Donis
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Donis

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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This sixth full-length by the Lithuanian artists Donis is a long leap away from his previous publication on the same label, even as it still is in the same genre, dark ambient. Whereas "Vacuum" (2004) was magnificent coldness, Alexandreia is filled with warm, but sorrowful tones. The music moves in three layers at once. At the bottom are mostly machine-made, but still instrument- playing like soundscapes. On top of those is constantly one or more of traditional wind instruments played by the artist himself, Donatas Bielskauskas. The wind instruments change from one track to another, yet fit well enough together. The bagpipe on the end track "Troia" is a bit more distinct, making the track feel somewhat isolated from the others. In addition to these two levels there are some female vocals in the mix. One woman sings backgrounds amidst the wind instruments, another solemnly reads Greek poetry.
This combination creates a fine, warm yet melancholy whole. A very emotional whole. It is possible to recognize similarities to the big names of the genre from its parts: the backgrounds on the title track are very close to recent Raison D'etre, "Ionia" and "Sparta" to Caul, and "Troia" is like the more organic works of Troum. But because the surface is so different, this is just a positive thing. While Alexandreia isn't the kind of incredibly innovative work as Vacuum was, it is still an extremely pleasant listen.
This is a highly recommended purchase for all who are even slightly into the "more easily approachable" style of dark ambient.
- Author: Jiituomas, Kuolleen Musiikin Yhdistys (Finland)


A powerful beginning of the „Dangus“ year. Publishers‘ support to their groups generously gives beautiful fruits. Orientation started with the collection „Amber Tribe“ goes on purposefully.
With no trouble, you buy and discover this new and very attractive album of Donis, the third in turn in this label ( Perinium’e, Autarkeia you can find compositions of harsh or dark ambient by Donatas Bielkauskas). Accompanied by many instrumentalists, a folk group and one soloist, Donis gets down to work with folk songs again. This time the theme chosen is war theme (Middle Ages were wonderful in this country), which brings sadness and torture. The words used are from the good old pagan times. The tone attached is characteristic of magic inclination to mysticism, which is so dear to Donis. The first part of the disc reminds of the previous album, which was less repeated, better controlled, and good, but very long. The second part offers short electric ballads, which due to their grace and moderation are close to, for example, Kirlian Camera. Moreover, we were rewarded with remixes, one of which belongs to Mckaras. A big number of participants make the album full, but the direction of Donis is always felt. The soloist Rasa Serra should be mentioned separately, as having a wonderful voice with the intonation suitable even to the very sophisticated notes. While listening to compositions you understand that this has to do with experience, the ability to renew the accompaniment of traditional singing at the same time preserving initial forms, and not trying to “make” a song or a top. Thus, from the composition “Leliumai leliumai” of the previous album "Sotvaras", as well as from this album one can feel the real sensitivity of dark electronics and vocal parts, and that is enough to listen to the album till the end. - AHC [http://www.obskure.com/fr/kro_model.php?n_kro=3959]


