Tallinn Music Week’s (TMW) partner Telliskivi Creative City has issued the artist award to post-pop producer and singer Mart Avi, multi-instrumentalist Erki Pärnoja and electro-pop artist NOËP. The award includes 1300 euros prize money and access to the mentoring programme of Music Estonia.
The winners were selected by TMW music industry delegates among the 133 Estonian artists from this year’s TMW edition. All winners have a distinguished sound and artistic image as well as export potential.
The delegates pointed out Mart Avi’s artistic concept, modern and unique sound and playful vocals. Music critic and scholar Simon Reynolds noted that “unlike with a lot of conceptronica, his thoughtful thoughts don’t get in the way of the seduction effect.” Anastasia Connor of Drowned in Sound labelled Avi as a “true child of post-genre“ and his TMW performance as one of her most extraordinary concert experience of recent years.
Mart Avi’s live programme was based on his latest highly praised album “Rogue Wave.”
”After recovering from a severe fracture I directed my new skeleton into the TMW performances,” says Avi. “I had proper fireworks going on in my head that I tried to direct down from the stage, to avoid going up in flames myself.” Avi is not going to stop here: ”The prize money will go to cover technical damages and future “after-shocks”. I’ll also be working on a new album, hopefully to be released this year. Thank you!”
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erki Pärnoja presented his first solo album “Efterglow” together with his band. TMW delegates noted his unique Nordic touch, impressionist guitar riffs, film like soundscape and high instrumental skills of the whole band. Chris Kellogg of the USA KEXP station called Pärnoja a “fantastic discovery”, the editor of Tape Op Alex Maiolo pointed out that Efterglow shows the unique Nordic feel of “landscape soundtrack”.
Pärnoja said that this year’s TMW was especially busy and fruitful: ”We made four shows. In Club Sinilind the audience and band erupted in a riot, the home concert opened up a real new format of a common understanding between the artist and audience. At the largest concert in Vaba Lava we experienced some pin drop moments – such a deep stillness as if no one was even breathing. The gig in BiitMe Record Store was the dot on the I for our TMW tour.” Pärnoja hopes to perform “Efterglow” live a lot more: “I think live performance brings the recorded material to new life and moves it further. We have quite a few showcase festivals in Europe coming up this year and the prize is a big help for this.”
The electronic indie pop artist NOËP aka singer and producer Andres Kõpper was praised for his engaging and skilful performance including the hit singles “Move” and “Rooftop”. Clotaire Buche of the French music agency Junzi Arts praised NOËP as the “next big thing” whilst Jeffrey Barney of the US Minneapolis Magazine called the multi talent one-man-band “a possible global draw”.
Kõpper, already a successful act under the Swedish Sony Music label, is pleasantly surprised: “TMW is still a great opportunity to present one’s music and live skills internationally without crossing country borders.” He plans to use the prize money for the finishing touches of new songs and possibly a new microphone.
Telliskivi Creative City, TMW’s long-term partner has awarded the artist prize for the second time. Telliskivi has become an ever more active partner of the festival as well as a great contributor to the cultural life of Tallinn. Apart from festivals like TMW and Jazzkaar Telliskivi hosts a number of cultural events, it’s a location for the band house, offices of TMW and Music Estonia.
Earlier winners of the TMW artist prize are: Popidiot (2009), Iiris (2010), Ewert and The Two Dragons (2011), Talbot (2012), Elephants From Neptune (2013), Odd Hugo (2014), Maarja Nuut (2015) and I Wear* Experiment (2016).