Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Lietuvos Garso Menas - Lithuanian Sound Art
Format: CD
Label: compiled by Gintas K (@)
Rated: *****
As he promised in the last chat we had on the occasion of his excellent release "slow" on French indipendent label Baskaru, Gintas Kraptavicius aka Gintas K invited us to discover the surprising Lithuanian sound art scene, which is almost unknown out of Lithuanian borders, by presenting us with a compilation he cared whose importance deservedly gained the institutional recognition by the support of the Ministry of Culture of the small Baltic Republic and LATOA-A (Agency of Lithuanian Copyight Protection Association) and equipped by thorough description by Jurij Dobriakov. I acknowledge that the quality of this cluster of Lithuanian experimentalists went beyond my expectation. Most of the first tracks seem to emphasize the spacial aspect of each sonic moulding: the initial "gir gir gir gar gar gar (garsas)" by Andrius Rugys seems to trace the attention's direction of the composer/listener during a rowing boat trip in the Green lakes nearby Vilnius, from the initial focus on the sound of water and creaking wooden boards after each stroke to the traditional folk song by Agota and Dorota Zdanaviciule, whose syncopation, which is a typical element of some Lithuanian vocal styles such as the many different kinds of Sutartines, seems to be mirrored by recorded natural elements and rowing itself; the academically trained composer Vytautas V.Jurgutis builds interesting figures by curling overpressurized computational microsounds, which gradually become more and more abrasive, while Antanas Dombrovskij perverts Raminta Kurklietyte's vocal improvisations by asphyxiating clumps and spasmodic rashes from broken synthesizer and circuit bending on "NNN broken jazz". The vagarious enchanting drowsy tune "We Watch TV" by Arturas Bumsteinas is an assay of the amazing "Sleep (an attempt at trying)", a radio project commissioned by the Deutschland Radio Kultur broadcasting service, which took the form of a fictional late night show for insomniacs and precedes "blind man tales 2", the astonishing textural piece consisting of melodic bits, granular particles and indented noises by which Gintas K won the main prize of the second international sound art Broadcasting Art, held in Spain in 2010. A different and likewise entrancing way to mould melodic bits comes from audio_z, the solo project of Tautvydas Bajarkevicius, whose (lasting more than 12 minutes) excerpt "Bits Pieces and So Far Beyond" focuses on whirling punctuating melodies of frail sounds and acoustic guitars, opaque transparencies and fishbowl-like deforming spacialization. Another mouthwatering assay is the excerpt of PAR, a metamorphic soundscape which features violin, electronics and enviromental sound recordings grabbed in South Africa (PAR is the Lithuanian abbreviation for SAR) Lina Lapelyte performed at Cafe Oto in London in April 2012. Antanas Jasenka minimal abstract electronics on "prognostic@act", a piece for microphone, voice, electric organ VENTA, max/msp and graphic equalizer vaguely resembles some stuff by Pylone, Zonk't, Alva Noto or Jan Jelinek, but he manages to inject a more baffling mark by means of the words he took from the notorious Seikilos epitaph ("While you live, shine/have no grief at all/life exists only for a short while/and time demands its toll"). Another interesting declension of minimalism is the one by sound artists and architect Tomas Grunskis aka ad_OS, who translated architectural graphic information (the draft of a city and its elements) into digital sonic information, which sounds basic but totally inhuman on "Analog underWAWE". The last track of this interesting sonic miscellany cannot be but a toast or I'd better say a proper sonic toast as the electroacoustic project SALA recorded sound of the fermentation of gira, a traditional Lithuanian beverage, for their bizarre track "Fermentacija".

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