CTM 2014 - 1st Announcement

CTM turns 15!

The 15th anniversary edition of CTM – Festival for Adventurous Music and Arts – will take place January 24 – February 2, 2014 in different venues across Berlin, including the HAU – Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, Stattbad, and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

Under the title Dis Continuity, CTM 2014 zooms in on a range of musical pioneers whose curiosity and pursuit of new, idiosyncratic forms have kept them off the radar, even while their explorations and discoveries continue to influence how we create and experience music today. In so doing, the festival aims to encourage dialogue between past experimentation and a rising generation of creative minds. The festival's 15th anniversary is also an occasion to reflect on its own history, and to address the increased desire for historic references felt at the dawn of the post-digital era. More information on the theme here.

The festival’s mix of concerts and club events will once again be supported by an extensive daytime program of talks, workshops, exhibitions and more. As always, CTM will be held parallel to and in collaboration with transmediale – festival for art and digital culture which takes place at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

The first wave of confirmed CTM 2014 artists includes:

  • James Holden live [UK] 
  • Charles Cohen [US] with Rabih Beaini [LB] 
  • Cyclobe [UK]
  • Lichens [US]
  • Porter Ricks [DE] 
  • Opal Tapes feat Basic House [UK], Karen Gwyer [UK], 1991 [SE], Lumisokea [BE/IT]
  • Mark Ernestus presents Jeri-Jeri [DE/SN] 
  • Black Manual [DE] 
  • Metasplice [US] 
  • Rodion G.A. [RO] 
  • Erkki Kurenniemi showcase with Mika Vainio [FI], Carl Michael von Hausswolff [SE], Tommi Keränen [FI], Mikko Ojanen [FI], Mika Taanila [FI] 
  • Generation Z : ReNoise – Russian Pioneers of Sound Art and Musical Technology in the Early 20th Century [RU] 
  • Kontakt der Jünglinge [DE] 
  • Chris Salter, Marije Baalman, and Thomas Spier present n-polytope: Behaviours in Light and Sound after Iannis Xenakis [INT] 
  • Kathy Alberici & Martha Jurksaitis [DE/UK] 
  • Owen Roberts Ensemble [DE/UK] 
  • Lukatoyboy [RS] 
  • P.Node [INT]

and many more to come …

James Holden

Witnesses to Border Community label boss James Holden’s DJ performances will attest to the dizzying pull of his sets, which sustain an element of surprise aptly described in FACT Magazine: “After dozens of listens, The Inheritors still feels like it could fall off the rails at any moment, that its wires could trip and the whole album devolve into a mess of feedback that will have you racing to unplug your speakers.” For CTM 2014, Holden will perform a rare live set with Zombie Zombie’s Etienne Jaumet on Saxophone and Tom Page on drums, in support of his new album, The Inheritors, which is based on William Golding's namesake 1955 novel.

Charles Cohen

Charles Cohen is a pioneer of live performance using analogue modular synthesizers, inspiring a community of experimental musicians in his home region of Baltimore / Philadelphia through his mastery of the rare Buchla Music Easel. Cohen’s music combines the spontaneity, energy, and rhythm of free jazz with the sonic possibilities of synthesizers. In his German debut, he will perform solo and in improvisational sessions with several artists he has inspired, including Rabih Beaini (aka Morphosis), who recently released a 3-CD/LP box set of Cohen’s music on his own Morphine Records: the first extensive documentation of Cohen’s body of work. Also inspired by Cohen, US duo Metasplice, who create raw, dirty, and extremely physical rhythms in improvised analogue jams, will perform at the festival on a separate evening.

Cyclobe and Lichens

Co-founded by Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown in the late 1990s, Cyclobe traverse a unique landscape in contemporary hallucinatory music. Thrower and Brown first gained attention for their work in the esoteric musick group, Coil. As Cyclobe they create immersive and prismatic music, a haunted electronic reverie incorporating acoustic instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy and tulum, to evoke intense unfolding vistas both psychotropic and pagan. Despite having played together for over a decade, the groupʼs live performances number only three to date. For their performance at CTM they will be joined by close collaborators Michael J. York (duduk/pipes), Cliff Stapleton (hurdy-gurdy), Ivan Pavlov (electronics) and David J. Smith (percussion), and accompanied by projections created by a number of acclaimed visual artists including Fred Tomaselli, David Larcher and Alex Rose. Brian Eno has said of them, "Cyclobe are sui generis. They are very important in the story of British culture; I think in the future they will be seen as even more important." A new Cyclobe album is due in Spring 2014. Performing within the same programme is Lichens, a moniker used by 90 Day Menʼs singer/bass player Robert Lowe for his solo and collaborative projects. Live, Lichens creates a transfixing experience, mutating and extending his wordless vocals over drones of acoustic and electronic guitars, and percussion.

Cyclobe: "How Acla Disappeared from Earth"

Porter Ricks and Kontakt der Jüngligne

Industrial techno’s popular resurgence is evidenced by the minimalist beats, subsonic bass, noise, compression, and grainy texture of many contemporary releases. Noise techno pioneers Andy Mellwig and Thomas Köner published their groundbreaking work as Porter Ricks between 1996 and 1999, and will return to the stage at CTM 2014 alongside the new school of industrial techno enthusiasts. Thomas Köner will also perform Makrophonie, the first studio album of his Kontakt der Jünglinge project with Asmus Tietchens, to be released end of this year. As with the project name itself, Makrophonie is an obvious, albeit humorous nod to Germany’s most emblematic figure in electronic music, Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose 1964 piece "Mikrophonie I" predated the sound aesthetics of industrial music.