Year 2006 becomes some kind of terribly successful year to good, I would say, “wonderful” releases. In spite of the fact that spring hasn’t come yet, so I would like to believe that the further, the better… to be honest, I don’t remember that any discs would stay in my player for longer than a week, and I’m in the situation when you don’t know what disc to choose: the new DEPECHE MODE is amazing, the new CANAAN – wonderful… I have been listening to the works of the latter teams for some months, and I don’t get bored. To my surprise, one more disc joined the sweet couple – the brand new album of well known Lithuanian project DONIS. The album is called Bite Lingo. An amazing and absolutely unpredictable release. Forget everything that you’ve heard from DONIS before, Bite Lingo is totally different from the previous works of this musician.
Lithuanians themselves started calling DONIS “their MOON FAR AWAY", and there is some truth in the following claim. Both the basics of music of Russians and Lithuanians consist of fusion of archaic folk songs and modern arrangements. Both Russians and Lithuanians create commercial (in the good sense) and beautiful music. Both Russians and Lithuanians are quite deeply inspired by good old DEAD CAN DANCE. The only difference is that Lithuanian product came out being “stricter” and “more spacious” than its Russian competitor. On the other hand, who said that authenticity of different regions should sound the same?
Little bit about the team itself – DONIS. The project from Klaipeda has existed in the world for quite a long time – its first releases were in cassettes. As far as I remember, Donatas Bielkauskas, the leader of the project, in the beginning was interested in noises. Generally, he’s been interested in them till now – I have been a witness of some live performances of this musician and they all in one or other way represented noise ambient. Besides, Donatas has always been interested in experiments with authenticity – it’s enough to remember his common album with a famous Lithuanian folk group KULGRINDA or a disc where he plays various clay whistles… but the latest work of DONIS surprised me – there is no room for noises, but plenty of space to amazing and very professional arrangements and normal live instruments. This is not even a progress, this is a revolution.
Now a little bit about the album Bite Lingo – it contains 10 tracks, two of which are remixes. TERRIBLE REMIXES. For such kind of remixes in the Middle Ages somebody’s hands would be cut off and ears filled with melted lead. I will be honest, I listen to the album on MP3, and these remixes were roughly removed from the folder in order not to harm my sensitive mentality. Contrary to remixes, original tracks are simply wonderful: professional singer Rasa Serra performs Lithuanian folk songs with the accompaniment of Donatas and the whole team of invited musicians: among them folk group “Kursiu Ainiai”, a violinist, a guitarist… I will remind, arrangements on the album are radically different from all the stuff with which we are usually fed by so called “underground”. Sometimes they are too brave – for example, I didn’t get used soon to almost jazz-like moments with electric guitar… but I got used to it and even perceived it. Compositions are quite melancholic in their mood. It’s rather difficult to point out the favorites among them, because, despite indisputable “leader” Bite Lingo, album contains enough of beautiful stuff, such as Oi Tu Varna (Oh, You Crow) or Tai Graziai Gieda Lakstingalele (Nightingale Sings So Beautifully). On the whole, it’s no doubt the album which must be listened to.
I will end my review mentioning that the album is perfectly designed and released as a digipack.
- Igor [http://www.stigmata.name]


A bit of a strange one this. According to my research "Vacuum" was recorded way back in 1997 by Donis who are from Lithuania. I think Lithuania once beat Scotland in a football match, not exactly difficult with our shit team, and that about sums up my knowledge of that country. So either it’s taken 7 long years for this recording to finally see the light of day, for whatever reasons, or Lithuania have an even worse postal service than we do. Answers on a postcard please to the usual address.
"Vacuum" is one long track, 60 minutes to be precise, of ambient music of the dark / space like variety. The piece is either very much like a journey into the deepest ice caverns known to man or a celestial voyage across the stars. How you would describe it depends very much on how vivid an imagination you possess. I go with both because I’m fucked up like that. What I find so amazing about "Vacuum" is in its ability to grab the attention even when there doesn’t seem to be much going on. The piece fluctuates between moments of near silence and yet still enthrals captivatingly. Strange and yet beguiling in equal measure.
It may have taken 7 long years to reach these shores yet "Vacuum" remains fresh and original in its scope and vision and would appeal to even the most cynical ambient music fanatic. Give it a whirl. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
- AI [www.auralpressure.com]


The joint project by famous Baltic ritual folk company Kulgrinda and a noble neofolk artist Donis - archaic Winter Solstice chants with profound and subtle musical arrangements. The sacred experience of the time, when the whole world gets restarted by the greatest and most enigmatic primal God. One of His manifestations is named Sotvaras. The new cycle begins with clear refined beauty ambient, followed by various folk instruments, tranquil atmospheric passages and really old pagan chants, carrying the eternal tale about the magic origin of the world. Now you can FEEL it. 8 pieces with nice medieval designs.

Kulgrinda recorded chants in Vilnius, 2003
Recorded in Klaipeda by Donis , 2003.
Sound directors: Donis and McKaras
Donatas Bielkauskas - kankles, bandurelis, lamzdelis, tenorine birbyne, zvanguliai, drums, tambourine, ragelis, whistles, triangle, syntheziser, efects.
Kulgrinda: Inija Trinkunienë, Jonas Trinkunas, Rimgailë Trinkunaitë, Ineta Meduckytë, Simona Biekðaitë, Daiva Jusiûtë, Brigita Sazanskytë, Tadas Ðidiðkis, Ramûnas Pocius (bagpipe:4), Povilas Vaitkevièius (drums:6).
Mastering: Artûras Pugaèiauskas
Cover design by Ugnius Liogë
Released by Dangus [DGCD 011]

