Jauna Muzika 2020
September 3‒6, 2020
Arts Printing House, Vilnius
Jauna Muzika Festival presents artists working with sound and music as a form of experimental art. It is one of the oldest and most changed music festivals in Lithuania, founded in 1992. As the concept of music changed, maintaining its relevance so did the festival itself, its directions, and sometimes its names.
The Jauna Muzika Festival that brings together sound art and performativity, visual art and experimental practices of new music returns on September 3‒6, 2020, and offers fifteen events, inviting to explore the theme of “Collectibles.”
The festival roster features artists whose work is conceptually related to the practices of sonic experiences, memory, documentation of corporeal gestures, and their translation into sound. They will present works, in which various means of knowledge accumulation become rethought in the context of a musical work conceived as a ‘subjective archive.’ A conventional concert appearance gives way to a theatrical stage presence; gestures are perceived through the medium of sound; and sounds reach us not only from the outside world but also from our echoic memory. The festival audience will have yet another opportunity to collect aural experiences together with the featured artists whose collections of physical and virtual storage formats will be showcased in performances, concerts and video screenings.
The theme of this year’s edition invites us to explore the multitudinous diversity of experimental music, without drawing distinctions between electronic and acoustic music, and introduces our carefully selected collection, albeit somewhat corrected by the quarantine, of some of the most adventurous, searching artists working in the world today. The four-day-long festival will be held at the Arts Printing House in Vilnius, each night filling different combinations of spaces with individual visions of music.
Arturas Bumšteinas, programme curator
LAURA STASIULYTĖ (LT)
Intention to Remember is one of Laura Stasiulytė’s performative video artworks, in which the artist tries to retrieve her memory of the songs and sings them here and now, sitting in the kitchen, without any preliminary rehearsals or scripts, but with all lost words, stanzas, and abundant pauses – her attempts to remember. The duration of silent episodes depends on the artist’s memory, while the duration of the whole video coincides with the duration of the VHS tape. The artist recollects and sings all the songs she has (not) sung in her life – from the ones she was taught at school to the repertoire of family celebrations.
Laura Stasiulytė (b. 1977) currently lives and works in Vilnius. She teaches at the Photography and Media Art Department of the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Among the key themes, which became apparent already in her early works, are the nature, development and implementation of ethnic identity through education and the media; the influence of widespread dichotomies, such as us/them and local/foreign, on interpersonal relationships; and the individual’s place in different language, mentality, or ideological systems. The artist combines diverse media in her works including video documentaries, slide projections, photography, sound recordings, texts and drawings.
EYE GYMNASTICS (LT)
Eye Gymnastics is a stage name of Viktorija Damerell and Gailė Griciūtė. The artists collaborate in creating experimental music performances, which often feature verbal instructions used in eye gymnastics and mindfulness meditation, as well as verbal healing charms. In their vocal explorations, sensual timbres merge with mental voyages, hypnosis and the echoes of pop music.
At the Jauna Muzika festival the Eye Gymnastics duo presents a live vocal performance developed in a dialogue with Refusenik’s sound material. During the show, texts that have been originally inspired by eye exercises transform into imagination workout, in which gradually evolving melodic interludes get combined with the spoken songs.
VYTAUTAS V. JURGUTIS (LT)
Ellipses for string quartet (2003)
Referring to an ellipse as a mathematical or geometrical term, the title denotes a certain trajectory, which is consistently reflected in the work’s macro- and microstructures, thereby affecting most of its musical parameters. It also alludes to yet another, linguistic, term of an ellipsis – a rhetorical omission of words that are nevertheless easily understood in the context of remaining elements.
Speaking of the form, the shape of circle also comes to mind, as a symbol of perfect symmetry that came to be somewhat overused and aesthetically hackneyed.
On second thought, the last two sentences have nothing to do with music.
The piece was commissioned by the Gaida Festival and dedicated to its first performers, the Arditti Quartet.
Vytautas V. Jurgutis
Vytautas V. Jurgutis (b. 1976) is best known as a composer of electronic music. At the start of his career, he was keen on using the elements of contemporary pop culture and giving them a new twist of meaning in his work. Later on he focused his attention more on the nature, production and refinement of sound, using advanced sound programming techniques. With his sophisticated, abstract electronic compositions, Jurgutis has secured his place at the forefront of the Lithuanian electronic music scene. In an attempt to expand the scope and strengthen the effect of musical expression, he also creates visuals for his compositions by programming real-time computer graphics. A distinctive coalescence of the features inherent in acoustic and electronic music can be also noticed in a number of his chamber and orchestral works.
