Longtime collaborators CTM – Festival for Adventurous Art (Berlin) and Skaņu Mežs (Riga) present a showcase that gives a first glimpse into CTM’s current Dis Continuity project.
Dis Continuity highlights select trajectories of past artistic experimentation, protagonists, and movements, and explores how their ideas have evolved throughout different generations of artists into the present. Within the program at Skanu Mežs, celebrated 20th century minimalist composer Phill Niblock is joined by Stephan Mathieu and KTL. Stephan Mathieu, a creator of digital minimalist soundscapes and compositions, continues to develop certain conceptual, technical, and aesthetic ideas initiated by Niblock. Having already interpreted Niblock’s work, and having performed at Experimental Intermedia – the very space in New York in which Niblock used to host many like-minded artists of various generations and subcultures – Mathieu will perform in support of his latest album, The Falling Rocket (Schwebungen, 2013), whose densely shifting, overtone-rich sound cluster evokes parallels to Niblock’s style of performance. A long-running collaboration between guitarist Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) and Peter Rehberg, KTL have recently deviated from the metal and noise environment of their earlier works to tackle the musical processes of the European avant-garde, referencing Niblock’s long, complex, and immersive drone techniques. Niblock himself will be accompanied by visuals from a selection of his documentaries.
The showcase at the 3-day festival in Riga also previews the upcoming 15th anniversary of CTM, which will take place January 24 to February 2, 2014 in Berlin. Under the title, Dis Continuity, CTM.14 will assemble luminaries of diverse musical and artistic movements and examine the mark they left on their contemporaries, as well as on current artists that have appropriated these movements as catalysts to produce unimaginably diverse new genres and forms.
Stephan Mathieu is a self-taught composer and performer who works in the fields of electro-acoustics and abstract digitalia. His sound is largely based on early instruments, environmental sound, and obsolete media, which are recorded and transformed by means of experimental microphony, re-editing techniques, and software processes involving spectral analysis and convolution; Mathieu’s works have been compared to the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, and to the work of painters Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly.
Between 2000 and 2005 Mathieu taught Digital Arts and Theory at the HBKSaar University of Art and Design in Saarbrücken, and as a guest lecturer at the Royal Academy of Arts in Göteborg, the Bauhaus University Weimar, and the Merz-Akademie in Stuttgart. During the last decade, he has released over 35 full-length albums and EPs, constituting both solo recordings and collaborations with Akira Rabelais, Taylor Deupree, Robert Hampson, Sylvain Chauveau, David Sylvian, and more. His solo CD, Radioland, was voted one of the best albums of 2008 by music critics worldwide.
Mathieu has interpreted works by artists such as Phill Niblock, Alvin Lucier, Walter Marchetti, Charlemagne Palestine and Francisco Lopez, and has recently launched his own Schwebung label as a platform to release further solo and collaborative work on vinyl and high-quality downloads.
American minimalist composer Phill Niblock has been active in his multimedia endeavours since the mid-60s. While often associated with American Minimal Music and its protagonists, such as La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass, Niblock has always remained somewhat off the beaten path, a maverick presence on the fringes of the avant garde that ventured further into profound reductionism. Niblock’s music is like geological movement, characterized by multiple tones sounding simultaneously for long stretches, so as to create a very dense, seemingly static sound. These microtonal compositions without rhythm or melody define minimalist music in the truest sense of the term. Niblock’s performances usually incorporate film footage or other visual elements such as slides, video, and photography, often combining more than one.
After studying economics at the University of Indiana, Niblock moved to New York in 1958. He first started working with photography and video before composing his first musical pieces in 1968. He attributes this shift to the particularly vibrant and vital avant garde music scene of New York at that time. He began curating the CD series of the Experimental Intermedia Foundation (EIF), along with David Behrman and Lois V. Vierk. He has been involved in EIF since the late 60s, became its producer in the early 70s, and director in 1985. Since then, his shows have been presented at a number of art museums and spaces in North America and Europe, including MoMA, London's Institute of Contemporary Art, and Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. He has received numerous grants from organizations including the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has taught at the City University of New York since 1971.
Niblock should not only be regarded as one of the most interesting composers of our time, but also as a vital organizational personality in the creative life of New York. He has turned his vast apartment into a studio for his Experimental Intermedia project, which continues to regularly host events with up-and-coming as well as established musicians and artists.
KTL is something of a metal/noise supergroup – a long-running collaboration between guitarist Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) and Peter Rehberg, founder of the venerable Editions Mego label. KTL’s haunting, frozen soundscapes lack the full-throttle, confrontational distortion of Sunn O))) and Rehberg's work as Pita, tempering metal discord with drones and dreamy ambiance. Their transgressive compositions regularly clock in at well over 15 minutes, and the duo’s potency is most palpable when unleashed during live performances.
The two originally began working together in 2006 in order to score Gisèle Vienne's theatre piece Kindertotenlieder (“songs on the death of children”), and have since worked extensively soundtracking films and performing live. They have released a stream of studio albums on Editions Mego, as well as a host of live recordings on their own KTL Live Archive platform. Their 2009 LP, entitled (in accordance with previous releases) IV, was recorded in Tokyo by Jim O'Rourke, and was the first of their works to be created for its own sake, without the framework of a theater or film project. Their most recent album, V (2012), delivers a sophisticated sound panoramic far removed from the tempestuous metal and noise of their earlier works, and features Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and digital artwork from Mark Fell.
Funded by the European Commission Culture Programme