Compositions:

1. Sotvaras
2. Vidury lauko
3. Oi, leliumai
4. Aþarai ðalo, kupèiai vaþiavo
5. Leliumai, gaidiai gieda
6. Buvo mûsø lelimoj
7. Lëkë lëkë sakalëlis
8. ...eisie…

3.04 MB


5.11 MB


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Info from "Dangus.net"
Donis and Kûlgrinda started to think about common album already in summer. In the latest CD of Kûlgrinda "Perkûno giesmës" released by Dangus, there are two cantos arranged by Donis. Particularly their exclusiveness and wonderful reviews encouraged a new experiment. The leaders of Kûlgrinda, Jonas and Inija Trinkûnai, mentioned that Donis is one of not many musicians who are able to convey the spirit of archaic cantos so delicately and emotionally and to feel their essence. The artist from the seaside said: “This was kind of a challenge and at the same time extraordinary opportunity to show personal point of view to neofolk in cooperation with Kûlgrinda. In the beginning I thought that it wouldn’t be so difficult, but it appeared to be not so easy to express the space and mystery of solstice cantos at the same time not violating their sacredness.”
In September singers from Kûlgrinda recorded some traditional cantos, mostly Christmas songs of the inhabitants of south-east Lithuania, - all through October and November Donis arranged them using various instruments. The record was thoroughly perfected and corrected until it was finished and, finally, handed in for the last improvements to the famous artist of mastering in Lithuania Artûras Pugaèiauskas. The album was designed the leader of the release company Dangus Ugnius Liogë. “Almost all compositions in CD are, in essence, transformed from traditional folk, that’s why I was looking for untraditional solutions for arrangement and acoustics, - said Donatas. – Many of them are not new to the composers of electronic music, but it is not typical to the folk performers. Although the first impression may be erroneous, however, quite many authentic instruments were combined with electronic spaces. They do not sound the way we are used to, but while listening to the album, it is not necessary to hear every single instrument or all the words of cantos. What should be heard, are not separate compositions, but the whole of the album. Any kind of commercialization in folklore makes me sad, or even makes me angry, that’s why I didn’t seek for “embellishment” of cantos in accordance with quite popular and acceptable commercial neofolk. The most important thing for me was to convey the feeling itself, the sacred life of the Solstice.”
Discussions about the name of the album were quite long, as there are quite many albums of Christmas songs released in Lithuania, and this exceptional release needs an exceptional name. After long discussions, Lithuanian pagan priest Jonas Trinkûnas decided to name the work "Sotvaras" – this is the name of one of ancient Lithuanian gods-founders, used by famous ethnologist Norbertas Vëlius.
"Sotvaras, Pradþiapatis, Andajus, Praamþis, Prakorimas – these all are the names of the same beginning god, - said Lithuanian pagan priest. – His creative will allows the life of the world to be reborn from the primary mists-waters, and starts the new circle of time. The manor of the Father mentioned in cantos, is considered to be the manor of Sotvaras, the beginning and home of everything. The coming Sun - the source of light and warmth – is inalienable from Sotvaras. In the canto “Vidury lauko” (“In the middle of a field”) (taken from the album “Ugnies apeigos”) – it is sung about the origin of the world, and the ancient mantra of the inhabitants of south-east Lithuania "Leliumai, gaidiai gieda" (“Leliumai, cocks crow”) is meant for communication with ancestors in the beginning, until the world was st - Dangus.net


Acquaintance with Donis' /Donatas Bielkauskas'/ music is a certain setoff for revetment-like sound-making coming from everywhere all the time. Long time ago the profoundness of music have yielded to the superficies that persecute obsessively and suppress the development of different music. Donis' compositions are a challenge for those who don't dare to grow away from stereotypes, and a capture of soul for those who have already discovered the spaces of different music. Natural acoustic subtlety and artistic taste of the author electrify imagination, which is also assisted by the images that often accompany the music, indefinite and emphatically slow like the music. Time is slackened and timeless in this artistic dimension. It leads from one waiting to another, from one un-event to another. Nothing frightens here, there is no aggression and vulgar indecencies, without which even the great artists today feel as if robbed. The spirit is lucid, good, well wishing.
Donis' works are remembrances about our future intentions that we often have no courage for.
- Giedrius Kuprevicius


