Program Director Remco Schuurbiers' Personal Selection of Tracks from TodaysArt Festival 2005 - 2020

TodaysArt has embraced adventurous music across all genres from its early beginnings. Next to showcasing visually immersive and audiovisual art, the festival is known for its unique music programming approach. In this series, we invite artists, curators and music lovers to create a selection of their favorite festival-related tracks. First up, our Programmer Remco Schuurbiers, who we asked to pick out tracks that show some of his curatorial influences and festival memories from the past 15 years. The result: a selection that is very much still today's art.

#1 Morton Subotnick — 4 Butterflies: Interlude


“Subotnick’s ‘Silver Apples on the Moon’ was new ground in the 60s. The very beginning of electronic music entering the mainstream. It was the first electronic composition ever that was commissioned by a record company. Back then he lived in New York on Bleecker Street, and was in the middle of the arts scene there. He worked his whole life together with Don Buchla developing the Buchla Synthesizers. Subotnick is still an active pioneer. We met in 2010, when he and visual artist Lillevan performed an Opera in Southern Germany [‘Jacob’s Room’ at Bregenzer Festspiele]. I then invited Morton and Lillevan together to TodaysArt in 2013 to revisit ‘Silver Apples… ‘ with a live AV performance. Later this developed into a larger collaboration for the album’s 50-year anniversary with Alec Empire as guest musician. Morton is still composing and playing with 87 years old. He is still teaching students weekly at NYU in New York. This year his Monografie will be ready and a long planned documentary should  be released. If I had to pick one track of his, it’s this one from the 70s, also a great opener for a playlist.”


#2 Caterina Barbieri – Spine of desire

“I’m a fan of modular space sounds. There’s been a bit of a revival of it, since modular synths are back on stage and newly developed in better portable units with very rich sounds. To me personally often Abstract Music is working better than an emotional message carried through lyrics. Cage once said “I don’t need sound to talk to me, music to me is not a time art, but space art.” Listen to the first minute of this interview. He explains it. Caterina Barbieri I saw over six times now in the last two years. Last year she just had her new show finished which we directly invited for De Electriciteitsfabriek [The Hague’s former electricity factory]. It was a pretty special setting next to a gigantic inflatable moon by the St. Petersburg planetarium.”


#3 Staalplaat Sound System — ZEERO (recorded at TodaysArt Festival 2015)


“Staalplaat Soundsystem is an organisation dedicated to sound art. It used to be a record shop run by Geert-Jan Hobijn that started in Amsterdam in 1982. It moved to Berlin in the 90s and is still running. I’ve known Geert for a while. We met here in Berlin and had a few mutual friends. We also presented some projects with Staalplaat Soundsystem at CTM. Sometimes I discover artists, and then see that they have been released on the Staalplaat label. For example Muslimgauze, Charlemagne Palestine, Asmus Tietchens, Francesco Lopez, The User or 386 DX by Alexej Shulgin. Now about this “track”: ‘ZEERO’ was an installation during TodaysArt 2015. The festival in 2015 referenced art movement Zero’s never realized exhibition from 1965 at the beach of Scheveningen. Staalplaat created ZEERO (“Zee” meaning “Sea” in Dutch) from giant organ pipes. They used air balloon burners to create a composition of rumbling sounds. It was actually recorded and came out as a record. You can find it on Discogs I think.”


#4 Hildur Guðnadóttir — Aether

“I remember seeing Hildur Guðnadóttir playing Cello many times in Berlin incl. CTM-Festival and often in collaboration with other musicians. She is now of course well known for scoring  ‘The Joker’ and ‘Chernobyl’ and also winning the Oscar, Emmy Award, Grammy Award, Golden Globe Awards (first female ever) and Bafta over the last year and this year. In 2009 She was part of a Touch label night that we invited to TodaysArt at The Lutherian Church. On the line-up were Jana Winderen, Philip Jeck, Biosphere and ‘Eternal Chord’ by Touch founder Mike Harding. TOUCH is one of the early audiovisual labels starting in 82. “Eternal Chord is played on an organ, a piece that should never stop, as it continues by popping up over time on different places often joined in by other musicians.”


#5 Pantha du Prince — Bohemian Forest


“Pantha du Prince was twice at TodaysArt. First time 2012 with the Bell Laboratory, he performed with a carillon and the Norwegian Bell Orchestra, then back in 2016 with another project, ‘The triad’. Pantha du Prince has always created projects beyond mere club performances. These projects need a special platform, one that can exist between both worlds, theater stages and the club, which is exactly what we do with TodaysArt.”