The Chordos Quartet was formed in 1997. During its existence the quartet has demonstrated an enduring commitment to promoting the latest in Lithuanian music abroad and bringing the most recent as well as greatest pieces of contemporary repertoire to wide audiences in Lithuania. They were in fact the first in Lithuania to perform quartet pieces by many world-renowned contemporary composers, such as M.Feldman, G.Ligeti, G.Crumb, T.Riley, S.Reich, G.Bryars, etc.. Apart from contemporary works, which normally forms the centrepiece of the quartet’s concert programmes, its extensive repertoire encompasses a rich variety of different styles, epochs and genres. Chordos is often found participating in unconventional and innovative projects, which include collaborations with choirs, such as “Jauna muzika” and “Brevis”, and Lithuanian rock and jazz stars such as Andrius Mamontovas, Liudas Mockūnas, Baltic Jazz Trio. The quartet has been regularly performing with many prominent Lithuanian classical musicians, including David Geringas (cello), Liudas Mockūnas (saxophone), and Raimondas Sviackevičius (accordion). Its recent recording credits also include incidental music for films and theatre.
CLOCKWORK GIUSEPPE (LT)
Clockwork Giuseppe (aka Ignas Juzokas) is a Lithuanian sound designer, techno producer and theatre composer. At the festival he will improvise on modular synthesizer.
AUGUSTĖ VICKUNAITĖ (LT) AND NINA GUO (US)
The material for “I have got so much to tell you but I just don’t know how to begin” has been drawn from the personal archives of various people from different parts of the world, containing reel-to-reel tapes and recorders. This performance explores the themes of nostalgia, passage of time, privacy and intimacy. These reel-to-reel tapes are accidental finds that feature music, fragments of important talk radio shows of the time, and eavesdropped family conflicts. In addition, this collection includes reel-to-reel recorders, which reproduce at times vanishing, unintelligible, or ‘freakish’ sounds to our modern ears. The sight of old sound recording and reproduction machines, noisy output signals, and amplifiers placed inside their mechanism play their own part in this performance. The title is taken from the greetings, recorded on one of the tapes.
Augustė Vickunaitė produces music using old, often broken-down reel-to-reel tape recorders, and tape loops that feature fragments of field recordings, conversations of her friends, musical performances, and other planned or accidental recordings. She currently lives and studies sound art in Berlin.
Nina Guo is a high soprano currently based in Berlin and Boston. She sings notated and improvised music and frequently uses theatre. When she isn’t experimenting with her instrument and learning music, she reads essays, listens in parks, and eats bread.
SHOLTO DOBIE (UK)
Sholto Dobie was born in Edinburgh and lives in Vilnius. He works with sound, music and performances as well as organising events and exhibitions. Recent audio works include Preambula, Amplify Festival: quarantine (2020) and House Flood, WEST, Den Haag (2020), and performances at Counterflows Festival, Glasgow (2019) and Hoolie-gool-ooo-ooo, Scottish Sculpture Workshop (2018). He has released music on Penultimate Press and OtoRoku.
In Jauna Muzika Sholto will perform an improvisation using a self-built pipe organ made during the quarantine period.
RŪTA VITKAUSKAITĖ (LT)
Sravati is a Sanskrit word that is related to Lithuanian verb ‘srovena,’ which means ‘it is flowing / running.’ The structure of this piece is a flow – from one section to another, interchanging between small and narrow, wide and powerful currents. Those currents are of mind, or sound and air (and there is a lot of air that moves along the pipes in traditional organ), as well as electric currents (because in this concert we are listening to an electric organ), and light currents, and finally, subtle currents that we cannot see or hear. The piece was composed in 2020 as a festival commission.
