Holly Herndon performs in Riga

The Eduards Smiļģis Theater Museum in Riga will this year, on June 11, play host to the american post-techno musician Holly Herndon. Herndon has won the acclaim of both critics and contemporary dance music enthusiasts with her album “Movement” which was released at the end of 2012. The concert is organized by Skaņu Mežs, the association for unconventional music, and supported by the Riga City Ministry of Culture.

The popular website of music criticism and commentary, Pitchfork, wrote the following about Herndon’s debut album: “appropriately named, Movement feels like a progression and challenge […].” In the same review, Herndon is named one of the most exciting new voices of 2012 both in terms of execution, composition and production. The website further elaborates that the album “[is] an invitation by example to move in several circles at once and emerge with something that’s brazen, fresh, and entirely individual.” In addition the online journal The Quietus asserts that “Movement is one of those lovely surprises that makes you think, ‘of course that’s how music should sound right now.’”

In her work Holly Herndon mirrors several, and possibly mutually contrasting, influences; the academic sphere in which she is educated and continues to develop; the club music culture in its most contemporary sense, which Herndon loyally loves; composers Galina Ustvolskaya and Maryanne Amacher; the electronic music scene, or more specifically Pan Sonic and techno producers from 90s Berlin or Birmingham. With all these influences Herndon creates spacially and physically tangible electronic music which bravely and intensely switches between genre traits within one piece or performance ranging from rhythmical and almost industrial club music to aesthtetically curious contemporary musical compositions.

Initially being convinced that every self-respecting composer has to master at least one accustic instrument Holly Herndon, all the while studying composition at Miles College in California, spent a long time learning the double-bass. Later, however, she came to realise that “[the laptop] can do things that no other instrument has ever been able to do,” in addition to being “the most personal instrument that the world has ever seen.” One of the musician’s primary interests is to vitalize live performances in which she performs with a laptop. She attempts to do this by carefully creating her compositions anew at each performance. Herndon integrates her own voice in creating the music – a large part of the sounds heard in Herndon’s creations are generated from her voice which, as the musician herself states, makes the music more “physical.”

The artist’s performance in Riga will take place on June 11 in the Eduards Smiļģis Theatre Musem on E.Smiļģa street 37/39 as an interactive audiovisual concert. The museum’s doors will be opened to all concertgoers at 19:30. Tickets will be available at Biļešu Serviss sales points, online (www.bilesuserviss.lv), as well as at the door. The price is 3 LVL for advance purchases and 5 LVL on the door. Seating is limited to 150.

This is only one in a series of events organized by Skaņu Mežs leading up to the eleventh installment of the Skaņu Mežs Festival in October 2013. Considering Herndon’s innovative approach, her music’s ability to blur the lines between genres and to create a bond between academic and underground music, this event is presented as the organization’s homage to the 200th anniversary of the Riga-affiliated composer, Richard Wagner.


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