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 www.bilesuserviss.lv. 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 artists, the festival has now confirmed also the following acts:
Coby Sey is a songwriter, producer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ, who, after years spent buzzing around the DIY artist circuitry of South East London, has developed a distinctive presence as a performer and producer, offering a shifting, disorienting vision of club music.
A long-time collaborator with Mica Levi, Tirzah, Babyfather, Klein, and Kwes, Coby’s recorded work spans the realms of live instrumentation, sample-based productions and experimental music, melding recognisable motifs of hip hop, drone, jazz, grime and more into a dubbed-out anaesthesia.
On stage, these dreamlike compositions are imbued with a heavy, uneasy dancefloor energy, and fleshed out by live instrumentation courtesy of regular cohorts Leisha Thomas (Alpha Maid), Momoko Gill (MettaShiba) and Ben Vince.
Coby’s open-door approach to sharing and making music stretches to his work with London collective CURL, who release records and host events with a collaborative, improvisatory approach. He also hosts a monthly show on NTS radio, which offers a portal into his appealingly murky musical world.
Coby’s long awaited debut album Conduit was released on September 9th through AD93.
Maria Chavez & Jordi Wheeler
Generating results from active listening with a configuration of instruments (multiple turntables, piano, guitar, electronics) Chavez and Wheeler’s performances and recordings speak to their history with improvisation, allowing the present to dictate each work. Their duo work has been presented by Cruces Espacio de Arte in Madrid, Spain, as part of the Abasement Series at Max Fish, NYC and has aired on KunstRadio, Vienna, 3cR Melbourne, Australia, the Lot Radio, Brooklyn.
Their latest interactive installation, a listening station containing video and sound from the duo’s various performances alongside Maria’s white Carrara Marble sculpture, is currently on view at Columbia University’s Wallach Gallery through Sept. 19, 2023.
Maria Chavez and Jordi Wheeler’s first recorded release was for Takuroku, it’s titled The Kitchen Sessions: 1-5, 2020, and it is an audio result of a 2 day recording residency at the legendary theater The Kitchen in NYC.
Due to Covid 19 quarantine restrictions, The Kitchen had to temporarily close, but was still providing the venue as a resource for artists to use during this difficult time. The NYC venue offered Maria Chavez a 2 day recording residency in their main space with an onsite engineer and access to their Steinway B grand piano.
She invited one of her regular collaborators, Jordi Wheeler, most recently a member of Amen Dunes, to bring his multifaceted talents on prepared piano, bass guitar, and electronics to the session.
These recordings are the result of active listening and improvisation with a new configuration of instruments inside the legendary theater space.
Unlike other performance of the concert evening, Chavez and Wheeler’s show will take place in the foyer of Hanzas Perons, and an installation will remain in this space after the performance is over.
Maria Chavez and Jordi Wheeler will perform at Skaņu mežs as part of the sound art project tekhnē, supported by the European Union.
Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico before her family relocated to Texas when she was a teenager, Delia Beatriz has long straddled two distinct worlds. As a DJ, her selections burn the unmistakable swing of Latin club music into ironclad techno frameworks, and as a producer and composer, she drifts seamlessly from avant-garde and drone modes into experimental dance music without hesitation.
In 2022, Beatriz released her sophomore album The Long Count, an ambitious electro-acoustic tome that delves into the past to peer into the future. Using research she made into Mayan wind instruments, Beatriz developed digital instruments and harnessed machine learning to compose music that feels completely out of time. The album was released on legendary British imprint Modern Love in February, receiving critical acclaim from DJ Mag, MixMag, Pitchfork, Dazed, Resident Advisor, Crack Magazine among many others, while also being named Global Album of the Month by The Guardian.
Max Eilbacher (born 1991 in Baltimore Maryland) works with sound. That work materializes in a variety of forms; compositions, musical performances, conceptual systems, perceptual choreography, installations, and theoretical sculpture. No matter how the final work may be categorized, the art typically utilizes speakers and sound waves.
He studied film, animation, and computer music at university while maintaining an active touring schedule with a diverse range of projects, including the musical group Horse Lords, whose just intonation-based trance music exemplifies a modern response to the minimalist tradition. Throughout these different projects, what is apparent is an arrangement and an intention of sounds that explore the capacity of structure, timing, and detail to pinpoint the elusive meeting place of the perception of form.
A frequent concern throughout the works is an inquiry into the inextricable and complex relationship between sound and experience. At each incident of sound, a phenomenological abyss must be transversed. He is aware the listener is the agent taking such a leap. Composition (or whatever may be emanating from a speaker) is the practical enactment of such a leap.
Max Eilbacher is a participating artist of the SHAPE+ platform, co-funded by the EU.
Flowerpower is a duo created by sound artists and electro-acoustical composers Agita Reke and Sofia Zaiceva. They focus on acousmatics of sound and sonic explorations thought live performance, using analog and modular synthesizers, field recordings and live sound processing using computers.
Flowerpower sets its goal to engage each listener in an array of genres, combining experimental ambient improvisations with dance music elements and bringing the best together. You may expect something noisy and distortive, drony and trans-alike, groovy and tribal – anything to make you enjoy sound and its versatility.
Flowerpower released its first album Margery the Medium in July of 2021. They have also participated in the 2023 edition of Tallinn Music Week as part of the Skaņu mežs showcase.
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 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.