A special series of events at CTM.13 – The Golden Age shines a spotlight on the notion of a golden-age of rave, with the day-programme panels "The Death of Rave" and the night-programme "Rave Undead" events.
As embodied by V/Vm's 2006 "The Death of Rave" project, as well as the discourses in recent years of the "hardcore continuum", "hauntology" and "retromania" (mainly proposed by Simon Reynolds and Mark Fisher), the period of the late 1980s and early 1990s has received particular attention in the UK and Germany recently. In the UK, the music of artists such as V/Vm, Burial, Zomby, and more recently Lee Gamble's "Diversions 1994-1996" amongst others, indicates a tendency of sonic excavation of this period. In Germany, such direct citations are perhaps less tangible, but 2012's publication of "Der Klang der Familie" by Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen reinvigorated debates about Berlin's techno scene in the early 1990s, and faced with the threats of GEMA-reforms, Berlin's club scene is forced to confront the state of play now.
Under the titles "The Death of Rave" and "Rave Undead", the theme of a bygone golden-age of rave are opened to question the past, present and future of music. At "Rave Undead I" Mark Leckey's 1999 cult video art piece "Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore", whose soundtrack was recently released on the Boomkat sub-label "The Death of Rave", will be screened on Tuesday 29th Feb in HAU 2. Theo Burt of the Automatics Group conducts a unique resurrection of early 90s, particularly Eurotrance rave anthems. Lorenzo Senni performs in support of his recent Quantum Jelly LP, a project deeply informed by 90s hard trance and a fascination of its sonic mechanics.
On Friday 1st Feb at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, three panel events attempt to discuss these ideas on a theoretical level. "The Death of Rave pt.I – UK" sees Alex Williams (theorist, co-author of "Folk Politics") who will give an introductory presentation, Mark Fisher (blogger as K-Punk, author of "Capitalist Realism"), Steve Goodman (aka Kode9, Hyperdub label-owner and author of "Sonic Warfare) and Lee Gamble (computer musician, member of CYRK, former pirate radio DJ) in a discussion moderated by Lisa Blanning (Electronic Beats, formerly The Wire). The work of the CCRU (Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit) – of which Fisher and Goodman were original members – as a specific and particularly productive intersection of rave and philosophy is also a subject of discussion.
"The Death of Rave pt.II – Berlin" puts the focus on Berlin's unique techno scene, which arose and grew prolifically after the fall of the wall in 1989. After an introductory presentation by Felix Denk (co-author of "Der Klang der Familie", editor of Zitty), a discussion with panel members who played various roles in Berlin's scene will take place; with Alexandra Droener (half of DJ-duo Sick Girls, freelancer for De:Bug), Johnnie Stieler (co-founder of Tresor, Tekknozid, currently runs Horst Club), Ulrich Gutmair (journalist and author of "Der Sound der Wende") as well as Tom Lamberty (head of Merve publishing house), who is invited especially to discuss the somewhat neglected writings on techno by the anarchic media theorist QRT (Markus Konradin Leiner). A translation of a section of “Tekknowledge, Tekknologic, Tekgnosis – Ein Theoriemix” from German into English, originally published on Merve in 1999 can be found here (coming soon).
The third panel is a cooperation with the newly invigorated Virtual Futures conference, which originally took place the University of Warwick 1994-1996, received its first revival in 2011 with its next edition later this year in 2013. The panel "The Future of Music" revisits a 1995 panel of the same name; Luke Robert Mason (director of Virtual Futures, researcher in technology and cyberculture) and Dan O'Hara (philosopher of technology, co-founder of Virtual Futures) talk to Christoph Fringeli (datacide magazine, Praxis records, co-runs Sub/version records) and Tony Marcus (writer, who covered dance music and rave 1991-2001 in i-D and Mixmag), the last three were original participants from 1995. Spanning 1995 to 2013, from a time in which cybercultural narratives were considerably different, futurisms and technological thinking are more fundamentally brought into question.
Finally, a specially commissioned audio-visual piece by 0rphan Drift, a collaborative artist and hive mind formed in London in 1994, entitled "You Its Eyes 94-13" will be screened. A remix of their rave-inspired works from the mid-to-late 90s, with sound from 0D remixing early CCRU and Kode9 audio from the "Syzygy" events in 1999, this final event of the day is an immersive meditation on rave, techno culture and its posthuman potentialities.
To round off these events, the "Rave Undead II" event in Berghain mixes old and new, with contemporary positions which relate variously back to rave culture. A full program lasting until the early hours, opening with Boomkat's Conor Thomas, head of "The Death of Rave" label, a live-set by Downwards' new signing Samuel Kerridge, a special hardcore set from techno-maestro Shed, ascetic electronics of young UK talent Powell, "rave slime" offensives from Spain's EVOL, a live set of Andy Stott's avant-techno, original UK rave warfare from Mark Archer of Altern8 (who we caught up in this Q&A) and gothic industrial of Lower Order Ethics.
With particular thanks to James Leyland Kirby, Conor Thomas, Mark Leckey, Luke Robert Mason, Dan O'Hara, Maggie Roberts, Mark Fisher, Felix Denk and Steve Goodman, to the writings of Simon Reynolds, Kodwo Eshun, Sadie Plant and Nick Land, as well as to all participants.