Radio program: Village of Sonic Enigmas

I was asked by NTS Live ‘Onotesla’ program creator Michael Holland to make a radio show. The result was a varied retrospective of the many sound and music cultures that existed at MoKS, our residency space and cultural center that operated a residency program from 2003-1019.

Village of Sonic Enigmas Compiled by John Grzinich

Pekko Käppi at AVAMAA, 2009

Official blurb: “From 2000-2019 my wife Evelyn and I ran a cultural centre and international artist residency programme called MoKS. The centre was located in a rural village in southeast Estonian village of Mooste. Due to my interest in sound based artistic practices and musical experimentation, MoKS had a rich and varied sonic history that included many projects, workshops and concert events by visiting artists. Presented here is a smattering of fragments from these activities, including soundscape recordings from the village itself to feed the environmental and cultural context. This is by no means a comprehensive survey and in fact represents only a mere drop in the celestial ocean of activity that happened over the years. But I hope this mix gives some sense for the listener, of how we helped infuse the most unlikely sonic creations into this offbeat corner of the globe, thanks to the spirit of many wonderful artists.”

Some background

It was never an openly stated agenda of MoKS to promote and support ‘sound art’ and experimental music but it occurred more organically as an extension of my own artistic and social interests in helping create and provide an open supportive structure for events and collaborations to take place outside of the institutional arena. Why was this important or necessary? Partly this had to do with my own artistic development, inspired primarily from from the independent artistic scenes of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. It was a territory and ethos I was familiar with and wanted to build a ‘node’ in the international network that supported my own work. This did not mean that classically trained composers and musicians weren’t welcomed. They were and many came for the same reasons, to have a ‘free space’ to experiment and create. MoKS also served as a necessary bridge between the somewhat exotic fringes of the experimental world and the local public, with regular performances and workshops in area schools and cultural centers.

Ji-yeon Kim and Dawn Scarfe in residence, 2013

While I do not want to categorize the artists who flowed through MoKS over the years, I think it would only be fair to highlight many of the artists who participated in some manner, either in a residency, festival, event or exchange program we coordinated. In no particular order I would mention: Loren Chasse, Michael Northam, Phill Niblock, Jacob Kirkegaard, Lau Nau, Kuupuu, Jan Anderzen (Tomutonttu), Hitoshi Kojo, Simon Whetham, Eamon Sprod (Tarab), Jim Haynes, Patrick Farmer, Felicity Mangan, Felicity Ford, Dan Scott, Rudy Deceliére, Geoff Sawyers, Thomas Tilly, Mari Kalkun, Andrus Kallastu, Hans-Gunter Lock, Tuulikki Bartosik, Derek Holzer, Maksims Shentelevs, Camilla Hannan, Rie Nakajima, Yannick Dauby, Seth Nehil, Kago, Anitreality, Ici-Meme (Pali Meursault, Corrine Pontier), Anna & Emma Fält, Anna Hints, Jez Riley French, Ramo Teder (Pastacas), Natalia Borisova, Baba Zula, Marko Košnik, Kiwa, André Avelãs, Hari Shankar Kishore, Mike Hentz, Karel Dudesek, Taavi Suisalu, Richard Eigner, Yiogis Sakellariou, Instrument Inventors Initiative (Dewi De Vree, Patrizia Ruthensteiner, Mateo Marangoni, Mariska de Groot, Lars Kynde, Wen Chin Fu), Fernando Goday, James Wyness, Dawn Scarfe, Jiyeon Kim, Edgars Rubins, Arlene Tucker, Rostislav Rekuta, Alice Pamuk, Pekko Käppi, John Fail, Jay-Dea Lopez, Jörg Piringer, Matt Marble, Michele Spanghero, Mumer, Paulo Raposo, Antonio Della Marina, Gas of Latvia, Bilwa, Veljo Runnel, Eisuke Yanagisawa, Antti Tolvi, Nicola Casetta, Ari Taskinen, Jekabs Nimanis, Mads Bech Paluszewski-Hau, Manuela Barile, Juan Duarte and others (forgive me if I forgot anyone, the memory grows foggy over the years).

Juuso Paaso and Mads Bech Paluszewski-Hau project residency, 2016

MoKS also had a special exchange residency with the Lithuanian Composers Union (DAR residency) from 2015 that included: Raul Keller, Taavi Suisalu, Mykolas Natalevi?ius, Tadas Dailyda, Gintas K, Andrus Kallastu, Linas Paulauskis, Roomet Jakapi, Katariin Raska, Gaile Griciute, Riho Kall, Maryus Salinas, Argo Vals, Viktorija Damerell, Ruta Vitkauskaite, Villem Jahu, Erik Alalooga.

Numerous sound workshop were conducted for various student groups from The Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Music and Theater Academy.

By extension, MoKS was the local co-producer of Tuned City Tallinn for the 2011 European Capital of Culture under the artistic direction of Carsten Stabenow.

Felicity Ford at Tuned City, 2011
Yiorgis Sakellariou and Simon Whetham during Active Crossover, 2015

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