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Music & clubs

CTM Festival 2024: The artists and performances to catch this year

The theme of CTM Festival this year is "Sustain". Check out this guide to some of the most interesting acts.

crys cole. Photo: ctmfestival

CTM Festival is a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar, showcasing experimental art and music across a variety of exciting spaces in the city. This year, it should be noted, the annual festival has got caught in the crossfire of a culture war, with several artists withdrawing following Berlin’s (aborted!) introduction of a controversial new funding clause.

But the show must go on – and there are plenty of great projects at CTM, the theme of which this year is “Sustain”. Check out our guide to what to see at this year’s festival. 

January 26th 

Oceanic Refractions

Photo: Laisiasa Dave Lavaki

To kick off this year’s CTM festival we recommend heading straight to Oceanic Refractions, an immersive installation running throughout the festival in Silent Green’s Kuppelhalle. This unforgettable and all-encompassing sensory experience is the culmination of years of research and discussion with indigenous communities on the continent of Oceania. It explores ideas of kinship, self-determination and care in the face of global ecocide; a powerful and rare foregrounding of indigenous voices on environmental issues. 

  • Silent Green, Kuppelhalle, through Feb 4, details

The Three Sound of Revolution

Artwork and photo: Pisitakun

Multidisciplinary artist Pisitakun is a significant figure in Thailand’s anti-monarchy movement. As part of CTM’s opening club night, the artist is taking over Berghain Säule with his long-term project ‘The Three Sound of Revolution’. Exploring the liberating and unifying potential that is opened up when the soundscapes of protests and parties combine, the event will include a range of artists coming together to create a euphoric mix of dance music and defiance. Featuring a participatory protest karaoke session and the chance to make your own screenprints using Pisitakuns designs, this is an opportunity to get involved in the rhythms of revolution.

  • Berghain Säule, 23:59 – 07:00, details

January 27th

HJirok / Ben Frost feat. Greg Kubacki & Tarik Barri

Ben Frost. Photo: Salar Kheradpejouh

HJirok is a project exploring the devastating effects of climate change in the Iranian-Kurdish region and the Iraqi-Kurdish border area, where water is running out. A fictional water spirit, artists Hani Mojtahedy and Andi Toma use the figure of HJirok to remind us of the importance of choosing each other over conflict and the need to return to nature in order to do this.

Following HJirok, artist and composer Ben Frost will be appearing alongside Greg Kubacki of the US mathcore band Car Bomb in a performance that tests the boundaries of listener comfort. Playing with extremes of pitch and volume, prepare to be thoroughly provoked by their experimental work.

  • Silent Green 2, Betonhalle, 19:45 – 22:15, also on Jan 28th, details

January 28th


Osmium Live at Unsound. Photo: Maliski

In a performance that probes how organic sounds blend into the sounds of machines, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Sam Slater and James Ginzburg play specially built, mechanised instruments, which then continue playing themselves. Indonesian vocalist Rully Shabara responds to the feedback of the instruments, creating new rhythms with his extended vocals. A fascinating, constantly surprising piece of work, not to be missed.

  • Silent Green Betonhalle, 18:00 – 19:00, details

January 29th

One Leg One Eye / Jules Reidy

One Leg One Eye. Photo courtesy of the artist

Long interested in how traditional sounds and lyrics can unnerve a listener, Ian Lynch brings his voice and the Irish Bagpipes to this special performance as One Leg One Eye. Also featuring guest visuals from the acclaimed Berlin director Lukas Feigelfeld, this melancholy and moving multimedia experience is uniquely transportive. Also catch Jules Reidy, who opens the show in support of their latest album Trances on Shelter Press, engaging with the cyclical movement of grief.

  • Radialsystem Halle, 21:00 – 23:00, details

January 30th

Resynthesising Identities, Discussions and Sonic Intervention

Photo: aldanaduoraan

This session explores ‘resynthesis’ as a tool for rebuilding connections among the indigenous communities who were colonised by the Russian Empire. Featuring artists, researchers and musicians, this will be a fascinating insight into the underground sonic practices that have continued to sustain themselves in the face of rampant imperialism. 

  • Radialsystem Saal, 15:00 – 18:00, details

January 31st

And I feel dread and I feel Love, Reimagining Early Modern Music at the End of Times

Heinali, pictured here with Kristyna Kosikova. Photo: meetfactory 

Heinali is a Ukrainian composer and sound artist whose work reimagines mediaeval music with a modular synthesiser. In this artist talk Heinali will explore the pleasure of working with Early modern music, as well as the temporal complexities that it opens up. What does it mean to use modern technology to recreate Early Modern sounds, especially sacred sounds? This is a fascinating talk that provokes all kinds of questions about the present and the past and what happens when we exist in both.

