For the last few years, the first official Skaņu Mežs event has taken place during Baltā Nakts (White Night) in the Anglican Church in Riga. This year is no different. The performance in the Anglican Church on 8 September will be part of the Latvian contribution to Sound Exchange, an international festival and research project originating from Germany. The goal of Sound Exchange is to rediscover and promote Central and East European experimental music. This event in the Anglican Church will include performances by Frank Bretschneider and the hungarian artist én, as well as Latvian artists – “Gas Of Latvia”, Stropu Jurka, “TV Maskava”, Toms Auniņš and Indriķis Ģelzis – whose performances will be dedicated to the memory of Hardijs Lediņš.
The night will start with Hungarian electronic musician én (Pál Tóth), who, in his performance will recover the forgotten, but legendary Hungarian avantgarde composer Erno Kilary’s unique music.
Tava bārda laikā un telpā (Your Beard in Time and Space) is an audiovisual performance dedicated to the artist and architect Hardijs Lediņš. Lediņš was a pioneer of Latvian electronic music and founder of the legendary art and experimental music society NSRD. He has had a profound influence on several generations of Latvian musicians and artists, due to his informal investment in the development of Soviet Latvian culture in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and his peculiar, yet vital excursions into art and music. This vitality and interest lasted for more than thirty years, up until his death in 2004.
A few of those who have been touched by his creative aura, have united to create an audiovisual performance, dedicated to the vibrant world of expressions, attitudes, ideas and fantasies which Lediņš has left behind him.
The following are all important figures in the contemporary art and underground music scenes of Riga; a friend of Hardijs Lediņš, Andris Indāns with his project “Gas Of Latvia”, is also a notable veteran of Latvian electronic music; Stropu Jurka, an intelligent and delicately aggressive musician from the Latvian industrial music scene, known for his projects “Strops” and “V.S.K.B.”; Normunds Griestiņš, popular for sarcastic techno pieces created by his project “TV Maskava”; Toms Auniņš, solo artist and member of the the humorous and nihilistic improvised noise music group “Puse H Puse W”, whose works stand outside genre classification; Indriķis Ģelzis, who tries to generate new ways of perceiving the most common components of people’s daily lives through his atmospheric and lightly absurd video pieces. Together this group will create a half-improvised, half-rehearsed conscious dream which, although pieced together from each members’ unique voice and point of view, will adhere to the laws of the world created long ago by Lediņš.
Concluding the night will be notable East German electronic music composer Frank Bretschneider. Bretschneider will perform with his audiovisual performance Kippschwingung in which he will use the East German synthesizer Subarchord, which dates back to the 1970s.
In collaboration with the Goethe Institut and the project Sound Exchange, a master class in how to make electronic instruments, led by the organisation Standuino, will also take place between 3 – 8 September. Unfortunately this class is already full, but anyone who is interested is welcome to the Goethe Institut in Riga on 3 September where members of the organisation will be demonstrating their instruments and giving an informative lecture.
In the same location, at 6 PM on 8 September, the participants of this master class will be giving a presentation concert, where they will be performing with their self-made instruments. After this concert the exhibition SOUND EXCHANGE – eksperimentālā mūzika Centrālajā un Austrumeiropā (SOUND EXCHANGE – Experimental Music in Central and East Europe) will be opened. It will run from 8 – 22 September and introduce visitors to individual artistic viewpoints, regional groupings and trends in Central East European experimental music culture from the 1960s until today.
Skaņu Mežs is a member of the network of experimental music festivals European Cities of Advanced Sound (ECAS). This network is supported by the European Comission’s Culture Programme 2007 – 2013, and the Latvian Ministry of Culture. The main commercial sponsor of the festival is iRobot.
Events at the beginning of September and during Baltā Nakts are supported by Riga City Council, Baltā Nakts and the project Sound Exchange.