention of similar ideas in different locations, the local appropriation of new ideas and the resulting broad variety of explorations play an equal role to the sudden jumps of singular discoveries triggered by chance, synchronicity, and serendipity, or to the slow processes of laborious experimentation. In adopting a less hierarchical perspective and in acknowledging this complexity, the number of pioneering figures that have shaped today’s music multiplies rapidly.
By zooming in on a range of musical pioneers, whose curious enthusiasm and pursuit of new, idiosyncratic forms have kept them somewhat off the radar even as their explorations and discoveries continue to exert a too often unacknowledged impact on how we create and experience music today, CTM.14 aims to encourage dialogue between past experimentation and a younger generation of artists and creative minds. In re-evaluating and re-imagining select threads of experimental and electronic music history, Dis Continuity illuminates and contributes to music’s gradual evolution towards an increasingly open and dynamic concept of sound and music that transgresses the still only semi-permeable barriers between scientific research and art, pop and academic culture, and various forms of art and artistic practice.
The festival’s 15th anniversary is also an occasion to reflect on the conditions and threads of its own history, and to address the increased desire for historic references felt at the dawn of a post-digital era.