Mesmerising avant garde electronic jazz recycling experience
Santaka (pronounced San-t-ka, it means ‘confluence’ in Lithuanian) is the work of Lithuanian duo Manfredas and Marijus Aleksa, whose debut release, ‘No Rivers Here’ on the Byrd Out label, has been added to the Soulwax Dailee Deewee On Spotify playlist.
Manfredas, as the owner of Radio Vilnius, is a key figure in the Lithuanian electronic music community. He is also an internationally acclaimed DJ, producer, and remixer, having featured on releases by Andrew Weatherall, Metronomy, and Erol Alkan.
Marijus Aleksa is a Lithuanian drummer and producer who has spent the last decade touring and recording with contemporary jazz greats such as Joe Armon-Jones, Ashley Henry, Bill Laurance, and China Moses.
They’ve both lived in the same block of flats in Vilnius for years, a converted radio factory, but hadn’t met until the pandemic put a stop on their gigging lifestyles and they ran into each more often. Manfredas was putting together a compilation album and asked Marijus to contribute a track, which led to the pair collaborating on an unfinished recording that Marijus had started.
The drums were augmented with synths, drum machines and contributions from more musicians, some of whom also lived in the old radio factory.
The result is an extraordinary 17-minute piece of electronica, pulsing drums and avant garde playing. Sometimes it’s like the Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, and Mani Neumeier album ‘Zero Set’, with shades of Miles Davis’ late 60s and early 70s experiments, and Jon Hassell’s Fourth World excursions, while they themselves cite Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rain Dance’, and Don Cherry’s ‘Brown Rice’.
Earphones and the full 17-minute experience are heartily recommended. You may need a little sit down afterwards.