FOREST OF MELODIES: The latest musical trends are to be heard at this weekend’s event.
RIGA - A festival that predicts the future of music; that is how organizers of Skanu Mezs (Sound Forest) refer to their event. Sound Forest sets up a program for the eighth time this weekend – on Sept. 16 - 17. Tobacco Factory in Riga seems like a unique and very suitable place for an event like this. A number of experimental musicians and DJs come together again in order to showcase their newest programs and current musical tendencies. This year’s headliners include “Mujuice” from Russia, Dunian from Latvia, Maria Minerva from Estonia, “Wildbirds and Peacedrums” from Sweden and many other guests.
It started out eight years ago in 2003, when Viestarts Gailitis, the author of the festival, found out that it is rather possible to offer independent and outstanding musical experiments in Riga, too. Gradually it has become a respectable stepping point for both industry and band members in order to share visions and interact with audiences in new ways.
This year a particular emphasis is placed on Central European and Latin American participants. This is because lots of the brand new genres in experimental music grow from exactly those mentioned regions. Sound Forest is also a member of International Cities of Advanced Sound (ICAD) - a special network for experimental music events. It happens to be that Sound Forest was a member of Berlin Music Week from Sept. 7 - 11 in order to showcase Latvian musicians, such as Edgars Rubenis (guitarist), Dunian, Kodek and Martins Rokis.
But let’s get an insight into the choice of musicians in 2011. First come “Awesome Tapes of Africa” (USA). His real name is Brian Simkovic who started to collect different tapes while travelling around Africa in the 2000s. Those records were given away in his free of charge blog in 2006. You will hear those samples in his performance during the festival.
Natalia Beridze, also known as Tusia Beridze, is a female performer from Georgia who mainly works on video and audio media in order to collaborate with international musicians, too. Mostly she makes warm and calming electronic music for a relaxing mood.
“Mujuice” from Russia, with his real name Roman Litvinov, is a 27-year-old DJ who has gained nearly cult status with his work in Europe, will showcase a solo set. It is interesting how his music has often been compared with another Russian cult figure Viktor Tsoi, who did his very best work in the 1980s, but died in 1990 at only 27 years old. Indeed, “Mujuice” has the same melancholic, smooth lines in his music also offering contemporary and eclectic details for the current audience.
“Angel” is a band from three countries - Iceland, Finland and Germany - that mainly focuses on dark rock music and electronic synthesis.
Here is the first choice from the Baltic States - “Brokenchord” from Lithuania. He represents the dub step movement and has also gained some attention as a producer from other European countries. Maria Minerva from Estonia, formerly known as a music critic, now represents mainly ’90s esthetique using lo-fi sound, cassette recordings and really tasteful old school video filming techniques (you remember VHS recordings, don’t you?).
Another Estonian artist is EDASI, or Mikel Kleiss - he will come up with weird synthpop sounds, quite disturbing, but refreshing. Dunian, or Arturs Liepins, from Latvia has been showcased locally and already on BBC Radio 1, a show hosted by Mary Anne Hobbs, which is quite an achievement for a musician who wishes to be noticed internationally. Arturs was formerly known as one of the DunDun band - they played really nice post rock back in the days. Now, as he has said, the main tendencies of Dunian is based on ’90s music as well as so called the “live music effect” realized by a single person where different electronic sound effects are used.
Returning back to other international artists, “Hype Williams” (GB) seems to be the freakiest and oddest duo on Earth. Based on psychedelic harmonies, they remind you of the times of some surreal place where borders of reality are often pulled down completely. They are, indeed, quite awesome, but in a very dosed way. For those listeners who wish to find some light and jazzy tunes, “Wildebirds and Peacedrums” could be the one to choose. They are a married couple from Sweden which uses vocal and different percussion sounds. Very light and dreamy. And Scandinavic.
For more information on performers and ticket sales, go to: www.skanumezs.lv