Skaņu Mežs 2013 – dubstep veteran and bass music innovator Shackleton

The musician Shackleton, originally from Lancashire but currently residing in Berlin, will perform during Skaņu Mežs rhythm music night in the concert hall Palladium on October 11. Shackleton first became known as one of the pioneers of dubstep, but in the last few years has caught the attention of the dance music world by experimenting with more unusual forms of bass music.

 Shackleton

Sam Shackleton, or just Shackleton as he is known, founded the record label Skull Disco together with colleague Appleblim. This label was for many years an indespensible part of the dubstep scene. Skull Candy also released Shackleton’s own records in which the development of his own music from more minimal techno, influenced by the project Muslimgauze, to music influenced by dub and more contemporary dubstep forms, is clearly visible. The magazine Resident Advisor writes writes about his music thus: “Shackleton’s loopy drum programming and ink-stained bass [...] are pushed to psychedelic extremes. Rather than seeking a way out for their music, they found new ways to burrow deeper.” His latest musical output, the two CD compilation “Music for the Quiet Hour/The Drawbar Organ EPs,” introduces lighter elements into his music – for example uplifting organ themes as well as more colorful choices of texture – while at the same time supplementing his mystical minimal techno with busy polyrhytms, delicate sound design and vocals reminiscent of Steve Reich’s early experimental style.

Pitchfork has reviewed “Music for the Quiet Hour/The Drawbar Organ EPs” saying that “[the compilation] sees Shackleton sink even further into grotesque dub madness. It’s the work rather of an experimental composer more so than a dance producer [...]” An edition of The Wire dedicated to experimental music named this album one of the top 50 albums of 2012.

“For me, music should transport you out of this earthly way and take you to another place, another dimension somehow,” says Shackleton who is called one of the most mysterious personalities in the dance music scene because he likes to limit his exposure to the media. “I don’t like self-publicising [...]” he explains. “I do read some mainstream media though to keep up with what’s happening in the world.”

Shackleton’s performance will be part Skaņu Mežs’ rhythm music event in the contert hall Palladium on October 11. Other artists already announced for the same event are the dark electronic duet from Lancaster, Demdike Stare, and the techno innovator, Andy Stott. During the event the programme will oscillate betwen rhythmic and ambient moods – beauty and noise. It will delve deeper into the question of how far music can go outside of its canon whilst still maintaining its funcionality – namely its danceability.

As the festival draws nearer, more information will be released regarding participants and festival venues.

Skaņu Mežs is a member of the European association of experimental music festivals, European Cities of Advanced Sound. This network is supported by the EU Culture Programme 2007-2013 as well as the Latvian Cultural Ministry. The festival is also supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga Municipality, as well as a string of international cultural institutions and embassies. The main commercial supporters are iRobot and Red Bull Music Academy.