Riga, Latvia’s Skaņu mežs festival for adventurous music will host its 21st edition on October 6-8 at concert hall Hanzas Perons (16a Hanzas street), with an opening event on September 30 at venue Tu jau zini Kur. (Tallinas street 10-3). Headlining the festival will be Berlin-based Finnish duo Amnesia Scanner, once described by The Guardian as “one of the cornerstone acts in the electronic underground”. They will perform on the concert evening of October 7. Single-day tickets to the opening event cost 25 EUR, while single-day tickets to the concerts of October 6 and 7 cost 35 EUR. A three day pass costs 50 EUR, and tickets can be purchased at www.ticketservice.lv.
Amnesia Scanner is the Berlin-based Finnish duo Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala. Founded in 2014, the group’s scope encompasses music writing, production, and performance, as well as its creative staging and circulation. Characterized by a deep fascination with system vulnerabilities, informational overload, and sensory excess, Amnesia Scanner carnivalizes the present. At the core of their work is an interest in how the contemporary experience is mediated, including the ways in which listening to music and live performance is evolving as streaming platforms become dominant and the feedback channels between artists and fans become more direct.
Building on their debut mixtape “AS Live ”, the duo interlaced a data-rich mesh of grime, trap, and rave with a mechanic narrator for their critically acclaimed 2015 audio play Angels Rig Hook, and Lexachast, their cyberdrone audio-visual project with artist Harm van den Dorpel and Bill Kouligas. Two EPs for Young (“AS” and “AS Truth”) followed in 2017, furthering the duo’s imaginative capabilities to project immersive sonic worlds into a dark, rave abyss. In their first LP, “Another Life” (2018, PAN), as well as in their 2020 full-length encore for the same label, “Tearless”, avant-EDM tropes are contextualized within the broader discourse of pop formalism, juxtaposing the duo’s harsh, deep-fried, synthetic signature style with canonical structures of pop songs. With “STROBE.RIP” (PAN 2023), Amnesia Scanner, joined by Freeka Tet, continues to play with the signs and signifiers, abstracting the tropes of their sonic universe.
Amnesia Scanner has performed across a wide range of venues and settings, from the massive Roskilde Festival in Denmark to Berlin’s Berghain to London’s Serpentine Galleries. For their design and visual direction, they collaborate with PWR. Ville Haimala, independently, has also written and produced music for and with David Byrne, FKA Twigs, Holly Herndon and Anne Imhof among other artists. Beyond his work with Amnesia Scanner Martti Kalliala is an architect, cultural critic and co-founder of the creative think tank Nemesis.
Updated venue for opening event: initially announced to happen at art centre NOASS, the concert of September 30 will now happen at venue Tu jau zini Kur. (Tallinas street 10-3).
The following acts have also been added to the festival line-up: Violent Magic Orchestra (Japan), The Vex Collection (USA), Tencu/eleOnora (Estonia), Hugo Esquinca (Mexico, Germany), Hvad (Denmark) as well as several artists from Latvia: TV Maskava, Orbīta, Grab, Kodek, Pūres Opera.
Skaņu Mežs is a member of the SHAPE+ platform for innovative music and audiovisual art as well as the project tekhnē, supported by the European Union and the Latvian Ministry of Culture.
Skaņu mežs festival is supported by the State Cultural Capital Fund, Riga City Council, the Latvian Ministry of Culture, Goethe-Institut Lettland, Trust for Mutual Understanding Foundation and the Nordic Culture Point. Sponsors of the festival are Valmiermuižas Alus and Radio NABA.
Skaņu mežs is a member of the international network ICAS (International Cities of Advanced Sound) and the Northern European music festival network NERDS (North European Resonance and Dissonance Society).
Media partners are TVNET, Rīgas Laiks, Satori and Mūzikas Saule.
The festival will also feature activities of LYRA, a project for kids and teens that is supported by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.
LYRA receives grants in the amount of EUR 206,256.00 within the framework of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The project aims to introduce kids and teenagers to experimental music and to get them involved in its creation. As it is democratic and non-hierarchical in essence, experimental music gives trained and untrained kids the chance to take part in making music. Since the project crosses social and ethnic divides, it is also socially inclusive.
Total LYRA eligible costs: EUR 202,510.00, European Economic Area financial instrument programme Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Culture Cooperation support sum: 85% or EUR 85,000.00, of which:
- European Economic Area financial instrument co-financing: 85% or EUR 175,317.60;
- State Budget co-financing: 15% or EUR 30,938.40.