Rūta Vitkauskaitė’s (b. 1984) musical interests are widely varied: while working in the field of classical composition, she has also dedicated much of her time to research into collaborative music creation and music personalisation. Rūta has recently obtained PhD in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she focused on audience engagement and collective music creation. Her collaborative electro-acoustic opera for blind-folded audience, Confessions, created by the Spatial Opera Company, has won Golden Stage Cross in Lithuania a few years ago, and since then has toured across Lithuania, Sweden and the EU. Her Walking Opera (co-created with the local communities and presented as a sound-walk around local areas) has been premiered in Aarhus Capital of Culture 2017, and re-created in Notting Hill, London.
Dainius Sverdiolas (b. 1956) was educated as choral conductor and organist at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre where he studied with Prof. Hermanas Perelšteinas and Prof. Leopoldas Digrys. He later honed his organ techniques at master classes in Weimar (Germany) and Haarlem (the Netherlands). Since 1981, he has taught choral conducting at the Vilnius Conservatory where he has been subsequently appointed Head of Organ Class from 1992 to 2005. In 1997, he founded Organum, a musical instruments retail company, which is the authorized representative for Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, and Bösendorfer pianos in Lithuania.
JONAS JURKŪNAS (LT)
Collection #2 (2020) is an acousmatic composition for which sounds were sourced from the composer’s collection of synthesizers. All the synthesizers, heard in this piece, were made in the post-Soviet Eastern Bloc.
Jonas Jurkūnas (b. 1978) is a composer keen on discovering and exploiting very different layers of musical creativity, from academic to pop and incidental music. Genre-wise, his creative portfolio includes chamber and orchestral pieces as well as electronic music, multimedia and interdisciplinary projects. Stylistically, his music finds itself in the neighbourhood with minimalism and new tonality. Very often he uses simple sound patterns, pulsating with rhythms, as his creative start-up while searching for the new or already forgotten timbres and expressions. These are the minimalist strategies, which the composer weaves into his music together with experimental or club-style electronics, ambient stylistics, as well as elements of jazz, pop, or even romantic music.
JOKŪBAS ČIŽIKAS (LT)
“Pareidolic Bodies” (2020) is an art research project touching on the issues of electromagnetic pollution, radiation, sonic weapons, and sound healing. In his work, the composer employs mind-altering structures of sound frequencies, various scientific and technological methods borrowed from research on the magnetic fields emanating from organs of the human body, such as the heart and brain, and the impact of external fields, such as electromagnetic radiation of new communication technologies and noise pollution in urban areas, on the human body. This work is performed on Kala Sound System – a do-it-yourself analog sound system developed in Vilnius.
Jokūbas Čižikas (b. 1988) is an artist, living and working in Vilnius and Athens. His art practice encompasses installation and performance art, sculptural prototypes and audio-visual compositions, in which he explores the super-sensory phenomena, the interaction between nature and technology, and socio-political structures.
Since 2009, the Kala Sound System has been a ‘DIY’ affair devoted to the development of an analog sound system to play dub, drone, dancehall music, and sometimes to be used within the context of audio-visual art.
SEBASTIAN BUCZEK (PL)
Sebastian Buczek is a visual and sound artist from Poland. He was educated at the ASP in Kraków, in Katowice and at the Łódź Film School. His artistic output embraces diverse fields within audio-visual arts, including microscopic photography for scientific publications on parasitology, audio-visual performances and sculptures. He usually performs on stage accompanied by his humanoid robot friend, Jan Boll, and uses bizarre DIY instruments and objects, vinyl records made of glass or wood and covered in beeswax. Sebastian runs an experimental music label, AltanovaPress. The label uses old vinyl record cutting machine from the 1960s to produce unique limited edition Lo-Fi records of Polish artists.
EDGARS RUBENIS (LV) & LAIVO TROUPE (LT)
Edgars Rubenis’ composition “Durations of Objects” (2020) prescribes an investigative setting for exploration of possible links between the worlds of everyday and music. Guided by unconditional curiosity, the piece develops both nature and duration of its sound materials in close dialogue with everyday objects. Arising from a series of experimental study-pieces for solo performer, the ensemble version to be performed at Jauna Muzika is developed by Rubenis in collaboration with the Laivo Troupe.
Edgars Rubenis (b. 1983) is a Latvian guitar player and composer, who currently lives and works in the Netherlands. Having gone through an extensive practice in experimental guitar music, he now writes for acoustic and electronic instruments, guided by an interest in relationships between diverse structural components of musical acts, such as the composed sound, listening, the surrounding environment, and temporal progression.
