Biosphere performing in Sweden. Photo: Henrik Strömberg.

Biosphere performing in Sweden. Photo: Henrik Strömberg.

Humming and hypnotic, moving from dripping-wet ambient surface textures to pulsing thumps like an alien rave in the next room of your spaceship, the sounds of these three artists and their taste in tracks can pleasantly absorb an evening. We have not one but three four separate mixes, enough experimental electronic sonic diversity that you should feel absolutely free to skip my textual ramblings and queue up some music to hear.

In fact, I actually hope that you don’t know many of the artists featured, as simply encountering sound is a great pleasure – us journalists with our waterfalls of words sometimes only get in the way.

As there are threads interwoven with CTM Festival in particular, I’ve been crossing paths with all three artists lately. I sometimes feel a bit like the latest iteration of the infamous listening stations that once monitored Berlin, most notoriously the United States’ own Teufelsberg, towering above the flat, gray metropolis. That is, I don’t have to go far to tune in some new noises. The musical currents here may or may not have anything to do with Berlin itself, really, but by way of our interconnected world, they do flow through from other corners of the world. And debuting the 2013 festival calendar, Berlin’s CTM Festival and surrounding events in recent days are already kick-starting the calendar of the whole European scene. That includes venues for so-called experimental music, not just the work you’d hear through more commercial channels.

Norwegian artist Biosphere, aka Geir Jenssen, created a murky-beautiful chamber work featuring the sounds of the DDR-built, subharmonic-exploiting 1960s-vintage Subharchord synthesizer last week at CTM. (More on that soon.) Here, we take a listen to a mix crafted from sixteen vinyl releases from giants of electronic sound, including Throbbing Gristle, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Bill Nelson, The Human League, and Pyrolator. The mix was co-produced last month with online art chronicle Secret Thirteen:

Secret Thirteen Mix 054: BIOSPHERE


1. Pyrolator – Minimal Tape 1/8 [Ata Tak, 1979]
2. Dome – The Red Tent I [Dome Records, 1980]
3. Throbbing Gristle – Beachy Head [Industrial Records, 1979]
4. B.E.F. – The Old At Rest [Virgin, 1981]
5. Chris And Cosey – Moving Still [Rough Trade, 1981]
6. Colin Newman – Fish Four [4AD, 1981]
7. The Human League – Toyota City [Virgin, 1980]
8. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Progress/Once When I Was Six [Dindisc, 1980]
9. Throbbing Gristle – Distant Dreams (Part Two) [Industrial Records, 1980]
10. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Six A.M. [Industrial Records, 1979]
11. Throbbing Gristle – Walkabout [Industrial Records, 1979]
12. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – The Hard Way In & The Easy Way Out [Industrial Records, 1979]
13. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Castalia [Alfa Records, 1979]
14. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Perpetual [Industrial Records, 1979]
15. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Thatness And Thereness [Alfa Records, Inc, 1980]
16. Bill Nelson – The Shadow Garden [Cocteau Records, 1981]

Mixing experimental and dance music – and music that’s downright strange that will nonetheless have your hips in motion – Athens-raised, Berlin-based Bill Kouligas navigates his inspirations and the releases on his own PAN Records. PAN was all over CTM Festival, including a lot of the artists here. For me, a particular highlight was American artist Keith Fullerton Whitman, a Berklee grad based in Somerville, Massachusetts. (Keith’s set at Berghain may have been my musical favorite of the entire week, and we had a great time gawking at his modulars and talking about composition and sound design as part of the CDM-hosted MusicMakers Hacklab; editing audio of that now.)

Bill Kouligas.

Bill Kouligas.

For his part, Bill Kouligas does for sound what you’d want a great chef to do for food. In this mix as in the live events he curates, one amuse-bouche follows another, main courses filling without overwhelming.

I could ramble on, but instead there are two really nice reviews, including an exhaustive story by Todd Burns (also of Resident Advisor) for Red Bull Music Academy, with audio, and the interview notes that accompany this podcast.

