Skaņu Mežs 2023 announces first wave of artists

Riga, Latvia’s Skaņu mežs festival for adventurous music will host its 21 edition on October 6-8 at concert hall Hanzas Perons (16a Hanzas street), with an opening event on September 30 at art center NOASS (AB jetty 2). Tickets can be purchased at Festival ticket price is 50 EUR.

Last year, The Wire Magazine hailed Skaņu Mežs as “wildly ambitious” and “the biggest avant-garde music festival in the Baltics”. In addition to the previously announced acts (Raven Chacon and Mivos Quartet), the festival has now confirmed also the following acts:

Negativland + Sue-C

Legendary American sound collage group Negativland and live cinema visual artist SUE-C collaborate in an audio-visual performance about our minds, the world we live in, and the evolving forms of media and technology that orchestrate our perceptions: IT’S NORMAL FOR SOME THINGS TO COME TO YOUR ATTENTION.

“An urgent show by Negativland and artist SUE-C calls time on a tech dystopia that is as malevolent as it is stupid… to meet the terrifying contemporary moment… as the world slides incrementally into meltdown.”

The Wire Magazine

Daniel Blumberg presents GUT

London-based artist and composer Daniel Blumberg presents a live performance of his unflinchingly raw and personal new album GUT, which was recently released on Mute. Led by his soaring vocals and supported by a stripped back palette of bass harmonica, drum machine and synthesizer, Blumberg channels a unique and captivating inner world with unflinching emotional directness. Following his Ivor Novello winning score for the film The World To Come (dir. Mona Fastvold), his third album on Mute was released in May 2023.

South London Space Agency showcase

South London Space Agency is an underground electronic label and music collective based in Lambeth, South London, founded by producer and DJ GRANDMIXXER. An SLSA live show is the most energetic and explosive grime show you will ever see. To open ceremonies at Skanu Mezs this year, SLSA will be bringing GRANDMIXXER himself on decks, Mez and Duppy, two of the UK’s most dynamic MCs, the incomparable Semiseria from Brazil and opera diva Alya Al-Sultani.

Maya Shenfeld + Pedro Maia A/V

For their second collaboration, Jerusalem born, Berlin-based composer Maya Shenfeld and Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Maia are producing an audio-visual live show for Shenfeld’s second and upcoming record titled Under the Sun. Echoing Ecclesiastes’s maxim “There is nothing new under the sun,” the project’s title alters the original quote to create a tension between the sense of futility and eternal return it implies, and the sense of rupture introduced by climate change and other looming crisis. Through a cycle of electroacoustic pieces for analogue synths, woodwinds, voice, and field recordings, as well as imagery shot at the world’s deepest marble quarries in the south of Portugal under the scorching sun of the hottest summer on record, Shenfeld and Maia explore change and repetition, deep time and the ephemeral moment, equilibrium and imminent threat. Maia’s live cinema technique of analogue film processing is brought into dialogue with Shenfeld’s layered textural compositions to create an immersive radiant audio visual experience.

Maya Shenfeld is a participating artist of the SHAPE+ platform, supported by the European Union.


Gnaw Their Tongues

Humanity hating experimental music since 2004. Combining black metal, industrial music, noise and experimental music, Gnaw Their Tongues has released countless albums and ep’s on numerous labels and played shows all over the world. Gnaw Their Tongues’ music is uneasy, vile, grotesque and hate filled. On the last few releases the sound shifted toward being more noisy, experimental and electronic. Thematically Gnaw Their Tongues deals with the darkest sides on human behaviour and humanities darkest excesses.


Phew is a legendary figure in Japanese underground music. Starting out in 1978 fronting one of Osaka’s earliest punk groups, Aunt Sally, and going on to collaborate with a whole host of notable names as a solo artist in the 80s, including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Conny Plank, Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit of Can, Alex Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, and Chrislo Haas of DAF. In recent years she’s made music on record or live with Ana da Silva of The Raincoats, Jim O’Rourke, Oren Ambarchi, Ikue Mori, and Yoshimi of OOIOO / Boredoms / Saicobab.

In 2020 Disciples released Vertigo KO, a collection of material previously released on compilations, collaborations, singles and CD-r’s only, while in 2021 Mute Records released New Decade, a stunning solo new album recorded in her home studio in the Tokyo suburb of Kawasaki during the pandemic.

Skaņu mežs is a member of the SHAPE+ platform for innovative music and audiovisual art as well as the project TEKHNE, co-supported by the „Creative Europe” programme of 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).

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.


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