Discography

DONIS
2007 - Donis "Alexandreia"
2006 - Donis "Bite lingo"
2004 - Donis "Vacuum"
2003 - Donis with Kulgrinda "Sotvaras"
2003 - Donis "Svilpiai"
2002 - Donis "Baltos Juodos Klajos"
1998 - Donis "Deinaina"
1995 - Donatas Bielkauskas "Iki zvaigzdziu"

d.n.s. (experimental/industrial/noise music project)
2006 - d.n.s. "mechanistic…"
2005 - d.n.s. "dunes"
2004 - d.n.s. "Fade-in"

Joint projects:
2006 - gys + d.n.s. “conspiracy of silence”
2004 - gys + V.Manomaitis + d.n.s. "SM"
2003 - Inconnu/Driezhas/Donis "20:00.00000"
2002 - Donis/Driezhas split

Also participated in:
2004 - Wejdas "Zemes alsavimas" (Dangus (CD))
2003 - Kulgrinda "Perkuno giesmes" (Dangus (CD))
2002 - Notanga "Laukti Liko Nebedaug" (Dangus (CDr))
2000 - Wejdas "Wejdas" MC version (Dangus productions)
2000 - Wejdas "Dykra - die welt ohne rahmen" (Bastet recordings, Germany (CDr))
1998 - Wejdas "Wejdas" (Red stream (CD))
1998 - Ha lela "Pabudimas" (Eldethorn records (CD))
1997 - Eirime "Banla" (MC)
1996 - Eirime "Kursjoi" (Dangus Productions (MC))
1995 - Wejdas "Without Sleep" demo95 (Art prod. (MC))
1995 - Wejdas "Dykra" (Dangus Productions (MC))
1994 - Wejdas "Saulei tekant" (Dangus Productions (MC))
1994 - Wejdas "Á tamsa" (MC)

Music of project Donis was specially created or adapted for these performances:
2006 - Klaipeda Business and Technology College Folk theatre „Aitvaras“ spectacle „Kario daina“ by Paulius Sirvis and lithuanian folk stories.
2004 - Documental film “Dabar ir musu mirties valanda”. 2004 / Vytautas V. Landsbergis.
2004 - "Nieko nepraranda vaikai" [Sarunas Bartas, 2004 / Betacam SP / 5 min].
2000 - "Sleptuve" (author - Algimantas Mackus), Culture house of Kretinga.
2000 - "Kapiniu angelas" contemporary allegory (author - Andrejus Maksimovas) in the Faculty of Art at Klaipeda University
1999 - "Meiles katalogas" ("L'aide-Memoire", author: Jean-Claude Carriere), Kaunas Little Theater

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

...the music is obviously cinematographic... it's like sonic images evolving from unfocused medium. Donis is floating his stories smoothly, purposefully, as if weaving... You can relax and listen with a rib of an ear, you can submerge in your contemplations... There’s enough of depth... As well as of attraction. [A.Karalius - editor of the newspaper , architect]

Donis is a unique Lithuanian post-folklore project from Klaipëda (a harbour city of Western Lithuania on the Baltic Sea), masterminded by a young talented multi-instrumentalist, Donatas Bielkauskas. The most unusual and characteristic feature of his music is an idiosyncratic blend of the ancient Baltic folklore and contemporary arrangements, embroidered with authentic instrumental folk tunes on the backdrop of graceful electronic architectures of sound. Donis' compositions are hard grooving, subtly refined and solid sounding.

The young artist has also shown a knack for experimentation, winning his audiences with somewhat surprising releases of primeval ambient sound (Baltos Juodos Klajos, 2002; Ðvilpiai, 2003; Vacuum, 2004), conceptual avant-garde projects D.N.S. and Wejdas, and collaborations with Kûlgrinda ritual folklore group (Sotvaras, 2003). His most outstanding accomplishment to date is the album Bite lingo, based on Lithuanian historic and war songs and recorded with singer Rasa Serra and Kurðiø Ainiai ensemble. The most recent Donis' production Alexandreia reveals imaginary spirit of antiquity, that results in tranquil, transparent and peruasive ambient stream. Distinguished for originality and versatility, Donis' output also includes music for theatre and film. It has been presented at a number of alternative art festivals, art galleries and international culture events.

http://www.donis.lt