#6 Modeselektor — Berlin ft. Miss Platnum

“I moved to Berlin in 1998 and have been there since. We started CTM in 1999; 21 years ago! Because we were interested in audiovisual work, it was mainly through Pfadfinderei who were back then a VJ-collective that also Modeselektor started playing CTM. They played in the old Berlin club ‘Maria am Ostbahnhof’ in 2004, 2006 and 2011 and in between at TodaysArt in 2007. It was around the release of their 2nd album “Hello Mom!”. The gig was completely sold out and I remember the audience being really happy, which is how Modeselektor likes it.”


#7 Lorenzo Senni – Discipline of Enthusiasm


“Lorenzo Senni came onto our radar around 2010. I first saw him together with my colleague Jan Rohlf (CTM-Festival), when Senni was playing in Italian galleries. We thought it would be great to have him over in a festival context, with his spliced club sounds that never start a beat but contain this euphoria of climaxing synthesizer sounds. We also did a collaboration with Senni in Brazil – Belo Horizonte. That lead us to invite him to TodaysArt Festival. He presented a special AAT live set on the pier in Scheveningen. The set ended with four big air cannons blowing euphoric lots of CO2 out. Leaving everybody in a void on top of the North-Sea in the middle of the night.”


#8 Marie Davidson — Work it

“I like the Soulwax Remix of Davidson’s track ‘Work it’ here. It always brings me back to her set. It was a great, very powerful set with a real DIY spirit. She knows what she wants to do. This was 2017. Our main venue was Koninklijke Schouwburg, the Royal Theater of The Hague. Up in the attic we made a small club, it was completely packed and it fitted her set back then really well. She was just breaking through then, and she really took the audience with her.”


#9 Jeff Mills — Kobe Sessions (recorded at TodaysArt Festival JP)


“This is really part of our identity, due to the TodaysArt – Detroit connection over 15 years, with UR. Mike Banks and Cornelius Harris presented very early on new artists from UR outside Detroit in The Hague, and TodaysArt presented a stage at DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival) in 2004 with many artists from The Hague around Bunker and Clone Records. ‘Kobe Sessions’ was performed at TodaysArt Festival Japan in 2015. One of those projects that brings different worlds together: Jeff Mills and Gerald Mitchell from UR, Yumiko Ohno (who is part of Buffalo Daughter) and Kenji Hino, who also played with Blondie.”


#10 [The User] — Symphony for dot matrix printers

“Installation artists who also make music. I first met [The User] in Montreal through a good friend introducing their amazing installation Silophone on the Harbour of Montreal. We stayed in contact looking for options to present some of their works, which meant shipping and high cost. Finally we managed to exhibit one of their installations at TodaysArt and we combined it with one of their classic performances which had never been shown in The Netherlands. The recording of the performance was released on vinyl, by yes… Staalplaat! The artists [Emmanuel Madan and Thomas McIntosh] repurposed old printers for this piece. They made an orchestral composition getting the printers to read ASCII File text.”


#11 Deena Abdelwahed — Tawa


“Deena Abdelwahed applied for a Radio commission between Deutschland Radio and CTM which spoke to her talent. Later she was part of SHAPE network [Creative Europe network of festivals, TodaysArt is also part of]. She also developed a very strong dance and techno live set, which we could show during the last festival. Her track “Tawa” is one of the many good tracks of hers.”


#12 Jean-Jacques Perrey — Cybernuts

“I grew up on his cheerful futuristic music in the 70s. Songs like ‘Popcorn’ were on the Dutch radio and I think we were the first kids to get synth wired in our brains. JJ Perrey collaborated with Gershon Kingsley who wrote originally ‘Popcorn’, which was reinterpreted by Hot Butter 3 years later in 1972. “Happy Music” as JJ Perrey called it himself. Since I collected so much Moog music and read that JJ Perrey was making a new record with the editor/musician of Cool and Strange Music Magazine, Dana Countryman, I finally invited them for a performance to Berlin and to The Hague. The first and last time he ever played both countries, even though he lived til his late 80´s. The performance of TodaysArt in 2006 was joined by another collaborative musician of JJ Perrey David Chazam from France. Dana in the end could not come, which made me record 2 long Moog DJ sets on video, being the concert dj and supporting JJ Perrey through the evening at TodaysArt.”


Remco Schuurbiers, originally from The Hague, has a long history with electronic music. From 1988 he worked as a light engineer and VJ for ‘PAARD’, The Hague’s central music venue, and ‘Nighttown’ in Rotterdam and later becoming Artistic Co-Director of CTM festival in Berlin together with his colleagues Oliver Baurhenn & Jan Rohlf. In 2005 – when TodaysArt and CTM teamed up to co-curate a long ‘Berlin Night’ and two years in a row a break-core event with Donna Summer. The event series dubbed ‘Wasted’ was part of TodaysArt Festival 2006 and 2007. In 2006 Remco first programmed the music lineup for TodaysArt Festival. Since 2007 he has been in charge of the overall festival program, together with Olof van Winden and guest-curators.


Discover more music in our updated Playlists.

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