Laivo Troupe is a free improvised music ensemble, consisting of musicians from different musical backgrounds, including jazz, classical, contemporary, or funk music, whose individuality lends a unique quality to the sound of the whole ensemble. Ensemble’s main musical approach is free improvisation, although it has wide range of different repertoire including original compositions, arrangements, graphic scores, improvised funk music, pure drone and much more. By exploring and experimenting with diverse worlds of music and going extreme on odd rhythms, atonal harmonies, timbres and extended techniques, ensemble creates an expressive and unconventional form of musical performance, always challenging themselves and their listeners’ ear.
BASTARD ASSIGNMENTS (UK)
Bastard Assignments are Timothy Cape, Edward Henderson, Caitlin Rowley and Josh Spear, four composer-performers making experimental music that explores performativity, movement and live art. We work collaboratively and are developing a shared creative practice. We organise performances in London and show work across the UK and internationally. In 2019 we have performed at the Aldeburgh Festival, Spor Festival in Århus, and Konsertserien Periferien in Oslo, alongside two showcase performances of our work in London and multiple appearances on BBC Radio 3. 2018’s highlights included touring to the USA to work with Mocrep in Chicago, and recording a session for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction with American electronica artist Swan Meat. In 2020 we return to Oslo and travel to Lithuania for Jauna Muzika.
Thick and Tight A Happy Birthday (2018)
A Happy Birthday is based on Harold Pinter’s Birthday Party and explores the play through sound, choreography and lip-syncing. Thick & Tight are an award winning dance duo who are interested in collaborating with a variety of artists with a particular focus in creating new links between sound and movement.
Tim Cape Sugar Cage (2018)
“Depressive hedonia”, an inability to stop consuming entertainment which we know ultimately makes us feel terrible, is one of the concepts that stuck with me after reading Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism. The book is about the contemporary belief that there is no realistic alternative to our current economic system, despite its destructive and exploitative nature being acknowledged by almost everyone. In Sugar Cage I am also trapped – below an image of my own face looming huge above me, hand outstretched. The moment of connection between finger and screen, between flesh and interface is the focus – the moment this “depressive hedonia” is transformed into data, and ultimately profit. The process of making the piece was a different type of obsessing in front of a screen – spending hours making rhythmic and melodic material from tiny fragments of footage. The footage was made by engaging with my smartphone (almost) as I am supposed to – with voice and touch. In this sense Sugar Cage is part of a group of recent pieces of mine that use playfulness to subvert and negotiate situations of control.
Caitlin Rowley Quiet Songs (2019)
Quiet Songs for viola, voice and video explores the composer-performer’s modes of work, imperfect working environments, and self-silencing of some types of work as a response to disruption to the ostensibly ‘private’ workspace. The piece juxtaposes video footage shot in the composer’s studio – which is either silent, or recorded via a contact mic on the window, which foregrounds ambient noise that is characteristic of the space – with live performance which suffers no such sonic restriction. As the piece progresses, the live performance becomes independent of the activity in the studio, but never quite escapes that connection with where and how the piece was made.
Josh Spear FEED (2019)
FEED was made collaboratively with the group. It is tornadic in structure and started life as an exploded horror movie whereby the characters in the story were at once in the action as well as watching themselves on film. The performers lipsync and mime to audio and go on a tour of fear and violence. Each scene is paired with another scene through sound, movement, or expression.
ALANAS GURINAS (LT)
In his electroacoustic work, Alanas Gurinas uses various ready-made objects in combination with DIY instruments and manipulates the sound material arising from this junction. At Jauna Muzika he will perform live on his DIY instrument ‘Concordesonic’, which is an electronically prepared bicycle.
I have been active in the field of sound art and field recordings for more than fifteen years but it was not until 1994 that I became involved with more ‘conventional’ music. Among the groups, with which I played at that time, there was a free-form performance collective called SALA, with which we have made a series of rowdy, provocative appearances at all major contemporary music festivals in Lithuania including Sumirimas, Didelis pasaulis, Mėnuo Juodaragis, Tundra, and Supynės. With SALA we have released more than fifteen official and unofficial albums and appeared in many concerts. Starting from the year 2000, our work naturally transformed into a different kind of collaboration. We continue to appear as a trio in live performances, while I alone produce recordings. My personal interest lies more in very silent sounds, almost inaudible without the special equipment. Meanwhile in concerts, to achieve greater effect, we use guitars, analog synthesizers and DIY instruments. In addition to collecting natural and environmental sounds and creating sound maps, I also lead guided ‘audio tours,’ sound workshops and talks on acoustic ecology. In my own work I focus mostly on sounds that are not normally audible to the human ear, unless it is aided with technology, such as underwater mics, contact mics, seismic activity sensors, and electromagnetic field antennas – anything what can help discover the inaudible world around us.
