[microsound-announce] New podcast: PARASOL ELEKTRONICZNY. RUMOURS FROM THE EASTERN UNDERGROUND #3. Latvia, by Felix Kubin

Radio Web MACBA rwm2008 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 12:40:25 EDT 2012

*Curated by Felix Kubin*
Link: http://bit.ly/JhuG8g

UNDERGROUND http://bit.ly/kJ3Hra we take a closer look at Latvia's musical
underground. Just like its neighbours Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia
regained its full independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 as a result of
the 'Singing Revolution'. The small country embarked on a new departure
from several centuries of constant power shifts. Even today, Latvians are
aware of the fragmented nature of their history: our secret umbrella agent
in Riga dares to label this awareness an 'identity crisis' that seems to be
easily extrapolatable to artistic life in the Republic. 'In a country with
a population of just over two million, there's no room for underground
movements on a large scale,' he adds. The small but active scene is
starting to turn a page and break free of the stigmas that have plagued
cultural life in Latvia for almost twenty years.

'Spatial aspects of sound' play an important role in the works of
Riga-based artists Martins Rokis and Kaspars Groshevs. For his installation
'Here, There, Nowhere', Groshevs recorded several instruments and other
sound sources from various different angles in his flat, thus creating a
spatial definition of his personal environment. In his music, Groshevs
draws on sculpture, architecture and sound installation, mixing different
media and both analogue and digital recording techniques. The focus is
always on the content. His friend and colleague Martins Rokis has a similar
approach, although his aesthetics and methods of sound creation are
anchored in the digital realm. Rokis creates a set-up of sovereign
particles that interact with each other, and moves them on the edge between
control and de-control. In his compositions, the 'structure is always in
motion and has no fixed identity'.

The music of Andris Indans and Rostislav Rekuta is rooted in psychedelic
synthesizer pop, early industrial music and nineties electronica. In the
late eighties, the two musicians lived through the major political changes
and the economic problems that followed. Indans maintains that this crisis
was a very creative period for him. While he was still living with his
parents, he tried to find a way of channelling his 'teenage energy' and
anger into the creation of music using 'non-professional equipment'. While
the emphasis on past technologies and aesthetics is apparent in the works
of Indans and Rekuta, the music of younger artists like Kaspars Groshevs,
Martins Rokis and Phonic Psychomimesis tends to be more conceptual and
harder to classify.

Phonic Psychomimesis is a duo of two musicians who studied philosophy.
Accordingly, their sonic output is conditioned by a certain set of rules or
propositions against a background of humour and the absurd. Their music is
often produced live, and recorded with just one microphone. Like most of
the other artists in this documentary, Phonic Psychomimesis try to remain
'outside of Capitalism's moralistic dogma' and create music 'only out of an
existential need'. In order to survive they rely on friends, family, and

Collaboration seems to be a key word when it comes to bringing ideas to
fruition in Latvia. Toms Auninsh, a former singer in metal bands who is now
a theatre director, also considers collaborations to be of prime
importance. Because of its small size, Latvia seems to make it easy to get
in touch with artists working in other disciplines. Kaspars Groshevs has
already worked with people who come from different backgrounds such as
performance art, architecture, theatre, fashion and jewellery design:
'Because there are not so many people here, you gradually get to know each
other. So, you can meet somebody at a bar or concert, for example, and the
next day you might have an amazing professional opera singer singing in
your living room.'

*Felix Kubin, 2012.03.15*

*Featured artists (in order of appearance)*

Kaspars Groshevs – Riga (LV)
Martins Rokis – Riga (LV)
Phonic Psychomimesis – Riga (LV)
Sound Meccano (Rostislavs Rekuta) – Riga (LV)
Gas of Latvia (Andris Indāns) – Riga (LV)
Toms Aunins (Toms Auniņš) – Riga (LV)

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