Skaņu Mežs festival announces full program

Skaņu Mežs festival for adventurous music, which will happen on October 13-16 as well as November 12 in Riga, Latvia, has announced its full program. In addition to previously announced acts, such as WARP’s Autechre, experimental hip-hop artist Zebra Katz and the ‘’supergroup” of King Midas Sound + Fennesz, the festival will also feature performances by industrial techno project Vatican Shadow, psychedelic dream pop group Tropic of Cancer, post-grime producer M.E.S.H., U.S. free jazz icon Charles Gayle, composer Michael Finnissy – one of the founders of „new complexity – and many others.

The festival will be launched with a special free entry event at the Art Museum Riga Bourse on October 13: contemporary music pianist R. Andrew Lee will perform Dennis Johnson’s five hour long composition „November”, the re-surfacing of which has“effectively rewritten the history of minimalism in one swoop” (Detroit Metro Times), as, being written in 1959 and having influenced La Monte Young’s „The Well-Tuned Piano”, it may turn out to be the first piece of American minimalist music.

The concert nights of October 14 and 15 will both take place at the music hall „Daile”. The first evening will feature performances by Vatican Shadow, the lo-fi industrial techno project of Dominic Fernow a.k.a. Prurient; the joint project of The Bug’s experimental dub group King Midas Sound and glitch electronica veteran Fennesz; U.S. free jazz icon Charles Gayle (tenor saxophone, piano) in collaboration with British improvisers Roger Turner (drums) and John Edwards (double bass); composer and pianist Michael Finnissy, who, along with Brian Ferneyhough, is considered to be one of the fathers of the so-called „new complexity” movement, even though he disapproves of this term; string quartet ReDo, that will give a Latvian premiere to Santa Ratniece’s piece „Silsila”.

October 15 will include performances by experimental hip-hop artist Zebra Katz, best known for the viral hit „Ima Read” as well as his visual mini-album „Nu Renegade” as well as two acts, which, coincidentally, have both published music on the renown label Blackest Ever Black – the psychedelic dream pop project Tropic of Cancer and Killing Sound – a dub and trip-hop influenced ensemble that unites four producers from the Young Echo family (Vessel, El Kid and Jabu) with spoken word artist Chester Giles. Oakland-based free-form experimental music project Black Spirituals will perform their unique version of multi-idiomatic, afro-centric free improv, while the aforementioned percussionist Roger Turner will return for a second performance, this time improvising with German analogue synth player Thomas Lehn – this way Skaņu Mežs marks the fact that, just like Michael Finnissy, Turner turns 70 this year.

The concert nights of October 14 and 15 will feature a selection of artists from the Skaņu Mežs co-founded SHAPE platform for innovative music and audiovisual art. In addition to the previously mentioned Killing Sound, there will also be performances by “post-grime” producer M.E.S.H. who exemplifies the sound of Berlin’s club night series and label Janus; Swedish producer Peder Mannerfelt, who has worked with Fever Ray and Blonde Redhead, and whose album „Controlling Body” has been named one of the best albums of 2016 thus far by FACT Magazine; electronic music composer Klara Lewis, whose both full-length albums have been published by the legendary Austrian label Editions Mego.

On October 16, in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in Riga and with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Skaņu Mežs will organize a concert at the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre with the participation of M.E.S.H. and Thomas Lehn.

On November 12, after nearly a month-long break, the festival will return to the music hall „Daile”, concluding with performances by the WARP-signed electronic music innovators Autechre and noise musician and curator Russell Haswell as well as a DJ set by Andy Maddocks, founder of Skam Records.

A full list of performances can be found at the end of this document.

Tickets to the festival can be purchased here:

The SHAPE platform, and all its artists playing at Skaņu Mežs are supported by the „Creative Europe” programme of the European Union.

The Skaņu Mežs festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of Latvia, State Culture Capital Foundation, the Municipality of Riga, the Goethe-institut Riga, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Kulturkontakt Nord, US Embassy in Latvia, Danish Cultural Institute, as well as iRobot and Red Bull Music Academy.

More info:

October 13, 18:00, Art Museum Riga Bourse

Andrew Lee plays Dennis Johnson’s „November” (USA)

October 14, 20:00, music hall “Daile”

King Midas Sound + Fennesz (Great Britain/Austria)



October 15, 20:00, music hall “Daile”

Tropic of Cancer (USA)


November 12, 20:00, music house “Daile”

Autechre (Great Britain)

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