The American/Austrian project KTL (Kindertotenlieder) will be performing at the Splendid Palace cinema in Riga on October 10 as part of the festival Skaņu Mežs. KTL’s music is a mix between extreme computer music and avant-garde metal. The group consists of Stephen O’Malley (from the drone metal group Sunn O)) ) and Peter Rehberg (participant in the computer music project PITA and owner of the label Editions Mego). The concert is supported by the Austrian embassy in Latvia, and the foundation Trust for Mutual Understanding.
The development of contemporary electronic music can be clearly traced in the music created by KTL over the years. They have released five albums in which the unpredictability of live performance co-exists with the precision of electronica. This concept is re-imagined during each new phase of their creative process. The duet was initially formed to create the soundtrack to director Gisèle Vienne and writer Dennis Cooper’s contemporary dance performance, Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children). The name is a reference to a song cycle by Gustav Mahler. Even though the duet have continued playing together after this performance, their sound is still characterised by melodrama and sorrow.
Although initially the project’s main focus was to bring together experimental metal and computer music their priorities shifted with the release of their second album. With each new album KTL’s sound has explored more and more diverse musical territories. In their latest record “V” KTL keeps their melodramatic style, but expresses it with more delicate and forward thinking methods than previously. The duet manipulate freely with sorrowful intonation and dissonance but are able to make it sound digitally controlled.
The magazine The Quietus write the following in their review of “V”: “Mark Fell’s surprisingly bright and colourful artwork hides a dark and wondrous monster of an album, the long-awaited latest chapter in KTL’s enthralling saga of sonic unease. Yet if the cover doesn’t quite herald the kind of synth explorations that have started to crop up on a lot of noise musicians’ work of late, V does see Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg develop the sonics of their palette in new ways. […] V cements KTL as more than just a side-project of two of modern underground music’s most celebrated figures, crystallising their vision and expanding it beyond everything that they – and other drone artists operating in the same field – have done before. It retains their sinister stamp, but takes the fear into new realms, like demons breaking out of the ground into muted sunlight.”
The Skaņu Mežs festival will take place this year between 10 – 12 October with a final concert on 26 October. The concert on October 10 at Splendid Palace will be dedicated to electro-acoustic music and audio-visual projects; the event on October 11 will feature dance music in the concert hall Palladium; Skaņu Mežs contemporary music programme will be presented on October 12 at the Railway History Museum.
As the festival draws closer, further information about artists playing at the festival, as well as new venues will be released.