JŪRA ELENA ŠEDYTĖ (LT)
“Ready When You Are” (2020). “Our every conscious action or experience is based on movement,” claims Jūra Elena Šedytė. “Intentional action is also necessary for the production and propagation of sound, for which we use our bodies.” In her solo performance, which combines music, movement and visuals, Šedytė explores human body – primarily, her own body – as a sounding and moving object. She is also interested in how such an object is perceived by the viewer. By applying methods derived from phenomenology, she tries to articulate her self-perception and search for the features of intentionality in humans.
Jūra Elena Šedytė is a composer, singer and improviser whose work has been recently showcased on the music scenes in Lithuania and Denmark. Her live performances feature her as a singer and electronica artist, exploring various psychological and social issues through diverse media including video art, movement and theatre. Over the past few years she has appeared solo and in various collaborative projects in Vilnius and Copenhagen. She has returned several times to the Jauna Muzika and Druskomanija festivals in Lithuania. In 2019, she was part of the group involved in the production of the sound experience Glaistas (Plaster), recorded on site of the Jewish ghetto in Vilnius and presented by the Operomanija.
RADICAL POLISH ANSAMBL (PL)
Radical Polish Ansambl is a utopian attempt to combine the most archaic elements of the Polish countryside traditions with the most avant-garde elements of contemporary experimental music.
To further add to its paradoxical character, the inspiration for this crazy idea came from North India, a place often visited by the prominent Polish avant-garde clarinet player Wacław Zimpel. In 2016, he discovered in the archives of the Delhi Public Library mysterious notes containing an uncommon name for that part of the world – श्री तादेउश शिएलंका (a distinctly Polish name of Shri Tadeusz Sielanka). He was even more surprised by the musical notation connected with the enigmatic figure, which contained themes clearly derived from mazurkas. The notes accompanying the notation suggested that they constituted a basis for more extended pieces, which in their formal and tonal logic were close to raga. So it turned out that cross-cultural experiments and advanced trance forms are in the very nature of Polish traditional music!
And perhaps there is nothing strange about this fact. It is enough to open one’s eyes and ears a bit more to notice that the sound art of the Polish countryside is a phenomenon far more unique and interesting in the global perspective than we have traditionally thought. After all, the Polish mazurka was once known to have reached France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, the Azores, the Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, and the Philippines. Perhaps, if this expansion had occurred in the era of the global music industry, mazurka would have gained the same status in contemporary culture as reggae.
But what do we really know about Tadeusz Sielanka? A promising lead can be found in the memoirs of Witold Gliński, a Pole who escaped a gulag and reached North India on foot in 1941 together with a group of other escapees. Half a century later, Peter Weir based a movie on the story—The Way Back, starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell. Among those who took part in this “long walk” was a man named Sielanka, a country musician from the region of Sochaczew, Poland, who was conscripted into the Polish army before the war.
Six “folk” violinists and a percussionist playing on dżaz, a hand-made instrument—artists known from groups such as L. Stadt, Lautari, Tęgie Chłopy or Odpoczno—took up the challenge of reconstructing the music of this semi-mythical Polish-Indian experimentalist. And they persuaded a number of contemporary composers to follow in his footsteps. Today, the repertoire of the Radical Polish Ansambl includes not only pieces by Tadeusz Sielanka, but also by Zygmunt Krauze, Sławek Kupczak, Cezary Duchnowski, and Agnieszka Stulgińska. And although the ensemble has only existed for a year and is currently working on its debut album, it has already performed at prestigious festivals, such as Codes in Lublin and Sacrum Profanum in Cracow.
Festivalis Jauna Muzika
Lietuvos Kompozitorių Sąjunga
Mickevičiaus g. 29, LT-08117, Vilnius
Tel. +370 689 19228
Tel. +370 620 76507