  • Radialsystem Saal, 14:30 – 15:30, details

February 1st

Sounding the non-human

Felicia Atkinson. Photo: courtesy of artist

This artist talk accompanies the premiere of Through the Thinking Iceberg, a project exploring the idea of entering into dialogue with inanimate entities. Atkinson, along with sound artist crys cole, will be in conversation with media and art scholar Daniel Irrgang, discussing their different artistic approaches to the complex and fragile interconnectedness of everything on earth. Catch the performance of the project itself, which will also feature abstract guitarist Jules Reidy, on February 3rd at 20:00 in Volksbühne.

  • Radialsystem Saal, 15:30 – 16:30, details
  • Through the Thinking Iceberg premiere, Feb 3rd, Volksbühne, 20:00 – 21:30, details

On the Edge: Ireland, Rave and the Periphery

Photo: IMAGO / Pond5 Images

This fascinating panel discussion explores what it means for music creation when you are from a place that inhabits the peripheral. DJ and writer Kate Butler is joined by rapper Hazey Haze, DJ Laura O’Connell (aka DJ Lolz) and Dara Smith (one half of the electronic duo Lakker) to probe the specifics of the Irish experience in relation to artistic creation, and what this can tell us about the relevance, or otherwise, of location when making art in a post-digital world.

  • Radialsystem Saal, 17:00 – 18:00, details

February 2nd

Quantum Computing and Sound: Talks and performances on quantum tech and music

Eduardo Reck Miranda, who will be hosting parts of the session. Photo: U (BQT) LAB

Does the phrase “quantum computing” send a chill of confusion down your spine? Well this series, hosted by the Goethe Institut’s ‘Studio Quantum’, features talks and performances that aim to demystify the concept of ‘Quantum Music’ and open up possibilities for everyone’s creative practices, no matter your experience.

  • Radialsystem Saal, 15:00 – 18:30, details

February 3rd

The Sweetness of Coming Undone – talk and book launch

Photo: IMAGO / Seeliger

Luis Manuel Garcia-Mispireta’s new book gives academic reverence to the highs and lows of the ‘night out’. This talk hones in on a chapter titled “The Sweetness of Coming Undone”, in which Garcia-Mispireta discusses the utopian potential of the “rough” night; when we succumb to the pleasure of completely unspooling and losing any attachment to the need to keep it together. An incredible new insight into how we engage with ourselves and our communities, Garcia Mispiretas’s book will lend your hangover a newfound profundity.

  • Morphine Raum, 18:00 – 20:00, details

RSO Floor 2 with FBM

MSJY. Photo: je11y_beans

Femme Bass Mafia is a collective dedicated to creating safer spaces for women, trans and non-binary people to share visions of bass music. They will be taking over RSO’s Summe Floor along with some very special guests on Saturday night. Expect high-energy joy at this event that foregrounds some of the city’s best DJs.

  • RSO. Berlin Summe, 22:30 – 08:00, details


Still from film courtesy of Marco Donnarumma, 2023

Niranthea is a hybrid short film exploring ideas around deafhood. Born of 5 months of communal research with a group of 6 d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, the film sets out to reflect on the need to unlearn normative ideas of sound and body technology. Niranthea expands on Donnarumma’s performance piece Ex Silens, which is also being shown at CTM as part of the concert programme.

  • Radialsystem Saal, 15:00 – 16:30, details
  • Ex Silens, radialsystem saal, Feb 2nd, 21:00 & Feb 3rd 18:30

February 4th

Research Networking Day

Research Networking Day at Kunstquartier Bethanien (Studio 1), Photo: Udo Siegriedt

The Research Networking Day is an exchange platform for graduate or postgrad students, along with independent artists conducting self-guided research. Throughout the three sessions, expect talks on AI voice cloning, accessibility in sound and video art, and the value of raving in regions facing conflict, plus much more. This is a unique chance to engage in a profound knowledge exchange with some of the world’s leading experts in their fields. The perfect way to round off a thoroughly thought-provoking CTM!

  • Sounding AI: radialsystem Saal, 12:00, details
  • Embodied Listening: radialsystem Saal, 13:50, details
  • Locating Sounds: radialsystem Saal, 15:40, details

Closing Concert

Aïsha Devi. Photo: Cristian Andersson

If you’ve still got more in you, then you can properly bid farewell to this year’s festival at the closing concert. The performance features Aïsha Devi in support of her new album Death is Home, a sonic manifesto for healing.There will also be a performance by Petra Hermanova, Jon Eirik Boska and Elizaveta Suslova, who combine folk and sacred musical techniques in their ode to death and loss. We promise it will be a cheerier way to end the festivities than it sounds!

  • Volksbühne, 20:00 – 22:00, details