The Latvian experimental music festival Skaņu mežs will celebrate its 20th anniversary from 23-24 September at the Hanzas perons concert hall (Hanzas Street 16a) in Riga. On 16 September at 18:00, a free Skaņu mežs opening concert will also take place at the refurbished Āgenskalns Market (second floor of the pavilion, Nometņu Street 64).
Amirtha Kidambi “takes a holistic approach to singing, which can mean treating every element as unfixed: Words can be opened up, rendered nonspecific. Melody can be repeated and frozen and stuck in place. Markings of rhythm can become utterly abstract, freed from cadence.” (New York Times). Kidambi is the composer and bandleader of her quartet Elder Ones, with Matt Nelson, Max Jaffe and Nick Dunston and the leader of her vocal quartet Lines of Light, featuring Anaïs Maviel, Emilie Lesbros and Jean-Carla Rodea. Kidambi is also a regular collaborator of Lea Bertucci, in a voice and analog electronics duo, is a member of guitarist Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl, featured in various projects with composer and alto saxophonist Darius Jones, a longtime contributor of Charlie Looker’s early music inspired dark folk band Seaven Teares and a soloist in Pat Spadine’s analog percussion and light ensemble Ashcan Orchestra. She has collaborated and performed with New York luminaries in the experimental and creative music community including Tyshawn Sorey, Matana Roberts, Ingrid Laubrock, Maria Grand, Brandon Lopez, Daniel Carter, Sam Newsome, Trevor Dunn, Ava Mendoza, Matteo Liberatore and veteran improviser William Parker.
According to New Noise Magazine, Yuko Araki “is one of a number of young, female artists emerging from Japan that are redefining the outer boundaries of noise, post-industrial techno, and experimental electronics.” Araki’s debut album End of Trilogy was released by Room 40, the label run by Australian musician Lawrence English.
Trained as a pianist, Araki switched her attention to non-academic music after being captivated by metal and hardcore punk rock. Her solo project is characterized by samples of traditional Japanese music instruments and idiosyncratic layering of sounds, reminiscent of “a choir of noise”. Listening to Araki’s music, there are times when it’s impossible to tell if the electronic signals are imitating the rustling of a thousand leaves, or if the rustling sounds of a thousand leaves are mixed so that they sound like electronic signals.
Alya Al-Sultani is a dramatic soprano, composer of opera and producer based in London, UK. Her first musical experiences were Iraqi folk songs sung by her great grandmother and radio broadcasts of classical Arabic music. After leaving Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, her family settled in Tottenham, North London where she began to discover the incredible new sounds of the 80s, hiphop, jazz and music from the Caribbean.
Mariam Rezaei is an award winning composer, turntablist, writer and performer. She leads experimental arts project TOPH, who curate TUSK FRINGE and TUSK NORTH for TUSK Festival. (tuskmusic.org) . Her music has recently been described as ‘ genuinely ground-breaking’ (London Jazz News 2022) and ‘high-velocity sonic surrealism’ (4* The Guardian 2022). Recent releases include ‘SKEEN’ , ‘Veil’, a collaboration with Stephen Bishop on TUSK Editions, ’SISTER’ with soprano Alya Al-Sultani, and TECHNOPOWER on Tusk Editions Mariam presents a podcast on contemporary turntablism called ‘These Are The Breaks…’ and is guest DJ on’ Radical Scotland’ by Stewart Smith, both on repeater-radio.com. ‘BOWN’, the third album in the triptych ‘BLUD : SKEEN : BOWN,’ is due for release, 2022.
Alya Al-Sultani and Mariam Rezaei will perform at the festival as a duo.
Ata Ebtekar aka Sote (b. Hamburg, Germany) is an Iranian-American electronic music composer and sound artist based in Tehran, Iran.
In the past 30 plus years, his music has been published by various companies, such as Warp Records, Sub Rosa, Opal Tapes, Diagonal, Morphine and Repitch among others. (11 albums, numerous eps, singles and compilation appearances).
Global cultural exposure through transmigration has been a significant stimulant for his aesthetics. Sote’s goal is to create unique and timeless pieces of music that are not available anywhere except in his mind.
His compositions and multi-channel installations are sonic tales synchronously decoding and regenerating customary pattern of thought in nature; aural designs of crisis and harmony where contempo aligns with folklore, orchestrating an artificial saga with a variety of illuminations and analyses. His passion for all music especially, all forms of electronic music, and his extensive involvement in the sound art academia world, has led him to compose in a wide variety of musical styles with a strong emphasis in electro-acoustic techniques, microtonal systems and polyrhythmic motifs.
Improvised music will be represented at the festival by the أحمد [Ahmed] quartet, which was described in its August edition by The Wire magazine as “one of the most advanced jazz groups on the planet”. The ensemble is led by Pat Thomas, who The Guardian has described as “a virtuoso pianist, who is also a wizard with synths and live electronics” and “a central figure in British and European improvised music”. Although the group draws the inspiration for its fusion of improvised music and Arab music from the oeuvre of multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, it reduces Malik’s compositions to fragments of sound repeated with aggression and growing energy. The group also includes saxophonist Seymour Wright, drummer Antonin Gerbal and double bassist Joel Grip.