20:00 Maria w Horn
21:15 Jerskin Fendrix
23:45 Aïsha Devi
01:00 El Tigre Sound (DJ-Set)
02:30 Studio Mondial (DJ-Set)
Getting under your skin
Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt are the voices and creative souls of the Norwegian duo Smerz. Voices, because their intimate, symbiotic and at the same time sober vocals are characteristic for Smerz’s sound aesthetic. The two also possess a fine knack for pop moods and melodies, always going beyond mere ear candy.
On their debut album «Believer», released this year on XL Recordings like the two EPs «Okey» (2017) and «Have fun» (2018), Smerz expand the horizons of their R&B-esque soundscape to include orchestral nuances as well as components of traditional Norwegian folk music. The result is a stylish and equally unpredictable journey across various genre destinations – from pop to R&B, rap and trance to classical elements. Digital sounds collide with the acoustics of cello, violin and piano. The incredibly close voices of Motzfeldt and Stoltenberg run like a thread through this sound mesh and make it a sensual, cool and, at the same time, organic overall experience.
Coolness and sensuality, along with grace and whimsicality, also characterise the duo’s live presence. The minimalist dramaturgy and aesthetics of their performances intensify the intimacy of their musical expression.
Transcending the earthly
Maria w Horn lives in Stockholm and manipulates the perception of space and time with her compositions – somewhere between minimal structuralism and offensive electronics. To this end, she uses analogue synthesizers, post-processed acoustic instruments and audio-visual stage components.
At this year’s Saint Ghetto, Maria w Horn will present her composition «Dies Irae». It is an exclusive piece for a female vocal quartet (Tabea Bürki, Simone Rychard, Laure-Anne Payot, Sandra Rohrbach from Ensemble Les Voc-à-lises) as well as electronics. The name as well as the thematic thread of the piece are inspired by the Latin poem «Dies Irae», which has accompanied the Catholic dead on their way to the grave for centuries, when the souls of men are called to the final divine judgement and the unredeemed are cast into the eternal flames. Nevertheless, the basic mood of the composition remains serene rather than heavy, the voices elfin rather than condemning, the electronics dreamy rather than brutal.
The piece is divided into two vocal parts, followed by an improvisation for tuned glass, voice and electronics.
Who the hell is this enigmatic chameleon?
Classically trained pianist and violinist, Jerskin Fendrix, comes from the creative scene around the London music pub Brixton Windmill, just like Black Midi and Black Country, New Road. With his debut album «Winterreise», Fendrix cannibalises everything that could sound like pop at first listen to a highly personal and own sound aesthetic. Like a chameleon, the songs meander around common styles and personas, only to take a completely different direction again. For example, «Manhattan», the first track on the album, begins with an elegant, baroque-like piano melody, evoking the atmosphere of a conservatory, before the song transitions into a swampy lament in which a grim voice compares itself to Skepta, then veers into a screaming electro-punk sequence about marriage proposals and buying socks at Uniqlo, followed by a slow, anthemic emo moment, and ending with a weird no-wave guitar solo. The rest of the album follows a similar course.
Jerskin Fendrix expresses himself in so many ways, in such a short space of time. He successfully averts the risk of creating a mess in the process. His creativity is too electric to ever get bogged down. His beats are unique, his instrumentation diverse and his lyrics witty and rich. In the end, the only question that remains is who this Jerskin Fendrix really is.
Radical sonic alchemy, mesmeric digital mantras
The classically trained soprano voice of the Geneva-born artist with Tibetan roots is her most striking means of expression. All around, the beat pounds and thunders, while generating transcendental aesthetics and at the same time a highly physical listening experience. Aïsha’s creative approach is always spiritual – meditative techniques permeate the production process and inspire her live performances. A healthy dose of metaphysical curiosity, ritual and healing frequencies flow into a unique, rebellious club sound.
Photocredits: Benjamin Barron & Bror August (Smerz), Emile Barret (Aïsha Devi)