Music & clubs

CTM: Total entertainment forever

Founded in 1999 as a one-off Transmediale side programme, CTM has become its own beast, engulfing every hot performer, genre and format that could possibly constitute “adventurous music and art”. It's on across the city Jan 26-Feb 4.

Image for CTM: Total entertainment forever
From the conference hall to the galleries to the clubs, the Transmediale and CTM festivals present a genre-blurring, format-spanning reflection on our times. A sister festival to Transmediale, CTM was founded in 1999 as a one-off Transmediale side programme, and has since become its own beast, engulfing every hot performer, genre and format that could possibly constitute “adventurous music and art”. The former electronic music festival is broader than ever this year, taking on the social and political zeitgeist under the banner of “Turmoil” with a clash of all disciplines from art to music to science to dance. Of course, you’ll still hear plenty of bleeps and bloops – like when avant-garde jazz legends George E. Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell take the stage together with Voyager, an early interactive computer invented by Lewis 30 years ago. Also anticipating the rise of the machines is Berlin’s Holly Herndon, whose performance with her vocal ensemble promises to be a highlight of a special AI-focused series that culminates with a commissioned theatrical/choral work by James Ferraro, the New York producer/conceptual artist who puts the “scene” in “Anthropocene”. Over at Bethanien, an exhibition running through April 2 willl explore Uncanny Valleys of a Possible Future; at the CTM opening concert (Jan 27), partipating Polish artists Zorka Wollny and Andrzej Wasilewski expanding on Wollny’s existing artwork “Vox Populi” by triggering the high-voltage sounds of a Tesla coil (think Björk’s Biophilia) with two vocalists. Even more ambitious is Dutchman Philip Vermeulen’s Physical Rhythm Machine_Boem BOem, a massive programmable drum machine that makes noise by shooting balls into boxes. The concerts featuring “real” instruments tend to push their boundaries. If you think you’ve heard all the sounds a cello can make, check out Okkyung Lee; ditto with the percussion played by Ugandan-British collaboration Nihiloxica and Turkish artist Cevdet Erek. It’s all about noise for veterans like Atari Teenage Riot’s Hanin Elias and proto-techno punks DAF, whereas if you prefer a gentler strain of concert experience, Scott Kelly and John Judkins’ acoustic doom combo will suit you perfectly. Dance plays a bigger part this year than in the past. In a three-night programme at HAU2, choreographer Christoph Winkler will tackle the work of the late Ernest Berk with the help of musicians groupA, Rashad Becker and Pan Daijing. New York’s Rashaad Newsome turns vogueing into a multidisciplinary performance art piece in FIVE Berlin, while Berlin club fav Lotic re-teams up with choreographer Roderick George (following last year’s Fleshless Beast) to exploring dance genres’ racial implications in Embryogenesis. Sick of watching other people dance? Whether you want to get down to hometown EDM rebel Boys Noize or determine whether Jason Hou really is the Chinese equivalent of early Skrillex, Berghain/Panorama Bar is the place to be. Don’t miss February 2, which sees a history lesson in gabber and hardcore featuring Dutch turntable legend Darkraver while Berlin’s Perel spins her house-techno blend upstairs. For complete immersion, Christopher Bauder and Kangding Ray’s light and sound installation Skalar (opening Jan 27 at Kraft- werk) looks to be one for the ‘grammers, while a separate “Transcend the Turmoil” programme at Funkhaus’ new surround-sound space Monom will take you into an auditory fourth dimension. Lastly, artist Teun Vonk’s installation The Physical Mind (part of the Bethanien exhibition) just wants to give you a giant hug between two inflatable pillows. After all that, you’ll need it. CTM, Jan 26-Feb 4 | Various venues, see website for full programme