MENT LJUBLJANA is a pulsating music festival in the heart of the Slovenian capital. For three days the established venues and clubs were transformed into a common stage for bands, artists and musicians from all over the world. Among them five remarkable Austrian acts: 5K HD, DORIT CHRYSLER, MOTHER’ S CAKE, WANDL and MAVI PHOENIX.
Thanks to a long cooperation with Waves Vienna and Austrian Music Export, Austrian musicians are able to present themselves at the MENT every year next to a large number of bands from Eastern Europe. It is a chance for them to perform live in front of a good part of the important figures from the European music industry, including delegates from the press, promotion, booking and management.
According to Matjaž Manček, co-manager of the MENT, 60 artists will be selected for a performance at the MENT out of more than 1500 applications. Among them in 2018 were the Austrian acts 5K HD, Dorit Chrysler, Mother’s Cake, Wandl and Mavi Phoenix.
The selection of Austrian bands reflects the curatorial credo of the MENT organizers. “We try to select rather experimental and edgy acts and not so much from the mainstream. Luckily, there are a lot of bands like that in Austria,” says Manček at the Austrian Heartbeats Reception where the Austrian participants from all corners of the music industry took their chance to network and prepare for the concerts of the local bands.
MORE NOISY, EDGY, AND EXPERIMENTAL STUFF
The Vienna quintet 5K HD started things off. The symbiosis of Mira Lu Kovacs and Kompost 3 harmonizes perfectly and has proven to be one of the most exciting acts Austria’s music scene has to offer. This collection of extremely talented musicians who have come together to create intricate avant-garde music somewhere between electronics, singer-songwriter, jazz and noise really gets under your skin. The performance of the material from the debut album “And to in A” is so tightly and rhythmically presented that even in the song passages without beat or even in pauses it is difficult to free oneself from the head-nodding nirvana. An old power station was the perfect setting for 5K HD who performed to a frenetically cheering audience. One of the best concerts of the whole festival.
“The response was very nice, especially because the audience expressed their interest in the show. You felt the love,” said singer Mira Lu Kovacs happily after the show, which certainly left good impressions on the many delegates of the festival. “The Austrian audiences are a little different sometimes – after concerts they say that they liked it. Sometimes, however, they don’t express that through their lips and hands when they applaud,” she said about the experience in Slovenia compared to Austria.
In an even more intensive exchange with the local audience, Dorit Chrysler’s performance took place over two days. In addition to a highly acclaimed concert at Kinoteka Ljubljana – a sit-down concert in a fitting cinema ambience – Dorit Chrysler was on a declared mission to bring the theremin – that iconic instrument which is played through the use of hand movements between two antennas – to the people by means of two workshops and a keynote lecture. There she revealed, among other things, that the theremin was the first electronic instrument ever invented and what similarities it had with the art of singing. There is hardly any other instrument with which it was so difficult to consistently hit the right notes. As a virtuoso pioneer of the theremin, the native of Graz has already collaborated with such diverse artists as Marylin Manson, The Strokes and Dinosaur Jr. and established herself globally as a niche artist.
JAZZ, THEREMIN, PSYCHEDELIC ROCK, EXPERIMENTAL, HIP HOP
The selection of bands from Austria at the MENT showed the diversity of the alpine subculture music scene very nicely. After jazz and a theremin-solo, the Tyrolean Mother’s Cake took the stage. The broadly diversified rock trio from Innsbruck is always good for a sweaty show. The voice of singer Yves Krismer hits the heart and soul just as much as the groove of the well tuned trio. With their retro-style progressive rock they successively transformed the audience in front of the stage into a pulsating mass that moved synchronously with the sound.
The longer their show lasted, the more the musicians and the fans in front of the stage warmed to each other. It was obvious that Mother’s Cake already have a remarkable following in Slovenia. The energy level continued to climb, culminating in a memorable performance of their song “Runaway” from the debut album “Creation’s Finest”, which marked the conclusion of a setlist that otherwise focused primarily on the current album “No Rhyme, No Reason”. This is an album which has already led the band to Australia. Nevertheless, it is clear they appreciate regional undertakings such as the MENT. “Such festivals are very important, as many people from the industry and business are present,” said singer and guitarist Yves Krismer after the concert.
A circumstance that could also benefit the 23-year-old producer and multi-instrumentalist Wandl. As one of the most interesting producers of experimental beats and electronic music, Wandl is already well established in the scene, and performances such as those at the MENT contribute to this. He was able to show that he has his finger on the pulse of the times and that his musical visions are well received. With the performance of the tracks off his debut album “It’s All Good Tho” – with which he will continue to draw attention to himself live in Europe in 2018 – he was able to convince the audience that conversations about high-level electronic music will soon be impossible to hold without mentioning him. As a multi-instrumentalist with a diverse musical intuition, he has chosen a similar path to Dorian Concept and could possibly follow in his footsteps.
AN INNERCITY FESTIVAL AS THE PERFECT HOST
The young, Linz-based, Mavi Phoenix completed the Austrian contributions to the MENT. She made the club “Gala Hala” sweat like a hard-boiled professional late in the night. With a self-confident stage presence, modern hip-hop beats and her new single “Janet Jackson” in her luggage, she didn’t only have the audience under control, but had them eating out of her hand. Their mixture of pop, R’ n’ B and rap creates an atmosphere that should turn many other clubs into a bubbling cauldron in the future. A witch’s cauldron of enthusiastic audiences that could be found at all performances of the Austrian acts. In the end MENT proved to be a phenomenal host and everyone interested in music should be encouraged to make an excursion to the beautiful city of Ljubljana.
Sebastian J. Götzendorfer (translated from German by David Dempsey)