Riga, Latvia’s Skaņu Mežs festival for adventurous music will host its 21st edition on October 6-8 and September 30, which is the date of its opening concert at venue Tu jau zini Kur. (Tallinas street 10-3). Single-day tickets to the opening event on September 30 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. Event starts at 6PM.
The full line-up of the Skaņu Mežs opening event of September 30 is as follows:
HVAD is a Copenhagen-based producer, who’s released a variety of different releases both as Dj Hvad as well as Kid Kishore. Since the mid-’00s, he has been working under a number of guises, creating and performing electronic music, and developing a signature sound unlike any other in Denmark. Musically, he incorporates elements of breakcore, techno and lately also ambient into many of his unconventional productions. Apart from being the owner of the notorious Danish label Syg Nok records, he’s also been involved in a variety of other projects, such as owning the Kommunal Dubplate Service.
HVAD’s music is innovative, wild and direct, with an abstract and violent energy that makes the ground tremble. And underpinning it all – an unsettling but oddly beautiful paranoia. He employs sound sources such as his own scratched acetates, temple bells, taxi doors, dogs barking, church choirs, street slang and his voice to express a contemporary cultural awareness that is beyond multicultural and blurs the line between art and everyday life.
Tencu/eleOnora is a project where modular synthesizer meets abstract human voice in a fee improvisatinal setting. This collaboration started in the lock down times of 2020, when eleOnora sent her recorded voice to Tencu who chopped that voice and created an album full of abstractions and then was born the duo’s first album called “..– …. . … – / -.- ..– — -. . -. ..” (released in 2022 by Heaven’s Trumpet). The duo will self release their next album “Cherries in the Head” on cassette in September 2023 and will present it at Skaņu Mežs Festival this year.
Andres Tenusaar a.k.a. Tencu is a freelance animator, director, video artist and the founder of the studio Peata Film. Tencu has been an animator and director at the studio Nukufilm between 2000-2019. Besides films and music videos Tencu has also created stage video and animation for theatre, video mappings and installations, cooperated with numerous musicians as a VJ and composed original film soundtracks. As a sound artist he is experimenting with rhythms and sounds on modular synthesizers.
Eleonora Kampe a.k.a. eleOnora is an Estonian-Latvian singer and avant-garde vocalist. She works both as a solo artist and in collaborative projects that include free improvisatsion duos Tencu/eleOnora, Road To Saturn and avant/psych blues duo Ringhold. In her abstract voice work she displays a large palette of vocal textures melted into noise like free improvised soundscapes. Her stage presence has often been described as hypnotising with moods varying from gentle to disturbing.
Hugo Esquinca’s research-as-intervention/intervention-as-research in sound focuses on exploring different degrees of exposure to erratic processing techniques, indeterminate occurrences, spectral de-gradation, abrupt irritation, the potential of involuntary modifications, opaque functioning and excessive levels of amplification.
His work has been presented in different contexts such as Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), National Centre for Contemporary Arts NCCA (Moscow), Fondazione Antonio Ratti (Como), Ujazdowski Castle for Contemporary Arts (Warsaw), Ploschad MIRA for Modern Art – Siberia (Krasnoyarsk), A4 (Bratislava), Goethe Institut (Athens), MAYHEM (Copenhagen), Aalto University (Helsinki), BEARS (Osaka), Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Berghain (Berlin).
Hugo Esquinca is a participating artist in the tekhnē project, supported by the European Union.
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 through 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.
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.
South London Space Agency
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.
In the words of the artist himself…: “TV Moscow guidelines are speed, technique and durability. Maximum power over the longest possible period of time. Dynamics, contrast, adventure. Music in which the listener is put in front of a fact. Questions are asked. TV Moscow is trying to answer them. The listener thinks that he understands everything, but it turns out that he does not understand. The performance is like one breath, one smoke that is drawn into the lungs, but the exhalation is delayed due to misunderstandings in the audience at the moment. An unforgettable journey that evokes frivolous reflections. At a red light, crossing an intersection may turn out to be pure trivia. I’ll put on my favorite beat and it’s also your favorite. Drugs are legal today, but they are poisonous, so I prefer ice cream and candy. The portal will be open soon and Chupacabra will eat you alive.”
Musician Raivo Vainovskis, widely known as KODEK represents a narrow non-academic electronic music genre while having proven his excellence and gained international recognition performing in countless electronic and experimental music festivals like CTM Festival in Berlin, Amsterdam Dance Event in Amsterdam, Cynetart Festival in Dresden, MUTEK festival in Montreal among others. KODEK is a core figure behind the globally acclaimed Latvian electronic music instrument manufacturer Erica Synths and often uses their synthesizers in his work. Since 2011 he co-organizes experimental music mini-festival Brīnumu Nakts in his native city of Madona which is one of the rare occurrences of such events outside the Latvian capital Riga. Since 2005 both in his releases and live performances he challenges his audiences with his unique stage presence and sonic aesthetic that is rooted in the spirit of truly independent music and art. KODEK has been nominated (and has won) The Annual Latvian Music Recording Award in the category ‘’The best electronic music album’’ for his ‘’Flavours From The Future’’ LP in 2012.
Maria Chavez DJ set
The event will be closed with a club-oriented DJ set by turntablist and sound artist Maria Chavez. Born in Lima, Peru and based in NYC, Maria Chávez is best known as an abstract turntablist, sound artist and DJ. Coincidence, chance & failures are themes that unite her book objects, sound sculptures, installations & other works with her improvised solo turntable performance practice. Her album, “Maria Chavez PLAYS Stefan Goldmann’s Ghost hemiola” was nominated for a Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik in January of 2020.
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, Danish Cultural Institute, 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.