Between 30th January and 5th February 2012, the thirteenth edition of Berlin’s CTM (Club Transmediale) festival will be taking over a range of venues in the city. Paired with the Transmediale festival for media art, the two will run concurrently, with a number of crossover events as well as their own individual line-ups.
Both already have significant reputations for fantastic, thought-provoking programmes that avoid treading along established genre lines in favour of a broader, more thematic approach.
The theme for CTM this year is Spectral, a handy jump-off point for a number of performances scattered across venues like the HAU Theatre, Passionskirche and the city’s famed Berghain club (usually more associated with all night techno/house marathons and the ever on-point Ostgut Ton label).
Many of the artists CTM has booked this year work within the space where murky analogue imagery meets the caffeine buzz of internet-era information overload. With that in mind, Spectral is a very timely theme, at a time where the hazy pop of labels like Hippos In Tanks and Not Not Fun attracts a great deal of critical attention (and an equal amount of suspicion) and older genres of electronic music are strip-mined for influence via YouTube.
The line-up in Berghain on 2nd February captures much of what’s going on at the more listener-friendly end of this interface: the main room features Tri Angle Records’ Balam Acab, oOoOO and Holy Other alongside Puzzle and former Vex’d man Kuedo. The real heat is in the Berghain Kantine, though, where a number of Not Not Fun-associated acts take to the stage.
Ital’s upcoming Hive Mind album is one of the most complete explorations so far of the crossover region where web-age lo-fi pop meets the dancefloor. He plays live alongside Stellar OM Source, whose recent acid-flecked proto-techno is similarly beautiful in both form and function (more on those two acts here).
[Click to hear Oneohtrix Point Never on Soundcloud]
Similarly, both James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never perform and take part in a shared discussion panel (Post Traumatic Euphoria, HAU, 2nd February) in the latter part of the week. Their respective Far Side Virtual and Replica albums were among the more interesting of last year, and both ask bold (if sometimes challenging and not entirely aesthetically pleasing) questions of internet’s role in shaping modern art.
Elsewhere, there’s no shortage of bracing dance music and noise-wracked electronics. Mark Fell, Kangding Ray, Byetone and Sendai (a new and viscerally powerful project of Peter Van Hosen and Yves de Mey) play at the Berghain on Tuesday 31st January; on the same night, between 5pm-11pm at the House of World Cultures, you can attend a free opening night and gain insights into this years programme.
In the same venue the following evening, William Bennett’s Cut Hands project graces the stage alongside the excellent Haxan Cloak. And on Friday night (3rd December), the Berghain hosts a formidable line-up: Ben Frost, Mika Vainio, Morphosis, Roly Porter, G.H., Ancient Methods and more, with the Perlon label taking over Panoramabar upstairs.
Other highlights are too many to list, but particularly worthy of a mention are Tim Hecker performing his Ravedeath 1972 album live on a church organ; a performance from elusive drone artist Eleh; Pole, Hieroglyphic Being and Kassem Mosse flying the flag for abstract but deadly dancefloor music on Saturday 4th February; Grouper performing a show entitled Circular Veil; and a rare appearance from composer Catherine Christer Hennix.
About This Post
This post was written by Rory Gibbs for The Quietus, one of the UK’s leading music websites. To read Gibbs’ interview with CTM co-founder Jan Rohlf about the importance of this year’s theme and the festival’s history, click here.
We have 2 x 2 tickets to give away for the performance of the Joshua Light Show with Supersilent (1st Feb) and Oneohtrix Point Never (3rd Feb). To win, just leave a comment on this post naming your favourite Berlin-based experimental music artist.