Opal Tapes

In existence since 2012, British-based bedroom label Opal Tapes rapidly created a strong identity through a relentless release schedule of music that thrives in the increasingly grey area between heady clubs and headphone listening. While starting out as a DIY magnetic tape label, Opal Tapes has since expanded to vinyl and digital formats, gathering increased attention as it adds ever more finger-on-the-pulse artists to its roster. Representing the label at CTM 2014 will be label head Stephen Bishop, performing his destructive crushed house as Basic House, as well as Karen Gywer’s galloping avant-techno vortices, the warm off-key synth tunings of 1991, and Lumisokea’s propulsive sound achieved with reel-to-reel tape saturation.

Mark Ernestus presents Jeri-Jeri

Mark Ernestus has laid the foundation for the development of the post-fall-of-the-wall electronic music scene in Berlin with Hard Wax, Basic Channel, and Rhythm & Sound. Over the years, his interest has increasingly shifted toward various African music styles, notably mbalax, which emerged out of West Africa (particularly in Senegal and Gambia) in the 70s as a popular mixture of various regional influences: polyrhythmic drumming, fast rhythm and blues, and Latin elements such as Soca. In 2011, Ernestus travelled to Dakar, Senegal, to produce an acclaimed debut studio album with Jeri-Jeri, a group of ten vocalists and instrumentalists comprised of members of an important clan of drummers led by Bakane Seck.

Jan Werner presents Black Manual

Black Manual was 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).

Rodion G.A.

Rodion Ladislau Roșca formed Rodion G.A. in 1975 with Gicu Fărcaș and Adrian Căpraru, during a period of strict cultural censorship in Romania. The group used Tesla reel-to-reel tape machines to construct a groundbreaking hybrid of electronic music, psychedelia, and progressive rock. Although Rodion G.A. have been formative for the Romanian underground, they were denied further possibilities due to the unreceptive, ideologically-tainted environment. The Lost Tapes, a compilation of remastered original Rodion G.A. reels, was released in May 2013 on Strut Records and renewed interest in their work and pioneering role in communist Romania. Rodion G.A’s appearance at CTM 2014 represents the group’s first-ever performance outside the Iron Curtain.

Erkki Kurenniemi showcase

Another festival programme highlights the work and ideas of Finnish composer, designer, artist, scientist, and experimental filmmaker Erkki Kurenniemi, who developed revolutionary electronic music and performance instruments in the 1970s. His DIMI synthesizers are believed to represent the first digital synthesizers ever made. In collaboration with Helsinki’s Kiasma Museum, CTM 2014 presents original pieces by the composer, and performances by Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio that examine the sonic possibilities of the DIMI-A synthesizer. Mikko Ojanen, a musicologist specializing in Kurenniemi’s body of work, will present Project QRZ, which opens the tape sound library Kurenniemi was building for the electronics studio of the University of Helsinki. Ojanen, Tommi Keränen, and Swedish musician Carl Michael von Hausswolff will each perform their compositions created as part of this project. Films by Mika Taanila and Kurenniemi, and lectures by diverse contributors will give in-depth insights into the life and work of this idiosyncratic artist and inventor.

Erkki Kurenniemi: "Punched tape of my life / with sound, 1967"

The full CTM 2014 programme will be available in January 2014.

Premieres of Commissioned Work

CTM 2014 will include the premieres of four commissioned works.

As part of the CTM Radio Lab, P.Node, created by a French network of artists and hackers, will produce an alternative Internet/radio hybrid broadcast system that rethinks the radio format at the age of the Internet. Walk That Sound by Serbian artist Lukatoyboy uses the commonplace yet often overlooked walkie-talkie to harness available and free frequencies to create a moving urban sound portrait, as participants rove around the city as mobile scouts.

Two further creative commissions were selected through the Berlin Current open call. The 9-piece Owen Roberts Ensemble will perform Recycled Hyperprism Plastik for Amplified Chamber Ensemble, a work that aims to extend the groundbreaking musical language of Edgard Varèse’s 1922/23 Hyperprism to create instrumental techno. Multi-instrumentalist Kathy Alberici and analogue film artist Martha Jurksaitis will present a Sonic Portrait of the Funkhaus Nalepastraße, using mixed-media methods that capture the sonic and historical environments of the former DDR National Broadcasting Corporation.Berlin Current is presented with Berghain, Boiler Room Berlin, De:Bug, BLN.FM, and the Musicboard Berlin.

Exhibition and Installation

Generation Z : ReNoise – Russian Pioneers of Sound Art and Musical Technology in the Early 20th Century

Assembled and curated by Andrey Smirnov, former director of the Theremin Center for Electroacoustic Music at the Moscow State Conservatory, the Generation Z: Russian Pioneers of Sound Art and Musical Technology in the Early 20th Century exhibition (Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien) assembles rare original early sound equipment and explores the fate of researchers, sound experimentalists, and inventors active during a Russian period of revolution, war, and dictatorship at the turn of the last century.


n-Polytope: Behaviours in Light and Sound After Iannis Xenakis (Stattbad) is an installation by Chris Salter (QC/CA) in collaboration with Marije Baalman (NL) and Thomas Spier (DE) that combines cutting edge lighting, lasers, sound, sensors, and machine learning software inspired by composer Iannis Xenakis, who pioneered the use of mathematical models in music.

Transfer Programme

MusicMakers Hacklab: DIY Utopia

Hosted by Peter Kirn (createdigitalmusic.com) and sound artist Darsha Hewitt (darsha.org), the open, collaborative week-long MusicMakers Hacklab laboratory, allows practitioners from a range of disciplines to reconnect with the work of early pioneers in a new context. Participants will get the chance to mix rediscovered analogue and electronic techniques with new, still-evolving digital processes connecting to the Generation Z exhibition. 

More information on the MusicMakers Hacklab programme as well as a call for participant applications here.