March 31, 2017
1. General context
2017 in experimental music didn’t really start until the CTM Festival caused the traditional fracture in space-time reality. Year by year, CTM succeeds to address the collective unconscious of the moment, the burning questions of the hive mind. The coherent narrative of CTM anticipates further directions in academic studies, regarding the evolution of sound, mind and the club community. At the core of this process of activating self discovery stand the daytime lectures, which provide a conceptual backbone for the performances and immerse audiences into a bubble of enhanced awareness. We can’t get enough of these recordings, which are a good occasion to commiserate on the meaning and weight of the path opening recent edition of the festival.
The exploration of emotions in relation to music was a macro topic of CTM and, given the quantum nature of the subject, it took ten packed days of hard work to glimpse at objective and subjective answers, as well as more questions to be asked. How does this particular new field of research yield a better understanding of our relation to cutting edge music? How do we create a mental mapping of our own emotions as relating to music as well as a terminology to talk about it? And what better context could facilitate the experience of said sounds if not Berlin’s biggest feast of advanced club sound and electronic breakthrough?
As a general context, we know that emotions gained more importance lately, and not just in theory. Ever since the 2000s, business bestsellers like Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking (2005) have challenged the market’s tendency of treating the humans it addresses like strictly logical, soulless mechanisms. A modern psychologist coined the syntagm “intellectual alibi” to describe our tendency to ignore emotions, since it doesn’t always feel as controlled and predictable to work with them. Still, our brain is rationalizing constantly decisions we already made on emotional grounds, which we are most likely not aware of. Facial expression analysis software has proven previous market research obsolete, and found the answers about why businesses with the best logical premise to succeed still fail, once the emotional factor is ignored.
On the holistic side, the spiritual community digs into shadow work – the process of accepting and integrating our negative emotions lovingly, as a response to mental health industry’s biggest myth, that of force medicating humans to the point of feeling how they “are supposed to” feel. We live in a world that constantly invalidates emotions, yet where emotions have become the universal token. And some things learned while attending the panels organized by CTM advocated a need for consciousness and understanding of the modern battlefield which our internal and external emotional life may be.