Music with robots and other machines

  • 2007-04-18
  • By Karina Juodelyte-Moliboga

LESS PORTABLE: Godfried-Willem Raes shows off his music machine which, while not as easy to transport as an MP3 player, is a lot more interesting to watch.

VILNIUS - In Vilnius, if you're a fan of electronic and electro-acoustic music, April is the month you've been waiting for. This is the time that the Jauna Muzika (Young Music) festival traditionally takes place, and 2007 is no exception 's this year's festival will be held April 20 - 28 in the city's Contemporary Art Centre. Now in its 14th year, Jauna Muzika is a magnet for lovers of non-traditional music. Started in 1992 as a festival highlighting cutting-edge musical projects, it further evolved in 2002 to fill Lithuania's empty niche of electronic music.

Each year the audience has an opportunity to hear the newest works by both foreign and Lithuanian electronic music composers, including some compositions created especially for the festival.
Even though organizers admit that the festival is not for the masses, it definitely has its devoted audience. "Jauna Muzika is alive and strong," says the festival's ideological father, Remigijus Merkelys. A look at this year's program proves him right. The nine concerts lined up are sure to leave a deep impression on the audience and, hopefully, a greater appreciation of electronic music.

This year the festival will explore the theme of human and machine synthesis in music making. The audience can expect strange and unique electronic music instruments, robots and other clever machines making bizarre compositions of sound. A computer-controlled piano, "breathing" plastic bubbles and a musical installation based on Dante Alighieri's "The Divine Comedy" will certainly make these evenings something out of the ordinary.

The festival starts with a performance by the Lithuanian string quartet "Chordos" presenting the classics of 20th century electronic music. A touch of magic and live sound superimposed over electronic music will set the good mood for the evening.
Those specifically interested in the tendencies of Lithuanian electronic music should mark April 21 on their calendars. This will be the evening for the Multimedia.LT project, which focuses on Lithuanian composers such as Linas Paulauskis, Vytautas V. Jurgutis, Rytas Mazulis, Marius Baranauskas and Arturas Bumsteinas. With most of the works written especially for the festival, the audience will be able to enjoy the sound of synthesizers, computers, nature and acoustics, as well as experience the weight of the music in the Arturas Bumsteinas experiments.
The biggest star of the festival, Fennesz from Austria, comes on April 24. The musician brings two instruments 's a laptop and a guitar 's to mix his unique sounds. The audience will have the rare opportunity to listen to musical pieces from his upcoming album.

The most hi-tech performances take place on April 25 - 27 when the Logos' M&M Orchestra from Belgium will be presenting their musical robots, creatures that respond to body movements and the sound of instruments. The Logos Foundation will also be presenting a computer-controlled piano that can perform great works of music without a human pianist. And the STEIM artists from the Netherlands will show how the tension of human muscles can also be used to create music.
Even though the festival is oriented to electronic music, the famous jazz star Vladimir Tarasov will present his musical installation "The First River" to the audience. The installation is based on "The Divine Comedy" and can be seen and heard April 27 - 29. The artist is a bit secretive about what the audience can expect, but has revealed that there are already plans for follow-up installations in other countries.

And last but not least is, of course, the festival's closing evening, which will be dedicated to electronic club music. Famous Lithuanians IJO, Dublicate, FusedMARc, Ashoka After Sound and Mookid will keep the evening hot with experimental rhythms and uplifting emotions, keeping us all primed and eager to see what awaits us at next year's festival.

Tickets to Jauna Muzika are on sale at the CAC, Vokieciu str. 2
More information at