This collection landed in my inbox on the busiest email day of the year so far. While it’s true that I enjoy my email a great deal more than most, this particular day was genuinely overwhelming. Scanning the titles that came in, this compilation of young Lithuanian composers living and working abroad felt more arcane than appealing.
Do not make the same mistake. This collection of nine mostly electronic and electroacoustic works is brilliant. The compositions are stylish, exciting and unexpectedly advanced (not because of their place of birth of course, but rather their relative youth).
The project began as a 2016 article in Lithuanian Music Link by curator Edvardas Šumila. “The political events of the past few years have prompted the need to re-examine what it means to be an artist in the globalized geography,” he writes in the album’s notes.
“Today’s geopolitical climate is complex – the aftermath of Brexit has revealed the existing split in public opinion on the ‘open border’ policy, with some countries demonstrating an increasingly radical stance, which is likely to have an effect on the migration of artists in the near future. Similarly, in the United States, where I was based when writing this piece, the politics of migration and openness is becoming increasingly more stringent.”
The politics of globalization and immigration are difficult to ignore these days. But while it’s tough to see Far Away but Ever Closer through an apolitical lens, its considerable artistic value deserves our no-strings-attached appreciation. To see this only as a clique of composers who share a birthplace is to miss the compilation’s value entirely.