MAKSIMS SHENTELEVS. AN INTERVIEW WITH A SOUND ARTIST WHO IS AIMING NOT TO CREATE MUSIC

Written by Deimantė Tamutytė, trans­lated by Barbara Maliukaitė

While sit­ting on the lawn in Liepkalnis, Maksimas starts talk­ing about how one does not neces­sar­ily need to earn quite a lot to own a good sound equip­ment, about how archi­tects per­ceive sound in a dif­fer­ent way and about the fact that even a musi­cian can go to a gig without tak­ing any of the instruments.

But who is he?

The first time I saw and heard Maksimas was about a year ago in media fest­ival “Enter” in Lithuania, where he appeared with the band “Bernurits”. I recall that not only his long dread­locks and col­or­ful clothes, but also the unusu­ally strange ambi­ent music, per­formed with the aid of even stranger items, instantly cap­tured my atten­tion and my heart. On the “per­form­ance” mat pleth­ora of weird, pos­sibly home-​made instru­ments were arranged: sizz­ling mills, “improved” chor­do­phones and many other bewil­der­ing, non­ethe­less charm­ing devices tangled in a jungle of wires. Not to for­get the per­formers, espe­cially Maksimas, immersed in the sound pro­duc­tion world of his like in a trance.

Bernurits photo.

After encoun­ter­ing and exper­i­en­cing Bernurits music, the band has been appear­ing in my memory from time to time. And one day when I have decided to par­ti­cip­ate in a sound work­shop, I have sud­denly met Maksimas as a work­shop tutor. By the way, that time he was in a dif­fer­ent but not less inter­est­ing spe­cial­iz­a­tion — as a phonographer.

Then I knew I couldn’t really lose an oppor­tun­ity to ask him about all the things that amazed me dur­ing the performance.

And indeed, per­haps it was worth car­ry­ing memor­ies for such a long time, as the con­ver­sa­tion with Maksimas was spe­cial. It was about the music and things way much deeper… But it is prob­ably bet­ter to let him speak.

As he men­tions him­self, when cre­at­ing he is try­ing to min­im­ize the impact on the envir­on­ment and inter­fere as little as pos­sible. So it turned out that my cam­era has focused not on Maksimas, but on the envir­on­ment. Some might think of it as a bit unpro­fes­sional, but it is symbolic.

With emer­gence of pho­to­graphy many have argued and even now still might be arguing about whether or not it is art. The same con­cern is prob­ably employ­able while dis­cuss­ing the issue of people who record sound. With advance in tech­no­logy and fall in prices the num­ber of them might also increase. The truth is prob­ably just that in order to pro­duce an inter­est­ing audio record­ing, a spe­cial empathy — silence — both phys­ical and internal is required. We are accus­tomed to meas­ure everything in the world through our eyes, how­ever sound is a more subtle matter.

A few field record­ings by Maxim can be found here.

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