PAN: An Interview With Bill Kouligas [Red Bull Music Academy]

Juno Plus Podcast 45: Bill Kouligas [with interview]

1. Das Projekt -Δt* ‎Bugo – Schligo ‎(Ata Tak)
2. Rene Hell – Untitled (PAN)
3. X-103 – Thera (Axis)
4. Mnemonists – Gyromancy (Dys)
5. Helm – New Untitled (PAN)
6. Keith Fullerton Whitman – Disingenuousness Ii (Alt Mix) (PAN)
7. Rrose – Wedge (Eaux)
8. Claude Young – Changing Factors (Frictional)
9. Delroy Edwards – When The Glue Won’t Burn (L.I.E.S.)
10. Kyle Hall / Funkineven – Night (Wild Oats)
11. Madteo Feat. Sensational – Very Sweaty Palms (Kassem Mosse Remix) (Meakusma)
12. Metasplice – Decant (Morphine)
13. David Prescott – Walking In Slow Circles I (Generations Unlimited)
14. Willie Burns – The Overlord (The Trilogy Tapes)
15. 69 – Ladies & Gentlemen (Planet E)
16. Lee Gamble – Nowhen Hooks (PAN)
17. Jar Moff – Commercial Mouth (PAN)
18. Theo Parrish – Any Other Styles (Sound Signature)
19. Severed Heads – Gashing The Old Mae West (Ink Records)
20. Objekt – Porcupine (Hessle Audio)
21. DJ Stingray – Imping Is Easy (Unknown To The Unknown)
22. Él-G – Four Acts Amazon (Alter / Hundebiss)
23. Silent Servant – Utopian Disaster (End) (Hospital Productions)
24. Mohammad – Liberig Min (PAN)
25. Pita – Get Out (Mego)
26. A.C. Marias – Drop (Dome Records)

WDM, Weird Dance Music, anyone? You heard it here first. And last.

Slight plug here: Juno Plus is doing a fantastic job with their features and podcasts, proving that “podcast” is an utterly-anachronistic format and tech term that nonetheless deserves to survive. (Hey, like many, I have my iPhone set to sound like the familiar clang of the now-defunct Bell telephones, so why the heck not?)

Sam Kerridge. Photo: Kate Coffee.

Sam Kerridge. Photo: Kate Coffee.

UK-born Samuel Kerridge is a newcomer on the scene, though he’s run some of my favorite experimental events in Berlin, called Contort, hosting favorite adventurous artists like Christian Vogel, Milton Bradley, and Lower Order Ethics. Also surfing the wave of CTM artists, he debuted at Berghain last week.

Resident Advisor has a short interview with him and a terrific downloadable podcast. (Not streamable here, but drop that sucker on your Portable Audio Playback Device. I know I have some blank TDKs around here somewhere – metal bias, baby!)

RA.349 Samuel Kerridge [Resident Advisor podcast]

Tracklist, including more featured CTM artists – Demdike Stare, who spoke to us (with assistance from Ableton) at our Hacklab and entertained us Saturday night, as well as Emptyset, Shackleton, and CTM closer and wall-rattler Sun O)))):

Pan Sonic – Kertsilogia – Herzlogy
Pan Sonic – Lhetys Transmission – Blast First Petite
Sawf – Sand#1 – Modal Analysis
Roly Porter – Arrakis – Subtext
Vromb – L’Homme Grenouille – Nautilus
Raime – Passed Over Trail – Blackest Ever Black
Demdike Stare – Regolith – Modern Love
Haxan Cloak – The Fall – Aurora Borealis
Samuel Kerridge – Remove Yourself – Horizontal ground
Violetshaped – Anesthesia – Violet Poison
Donato Dozzy – K – Further Records
Northern Structures – Session 2 – Sonic Groove
CUB – C U 1 – (UST REMIX) – Downwards
Wicked Messenger – The Three-Eyed Fox – Self Released
Powell – Search – Diagonal
James T. Cotton – Lojak pt.4 – Spectral Sound
Violetshaped – The Remixes – Kangding Ray – Violet Poison
Samuel Kerridge – Waiting For Love EP (samples) – Downwards
Ancient Methods – AM-2 A2 – Ancient Methods
Shifted – Bloodless – Mote Evolver
Emptyset – Structure – Subtext
Mike Parker – Moisture (Treatment 3) – Prologue
Suum Cuique – Strohtopf – Modern Love
Perc – My Head Is Slowly Exploding (Ancient Methods Remix) – Perc Trax
Shackleton – Tin Foil Sky – Skull Disco
Regis – Blinding Horses – Blackest Ever Black
Vatican Shadow – Jordanian Descent (Guantanamo Military Commissions) – Hospital Productions
Sunn 0))) + Boris – N.L.T – Southern Lord

Bonus: one more mix from Sam, and a longer interview, on The Kort:

Interview & Mixtape: Samuel Kerridge []

If Europe and/or the planetary art world slash economy really are collapsing, causing artists like this to crash-land or simply wash up in Berlin, I say bring on the apocalypse. Let’s just try to stop that global warming business; that seems worth preventing.

In all seriousness, enjoy the sounds.