Red Bull Music Academy with Fennesz and Lubomyr Melnyk

Lubomyr Melnyk and Fennesz, two incredibly talented and different artists, played last Sunday at the ORF Radio Kulturhaus as part of the Red Bull Music Academy 2016. It was bliss.

The evening started with the well-known Viennese artist Fennesz. 2001 saw his breakthrough with the record Endless Summer, followed by many collaborations, LPs and live gigs around the world.
His set is mostly improvised, with only a few samples prepared before the show, making his performance even more exciting for the audience.

His main tools: a laptop, distortion pedals and an electric guitar. With these few tools he performs like a painter, creating beautiful and dense ambient soundscapes. The listeners where surrounded by melodic loops, glitchy noises and warm basses.
 During the concert, these ethereal moments where often disrupted by dissonant chords from his guitar. Sadly, this happened too often, destroying the mood he had previously created. A less loud guitar would have been more appropriate. Nevertheless, seeing Fennesz live is like enjoying a glass of good wine or tea or whatever warms your soul.

If you missed him, check out this great live recording from last year.

The next artist was something of a surprise, as she wasn´t officially announced. Only a brief note on Facebook mentioned her as a supporting act for Lubomyr Melnyk. The Latvian musician Maija Licite a.k.a. Mionia played the piano and sang, accompanied by reduced electronic sounds from her laptop. She describes her music as artistic pop with heartbreaking ballads. An enjoyable little concert.

After Mionia, an old bearded man entered the stage his name Lubomyr Melnyk. Lubomyr is a Ukrainian composer and pianist known for being the world’s fastest pianist and inventor of continuous music, his own interpretation of piano playing. Although he has been active since the late 70´s, he was discovered only recently after his release on Erased Tapes in 2012, home of artists such as Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds.

This evening, he played a four-piece concert. In between his pieces, he spoke of his ideas on music, love and even Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks, which was really funny. Mionia joined him for a short ballad during the second part of his concert. His last piece was an epic 20 Minutes long piano composition called Windmills about an old mill battling the forces of nature,filling the hall with a cascade of beautifull arpeggios. Definitely the highlight of his concert. An unforgettable performance for lovers of classical and even non-classical music. 

I also highly recommend the following short film about him that was filmed in Vienna:

Text and photos:
Claudiu Lampersberger
More photos at: