Few months after its 21st edition, Riga, Latvia’s Skaņu Mežs festival for innovative music returns with an exciting one-off concert: a solo banjo performance by multi-instrumentalist and composer Weston Olencki on December 7. Estonian-Latvian avant-blues duo Ringhold will also perform a set. The venue is club Aleponija (Ernesta Birznieka-Upīša street 22). Admission is 7 EUR; tickets sold at the entrance. Event starts at 20:00.
Weston Olencki (b.1992; Spartanburg, South Carolina) is a musician, composer, and sound artist based in Berlin, Germany. Their current work is centered around questions of instrumental music and its contexts/constructs, various mediated practices of listening and improvisation, and the technological, material, and cultural histories of rural space/time. In recent projects these themes have manifested in fusions of experimentalism and noise with American traditional musics; site-specific sound work engaging with land and local histories of New England; the use of artificial (audio) intelligence, neural synthesis, and machine listening processes on “low-tech” materials; and a continued extension of the limits of instrumental performance on brass and wind instruments more broadly.
They have presented work at the Borealis Festival, ISSUE Project Room, REDCAT, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Ghent Jazz Festival, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Black Mountain College, Musica Nova Helsinki, the American Academy in Rome, Roulette Intermedium, and the OPTION series, and was awarded the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis from the 2016 Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Various recording projects have been released by HatHut, Out of Your Head and Tripticks Tapes, Sound American, Carrier, New Amsterdam, Clean Feed, Lobby Art, Dinzu Artefacts, SUPERPANG, Notice Recordings, Astral Spirits, and Full Spectrum Recordings. Their latest release, Old Time Music, was featured on Bandcamp Daily’s “Best Experimental Music of 2022”. They are an active member of RAGE THORMBONES, Harmonic Space Orchestra, Ensemblekollektiv Berlin, Apparat, Clone Decay (with Mary Halvorson & Kalia Vandever), The Hollows (with Nick Dunston & Etienne Nillesen), and perform regularly as a soloist and ensemble member on low brass instruments, winds, banjo, organs, and various electronic media.
The concert will be concluded by Ringhold, an avant-psych blues duo from Estonia. Imagine desert blues with rather distinctive, avantgarde vocal stylings. Suited to more focused listening rather than random background music. Some call it melancholic, some say it’s sort of a freaky danceable music. Smooth and textured vocalizations delivered by Eleonora Kampe have been described as Nico channeling Meredith Monk. Kalle Tikas on electric guitar holds the progressive groove with the stylings of J.J. Cale and RL Burnside brought into Ringhold’s stark and raw music.