Berlin Current

Adventurous Sound

Berlin's reputation as a world music capital is undisputed. The city’s signature sounds – house and techno – have defined its sonic landscape at home and abroad for decades. However, as creative minds from around the world continue to flock to the city in search of advantageous conditions for their work, Berlin is witnessing a radical expansion of its musical diversity at the edges of these scenes and beyond. What are these truly adventurous sounds and musics that are currently arising from the city’s maelstrom of simultaneously sounding musical styles and cultures? With Berlin Current, CTM Festival puts an ear to the scene to present new, future-oriented musical ideas from Berlin.

Established in summer 2013, the initiative's five years have supported over thirty emerging Berlin-based musicians through performances within the Polymorphism and n ≠ e (not equal) concert series at Berghain; at festivals and venues such as Unsound, MUTEK.MX, TodaysArt, STUK Kunstzentrum, and CTM; as well as at several Boiler Room Berlin events. Two creative commissions were awarded in 2013, and, following mentorship under veteran producer Stefan Betke (Pole), premiered live on stage during CTM 2014. In 2018, the project will foster dialogue with Southeast Asian music cultures, bringing Berlin-based artists to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for the inauguration of Nusasonic.

Partners such as Berghain, Boiler Room Berlin, and media partners The Quietus, BLN.FM, No Fear of Pop, and De:Bug have supported performances and helped build artists’ profiles locally and abroad. Music technology and production support was provided via special initiatives with Ableton.

Evolving without attachment to notions of fixed geographical identity, the initiative supported a fluctuating group of musicians in order to nurture a fluid panoply of musical voices in Berlin. Be they new to the city or longtime residents, these diverse musicians all contribute to (a) moment(s) in time in a city in flux.

When speaking of pop music, we do not necessarily think of music that is defined by large-scale commercial success, nor music that is popular in the conventional sense. Due to extensive digitization, the music industry crisis, media convergence, and post-digital user behavior, the pop music of today has become more ambiguous and varied than the pop music of 10 or 20 years ago. Diffusing into countless scenes, schools, and niches, the term now suggests a multiplicity of artistic practices that derive from and actively participate in certain cultures of the everyday. Pop is characterized by the tendency to dissolve distinctions among genres, formats, scenes, and styles, moving toward ever-greater hybridity. The spheres of pop, contemporary music, jazz, experimental music, etc. can thus no longer be clearly separated. Berlin Current dedicates its special attention to this nebulous, bewildering, and genre-free zone, in which the most adventurous new musical configurations are to be found.

Berlin Current was made possible by funding from the Musicboard Berlin.