SPEIGAS festival changes with every edition, and it gets more and more interesting to compare and see how it evolves. Each year I have something to bitch about, because what is the point of doing anything if you don’t care about it enough to get into disputes on the internet with people you do not know. amirite.
In an doubtfully interesting twist, I decided that maybe elaborate rants is not the only way to talk about events in Lithuania, and since there is too little information about Lithuanian festivals and artists in English (and Lithuanian artists are amazing), I should put my diploma into a good use and write some historically suspicious posts about that. I wanted to start doing it long time ago, but I delayed it because I am lazy and, most of the time, drunk.
Another fascinating twist: I’ll start with shortly presenting the best Lithuanian performers and SPEIGAS festival by AGHARTA, because well. Biased, again.
SPEIGAS ‘ 2010
First SPEIGAS was living up to it’s name. It was -20, there was frost, my ears fall off both because of the cold and the noises. And there was plenty of both. After first evening I said that “there is nothing which can top that” – but was wrong, because the whole weekend was a feast for massive noise walls and serious, thoughtful sound. With just a right amount of absurd from Ramūnas Jaras.
Personal highlight: Performance by ZOäT AON in Vilnius, happening in total darkness, so there was no distractions, only you and the heavy ambience. Listening to it you were out of your body, gripping on the mixture of lightness, substance and wonder.
February 12+26: Kaunas (TESA, 9 HORIZON, IN EMBERO, MANIFESTO, ROVAR 17, BRUZGYNAI, RAMŪNAS JARAS)
Two weekends, four days, dedication to sludge metal and dark ambient/industrial. There was a great idea to make the festival have a topic, and that topic would be birds of winter, but then again, it it hard to follow through all the great ideas. Probably least favourite festival for me personally, except for a lot of good conversations and a couple of intensive performances, notable
highlight with BRUZGYNAI, surprising visually because of tai chi moves and a mask, and intriguing soundwise – it was one of the strongest performances by Arma in the first period of this project.
February 11: Vilnius (GIRNŲ GIESMĖS/Lt, OORCHACH/Lt, F.T.B.P.D./Ger, SKELDOS/Lt, LAPOT/Lt + CRIM3S/Gb, LAVA LARVA/Lt, KILLORGIVEUP/Ee, JONNY TEARDROP/Fr) – more about artists
Third festival was a trip. Two stages (industrial and witch house) during one evening, in an amazing venue (museum about industry, energetics and technology of Lithuania) in a collaboration with other Lithuanian organizer, Sha:Tri:Ah. Fest was so fancy that it even had a promo video. Which didn’t really help with technical problems in witch house stage, pipes leaking oil, fun conflicts and overall maddness of around 400 visitors. Rumour has it industrial stage was a blast!
February 8th: Wouter Jaspers/Nl, Jiku 55/Jap, Girnų giesmės/Lt, Danil Akimov/Ru, Sovijus/Lt, Sala/Lt
February 9th: Grunt/Fin, Maaa/Pol, Oorchach/Lt, Jaako Vanhala/Fin, Pogrom/Lt
Change of venue – this time moving to a place called “The Hook”, carrying old history of alternative events. And a hook. Two days, one for drone and ambient, other for noise and power electronics. Hands down, the best festival of all, only if for the second day of noise and power electronics. From brutal vocals to deadly walls, from industrial loops to blinding force. Fuck yeah.
Personal highlight: Second day as a whole, GRUNT especially:
Photos of the first day by Sieloj ramu :: Launagis :: Kult.lt :: Kablys Photos from second day by Launagis; Sieloj Ramu :: Both days by Jurga. Lectures: Danil Akimov :: Mikko Aspa. Videos from SPEIGAS IV. Reviews from SPEIGAS IV.
February 7: Vilnius (Sudden Infant/Ch, Voyvoda/Bg, Any/De, Oorchach/Lt, Obšrr/Lt)
February 8th: Kaunas (Voyvoda/Bg, Any/De, Sovijus/Lt, Tiese/Lt, Bruzgynai/Lt)
Vth edition was slightly expanding and switching to yet another direction – adding more performative (Sudden Infant, Any) and dancy (Voyvoda) elements to the festival, it still had the essence of frost with cold loops by Oorchach and dark poetry of Obšrr.
Even though I didn’t go to event in Kaunas, too many people said that BRUZGYNAI performance was the cherry on the cake. Well, they seem to be right:
Photos from Vilnius Lauryna and by Launagis&Živilė. Photos from Kaunas by Launagis. Reviews from Paulius Ilius and Siggnal (highly approved because dudes knows what they are talking about). Interviews with performers (in Lithuanian): ANY, OBŠRR, SOVIJUS, SUDDEN INFANT, TIESE, VOYVODA.
Notice how there are some repeating names in the line-ups? Simple reason: they are amazing artists, who have clear cut and precise approach towards music. If you know 5 names about Lithuanian experimental music, know these:
GIRNŲ GIESMĖS – called the pioneer of Lithuanian dark ambient, started the project in 1995 (1996?) and didn’t stop to amaze since. Each performance – sound driven trip, sans vocals plus layers. Collaborates in other Lithuanian projects, notably BUDRŪS (which recently released “Canine Visions IX” in Freak Animal Records)
LYS – they call him “Lithuanian drone prince” and other terrible, terrible names, and of course it is all fun and games until you actually listen to his live performances. And when you do, do sometimes have to go out the venue and walk the sound off, because it is strong, precise and just on the border of noise. Collaborates with GANA2 in TIESE, provoking with broken rythms and interruption.
OBŠRR once had to make up a genre of his own (and, of course, named it “neofolka neopolka“), because there was nothing quite similar like that around. His cassette “Patogi Gelmė” was one of my favourites for a long time – light, nostalgic, varied, superb. Collaborates with OORCHACH in VILKDUJA, which is a phenomenon on it’s own.
OORCHACH is a perfectionist. Lyrics, visuals, sound – everything is put together carefully, following the main atmospheric line. Hidden in industrial loops, magical images and strong, ever-evolving narrative, telling stories which may’ve happened in the alternative reality. The frontman of VILKDUJA, a pseudofolk quabbaret, one of the finest Lithuanian projects.
POGROM – driven by vocals and concept, making a statement and spreading disorder. The strongest power electronics project here, which makes every live performance a treat. No bullshit approach. Has Terror label, where releases records and zines.
If you have any reviews or photos from SPEIGAS, or disagree that there are way better projects, leave a comment.