We’re glad to announce that Riga, Latvia-based musician and songwriter Rihards Libietis has released a new single, entitled “Transcending Parallels.”
Rihards Libietis is a regular performer and collaborator with well-established Latvian artists and bands, such as Linda Leen, Raimonds Tiguls, The Originals, Pacific K, and most notably the Rihards Libietis Orchestra–a quintet performing dynamic, instrumental world music that mixes influences from African, Middle-Eastern, and Latvian folk music with blues and jazz. Rihards has produced and self-released 5 albums, including Willful Blindness (2021), Reflections EP (2018) featuring collaborations with popular Latvian singers, and Rihards Libietis Orchestra’s debut Scream, Breathe, Cry (2015), which was nominated for Annual Latvian Music Recording Awards 2015. He also writes music for theatre plays, some of which have been very critically acclaimed.
“Transcending Parallels” is the first single from Rihards Libietis’ upcoming instrumental album, entitled Lines & Miniatures. While the musicians involved are well-known in the Latvian music scene, this is a new project featuring different collaborations and with ambitious future perspective. Lines & Miniatures initially started as Rihards’ solo album effort, and gradually increased in scope as the compositions got more complex, demanding a broader range of instrumentation.
Rihards Libietis plays guitar, bass, and synths on Lines & Miniatures; while a talented drummer and a friend of Rihards, Toms Kagainis, got involved in creating music for the album in spring of 2021. It was at that time that the recordings for the album were finished, and there are currently plans to present Lines & Miniatures with either a live or livestream concert. Both Rihards Libietis and Toms Kagainis are well-known in Latvian music scene, working with other artists and projects; Rihards plays in the Rihards Libietis Orchestra, having recently released a new album in May entitled Willful Blindness, while Toms is mainly involved in the pop-funk project Citi Zeni. The band members are influenced by such artists as Thomas Newman, Tony Anderson, and Olafur Arnalds, among other longstanding general influences such as Jack White, Led Zeppelin, This Will Destroy You and countless others that they’ have enjoyed hearing or working with.
On the first single from the album, “Transcending Parallels,” the band members kept a minimalistic approach while building a comprehensive, inspiring, and dynamic musical saturation; and they created most of the sounds on the track naturally, without too much digitalization. Directly influenced by the feelings brought on by the pandemic, the single reflects on the feelings of loneliness, struggle, and uncertainty, while at the same time conveying a message of hope, encouragement, and strength; it’s okay to feel hardship, it’s merely a step in a journey to becoming a stronger, better person. There’s also a lot of reflection on the theme of isolation – can we truly be alone in a world where we are indirectly linked by the smallest of actions?
“‘Transcending Parallels’ is a very personal story of transcending one’s usual path and achieving a next level in the journey. I think it’s very relevant to the current events of the world – to do the best we can do to not get overwhelmed in the background noise and continue somewhat defiantly striving forward to the light, to growth of our personalities,” Rihards Libietis says.
“Transcending Parallels” was recorded at No Fuss Studio in Tukums, Latvia by Valerijs Cernejs, while the drum tracks were recorded at AMFO Music studio in Riga, Latvia by Toms Kagainis. Valerijs Cernejs also did the mixing for the track.
Describing the songwriting process and meaning behind “Transcending Parallels,” Rihards Libietis writes:
“This is the first single from upcoming album ‘Lines & Miniatures.’ At the beginning, the idea behind the project was to create a guitar album – by using various playing techniques, looping etc., but strictly keeping the focus on one instrument – but, as the writing process started, music evolved and it was clear that more sound layers should be added with different instruments. This track ‘Transcending Parallels’ actually was the first demo for the album. It’s still possible to perform this song by using just one guitar and a loop station. I use Danelectro Baritone guitar for a darker sound. We also recorded a lot – really, a lot – of various home-made percussion – mostly heard in the first part of the track. For example, there are layers of random objects used as percussion instruments – kitchenware, steel water bottle and even a stomach. 🙂
Emotionally, we really hope that this composition will take the listener on an inspiring journey and to help him/her transcend any barriers or struggles. I think there is a pandemic frustration vibe, but hopefully, there’s also light at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, that’s the beauty of instrumental music – one can find something for himself in it just by listening intently.
This project is a somewhat a new venture for me – I usually write/play world music mixed with elements of Blues, African/Middle-Eastern folk in my other project Rihards Libietis Orchestra, or pop/rock with other artists and also as a session player. Since this is a more experimental step in a more ambient/post-rock kind of vibe, I really hope people will find something of value and inspiration there. We tried to keep the emotional message subtle – not trying to convince someone of something, but hopefully it turns out to be a relevant emotional imprint of the atmosphere of this last year.”
“Transcending Parallels” begins with layers of bright, clean-toned electric guitars–including echoing harmonics–each of which complements the others nicely in counterpoint. As the guitar melodies unfold, they are accented by the interlocking rhythms of various percussion instruments, before a crescendo signals the beginning of a heavier, distorted chord progression, as well as powerful drumming and deep bass notes–bringing to mind the cinematic, progressive atmosphere of the post-rock/metal genre. As the sustained distortion of the final guitar chord fades, a wash of ethereal synths nicely concludes this impressively dynamic track. “Transcending Parallels” is quite an enjoyable listen throughout, highlighting Rihards Libietis’ brilliant songwriting and excellent musicianship. I would highly recommend this track to fans of post-rock and experimental music alike.
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