The festival’s first concert at Berghain brings together two specially-commissioned projects with appearances by two producers who have garnered admiration as iconoclastic creators and musical thinkers. All four present visions informed by technology’s expansive, anxiety-producing, and liberating membrane.
The live audiovisual laser performance “GAD Technologies” is a project made for the CTM 2016 Radio Lab by Marija Bozinovska Jones aka MBJ Wetware. Marija, whose art centres on technology, is active in both London and her native Macedonia. The project sees Jones’s collaboration with J.G. Biberkopf, an emerging Lithuanian producer whose Ecologies EP recently launched Joe Shakespeare and Kuedo’s KNIVES label. The verb “gad” is defined as “to move from one location to another in an apparently random and frivolous manner”. It is also an abbreviation for General Anxiety Disorder. Floating in a virtual realm where cultural markers, gender, position and race are symbolic and arbitrary, and where subjectivity becomes divorced from the constraints of locality, “GAD Technologies” explores fictional geographies by harvesting the overflowing streams of collective imagery.
Emerging polish sound artist Marcin Pietruszewski's multichannel composition consists of a series of experimental articulations between trilingual libretto, procedures for machine speech analysis/ re-synthesis, and computer music. Its conceptual point of departure is a specially conceived text written by Helen Hester, Katrina Burch aka Yoneda Lemma, and Virginia Barrat of the Laboria Cubonics collective, and based on their manifesto “Xenofeminism – A Politics of Alienation“. Through its integration of text, speech and sound synthesis, the work pursues multiple and transitive relationships between ideas, objects and practices and seizes alienation as an impetus to generate new – sonic, conceptual, social or political – worlds. The premiere is co-produced in collaboration with Phonetic Sciences (University of Amsterdam), The Centre for Speech Technology Research (Edinburgh University), and Deutschlandradio Kultur – Hörspiel / Klangkunst, which will air a radio version of the piece later in the year.
Next, young American producer Ryan McRyhew aka Thug Entrancer, who mines Chicagoan tropes of juke, footwork, and ghetto and acid house to create resolutely contemporary, cross-genre dance music, plays a set enhanced by live visuals. His 2015 “microjuke” LP Death After Life was released on Daniel Lopatin’s Software Recording Co. to wide critical acclaim.
Last but not least, South London’s Visionist, a leader in the second wave of a UK soundsystem culture, takes the stage together with AV artist Kevin Bray. His signature futuristic, liquid grime has gained enormous traction since the release of a series of EPs and singles on Ramp, Leisure System, and Lit City Trax. His 2015 Pan debut, Safe, refined a sound constructed with glacial synths, ballistic percussion, and eerie, tightly manipulating sampling.
Throughout the evening, video work “The Great Puddle” by duo Graw Böckler is on display in the ground floor entrance hall. Generally shallow enough to walk through and with a tendency to gather on roadsides on rainy days or from backed-up sewers, the non-transparent water in puddles hide all sorts of objects - from dangerous items like broken glass, to rubbish or small lost knickknacks. Graw Böckler invited friends and acquaintances in different cities such as Novosibirsk, Valencia, Gotland, London, Berlin or Buenos Aires to take a swim in these transient pools, creating an urban recreational activity that also brings back childhood memories of rainy play. The project was supported by Goethe-Institut Novosibirsk, the SoCCoS network and the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Graw Böckler is the joint project of Berlin-based artists Ursula Böckler and Georg Graw, who together and independently work across the popular formats of video and still photography. In collaboration since 1997 and longtime affiliates of CTM Festival, the pair specialise in making music videos and loops, experimental films, and unauthorised commercials.
Marcin Pietruszewski is a Polish composer currently based in Edinburgh. He works largely with synthetic sound and uses compositional techniques developed in contemporary electroacoustic and computer music. He also engages with non-musical disciplines such as computational linguistics, mathematics, dance or design.
Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf works within the paradoxical relationship between club music and art music. Assembling a collage spanning a vast range of influenses from dark ecology, sound studies, architecture, media theory, existentialist movements, post-dramatic theatre, the work of Ryan Trecartin, grime, musique concrète and more, Biberkopf doesn’t miss a chance to provoke.
As Thug Entrancer, Colorado-based composer Ryan McRyhew mines Chicagoan tropes of juke, footwork, and ghetto and acid house to create resolutely contemporary, cross-genre dance music.
Marija Bozinovska Jones explores links between social, computational, and organic architectures. Her work revolves around technocapitalist amplification and through her proxy MBJ Wetware, often probes selfhood: from subatomic level to multitude networked presence on planetary scale and beyond. Unpacking cryptic ways of forging subjectivity, she contemplates a myriad of behaviours in biological and other complex systems.
If we're in the midst of a second coming of UK soundsystem culture, South London producer Visionist is leading its resurgence with his future-looking liquid grime.
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