HART magazine and Q-O2, a Brussels-based space for experimental music and sound art, join forces with 21 Tracks for the 21st Century, a series of playlists to gear ourselves for our present century. We ask our guests: what music does this century need? As tonic, as engine-fuel, as rhythm, as common ground, as ballast? Each time, we invite one artist, thinker or musician to prepare a playlist of those sounds, songs and pieces of music that will best arm their listeners with the tools to approach what is left of this young century. Each playlist will be published online and accompanied by a short introduction to the guest(s). To kick off the series, we asked ugne&maria to make the first compilation.
ugne&maria is the duo project of Ugnė Vyliaudaitė and Marija Rasa Kudabaitė, both based in Brussels. Their music is made from a mosaic of samples and carefully triggered field recordings, in dialogue with Vyliaudaitė’s violin. Intricate and calming but far from ambient, in that where ambient music recedes ugne&maria’s music sounds always close to the skin. The compositions are subtle and precise, setting up a logic and then gently manipulating it or letting it hover for several minutes. Elements move seamlessly from background to foreground and then return. Snatches of text or recognisable samples serve as textures rather than as location markers or figures to which one could reliably ascribe meaning.
Despite the pattern like nature of the music (its non-narrative insistence), there is a literary quality here. While the electronics offer hints of house music or half-remembered techno, the violin bathes the entire thing in a wash of Old-World elegance, making it both softer and sadder.
When listening to this music, it is easy to imagine the enormous scale of samples and tracks that must be traded between the two musicians. Indeed, it is music made for a large part from sounds that have been found and traded. In addition to their own music, ugne&maria host a monthly show on Brussels’ Kiosk Radio. In asking the duo to be our first subjects for this new series, we wanted to know how and to what they listen together.
- Ulla - Soak (Tumbling Towards a Wall
One of the key discoveries of past years, Ulla Strauss crafts complex layers of almost tangible/touchable sound textures that each time brings us to a deep listening state. Complete admiration for her solo and collaboration projects (with Perila and Pontiac Streator)
- Andrew Pekler – Humidity Index / Khao Sok (chopped and sewed) (Tristes Tropiques)
Inspired by C. Levi-Strauss memoir, Pekler creates etno-poetic soundscapes of imaginary places, unreal field recordings with a tonal touch in it. Always in a weekdays-daytime playlist.
“House isn’t so much a sound as a situation.” An exceptional, ageless, deep house masterpiece from Terre Thaemlitz. A meditation on the "meaning" of house. An intellectual and political statement about racism, sexism and gender crisis. A pivotal work of art that keeps shaping us.
- Valentina Magaletti, Marlene Ribeiro – Apples from Peru (Due Matte
Exceptional percussion work, a deep dive into an ancient, dark and ritualistic world.
- Ka baird - Spiritus Operis (Respires)
Excellent performer-improviser of these days who is able to turn into something other than a human on stage!
- Rat Heart (MCR) – 2 (Rat Heart)
Somewhere between Madlib, Actress and Arthur Russel, the work of Rat Heart offers a unique sounding experience that feels innovative and fresh in a current post club aesthetic.
- Robin Stewart – Time Travel (Time Travel)
A deep, dark and dubby track that became a soundtrack for the first months of the pandemic back in 2020.
- Schneider Kacirek – To Microphone (Shadows Documents)
A unique blend of mesmerizing percussion and analogue synthesizer from Stefan Schneider and Sven Kacirek sending us to a far out excursion into a whirring and beautifully composed dronefields. A major influence.
Rather than a sound piece, it is a beautifully crafted “sound fiction”. By using field recordings, ambient sounds, and narrative, Cardiff leads a listener through an incredibly spatial audio experience - exploration of sensory perceptions and questioning relations between fiction and reality.
- Population One – Return Of The Speaker People
A major voice in the Detroit techno scene, Terrence Dixon reshaped our understanding of techno music. A groovy and jazzy techno masterpiece that delivers a high dose of energy and dopamine.
- Sandra Boss – Perfect Termisk
Dive into completely analogue and thoughtfully composed microsound world
- Space Africa - Lose You Beau
Embrace of distortion and heavy multilayering of samples and instrumentation gives us recall of our beloved artists as Huerco S, Roméo Poirier.. This duo’s from Manchester music varies from album to album, however, they always bring some fresh winds into the experimental music realm.
- JLIN – Carbon 7 (Black Origami)
Intense footwork, glitchy vocals, hybrid broken rhythms - a proper deconstruction of the grid with a breathtaking dancer in the video.
- Hoshina Anniversary – Karakuri
Tokyo-based artist Hoshina Anniversary keeps blowing our minds. Eccentric, super jazzy, punchy, and meticulously engineered tracks that we shamelessly play on our almost every second radio show.
- Rae – 4 (Rae)
Wind data sonified through live coding. Organic touch generated through algorithms using SuperCollider programming language.
- Demdike Stare – Mathilda’s Dream (Liberation Through Hearing)
Major influence for both of us before we knew each other. Mutual feelings for Mathilda’s dream definitely played a role in the birth of ugne&maria project.
- Hildegard Westerkamp – Gently Penetrating: Beneath The Sounding Surfaces Of Another Place (Into India)
Meticulously constructed soundscapes of sound ecology pioneer Hildegard Westerkamp were soundtracks for long studying hours, allowing a type of transcendental experience while never leaving the room.
- Karen Gwyer – Cherries on Shoulders (Man On Mountain)
A great club track, oscillating between heavy “lo-fi” beats and mesmerizing housy loops.
- Beatrice Dillon - Square Fifths (Workaround)
Hypnotic and polymetric trip to Beatrice’s 150 bpm rhythmical playground.
- Nina Sinephro – Space 5 (Space 1.8)
Beautifully tailored fusion between jazz and electronics, Space 5 of Nina Sinephro is a true trip to a peaceful
- Ora Clementi – Dialogue Between a Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitaller and a Genoese Sea-Captain (Sylva Sylvarum)
Angelic whispering, ticking bells and crackling - most comforting experience from collaborative project of Crys Cole and James Rushford.
ugne&maria will be playing a DJ set at on the 8th April in Leuven at Clubdiner #4 in Stelplaats club, www.stelplaats.be
They will be playing another DJ set at Horst Festival on the 30st of April, www.horstartsandmusic.com
They will be playing live at SMOG on the 5th of May, www.smogmusic.org
For Beursschouwburg, ugne&maria made a soundwalk.