Dark Ecology Report

By Ivan Zoloto & Anya Kuts

Chikiss – Live @ Secret Chamber, Kirkenes, Norway from Love Cult / Full of Nothing on YouTube
Dark Ecology expedition had kindly commissioned us to organize two musical events in Kirkenes, Norway and Nikel, Russia. It would be an understatement to say we were happy to bring our Secret Chamber concept outside Petrozavodsk. Both concerts proved to be inspiring and fulfilling both musically and socially. After inspecting several possible sites in Kirkenes we were most happy with Mellageret, an old warehouse in the port with a beautiful wooden ceiling. We made use of the palettes we found there and with the help of Fretex men and ladies we built a stage and benches from the palettes. Also, we soundproofed the room with black carpet to take full advantage of Musikgarasjens sound system. The name of the space was not officially announced so the audience gathered in the city square and were guided to Mellageret. We had an intriguing mix of solo artists scheduled for the night. Suokas, a sound wizard from Petrozavodsk played spiritual techno, blurring the boundaries between club aesthetics and meditation. Then Nordenstam from Bergen took a different spin on the same sound, making a form of analog techno for art galleries. As over a hundred visitors enjoyed the drinks in the dimly lit warehouse the evening drew to a close with Chikiss, an electronic princess from St. Petersburg. She sang songs of revenge and sitter trains, self-accompanied by deep bass and cold keys. People were fascinated with how international her songs felt even though sung in Russian and awarded Chikiss with ovation.
Suokas. Photo by Konstantin Guz
Suokas. Photo by Konstantin Guz
Suokas. Photo by Konstantin Guz
The concert in Nikel was supposed to be the other side of the same coin but turned out to be even more meaningful. Of course, planning a public event in Russia means one should be ready for surprises. During the pre-research trip our choice had fallen on a spacious gym in School #20. In spite of terrible acoustics that space had been promising such rich atmosphere we didn't think much longer after meeting the school headmistress. With the help of incredible sound technicians from Murmansk we set up a nice Vortex sound system, turned the biggest wall with a basketball ring into a projection screen and were ready for the experimental concert. Little did we know – the first visitors were 30 second-graders... We still have a very vague idea why all the parents brought them. We were the first to play as Love Cult but instead of intense broken electronics set we had planned with rode a calmer, relaxing wave. Phonophani performed in the centre of the gym with his back to the audience. Bored kids were running around shouting as the Tromsoe composer performed a long stormy suite of stunning ambient music. The atmosphere was fragile and all the more beautiful for it. All of a sudden the smaller kids left and high school students came just in time for the Komi rap duo of Mnogoznaal and Tilmil live debut. The boys enchanted the hall with their mysterious tracks. Franz Pomassl from Vienna closed the evening with a high-energy performance which involved interacting with kids using a strobe light, a fluorescent lamp, forks from the school canteen taped to his laptop. Pomassl pushed everything even further, into an apocalyptic dance set, and naturally people started dancing. It was an extremely powerful moment.
Mnogoznaal and Tilmil. Photo by Konstantin Guz
Mnogoznaal and Tilmil. Photo by Konstantin Guz
Mnogoznaal and Tilmil. Photo by Konstantin Guz
With the Secret Chamber shows that we do it's always a mystery how it goes: the spaces, audience, weather, mood make 50% of the show. But these two installments during Dark Ecology have generated an energy field, especially the Nikel one. True magic of seeing the listeners altered by challenging music – that's why we do this. The project in general was a truly transformative experience. Every participant felt changed, ideas and concepts were challenged, art-projects re-loaded and re-inspired. In our opinion, that is the highest goal an art expedition can strive for. SUGGESTED LINKS: Suokas on SoundCloud Nordenstam on SoundCloud Love Cult on SoundCloud Tilmil on SoundCloud Pomassl on SoundCloud Phonophani on SoundCloud

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