Tallinn Music Week's 2017 Telliskivi Creative City Award goes to post-pop producer and singer Mart Avi, multi-instrumentalist Erki Pärnoja, and electro-pop artist NOËP. The award includes €1,300 in prize money as well as access to the mentoring program of Music Estonia.
The winners were selected by TMW music industry delegates from among the 133 Estonian artists of this year’s Tallinn Music Week (TMW). The delegates pointed out Mart Avi’s artistic concept, modern and unique sound and playful vocals. Music critic and scholar Simon Reynolds noted that “unlike with a lot of conceptronica, his thoughtful thoughts don't get in the way of the seduction effect.” Anastasia Connor, of Drowned in Sound, labelled Avi as a “true child of post-genre”, and his TMW performance as one of her most extraordinary concert experiences of recent years.
Mart Avi’s live program is based on his latest album Rogue Wave. “After recovering from a severe fracture I directed my new skeleton into the TMW performances,” says Avi. “I had proper fireworks going on in my head that I tried to direct down from the stage, to avoid going up in flames myself.” Avi is not going to stop here: “The prize money will cover technical damages and future ‘after-shocks’. I’ll also be working on a new album, hopefully to be released this year,” Avi said.
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erki Pärnoja presented his first solo album, Efterglow, together with his band. TMW delegates noted his unique Nordic touch, impressionist guitar riffs, film-like soundscapes and the instrumental skills of the whole band. Chris Kellogg of U.S. radio station KEXP called Pärnoja a “fantastic discovery”, the editor of Tape Op, Alex Maiolo, pointed out that Efterglow shows the unique Nordic feel of “landscape soundtrack”.
Pärnoja said that this year’s TMW had been particularly busy and fruitful: ”We made four shows. In Club Sinilind, the audience and band erupted in a riot, the home concert opened up a real new format of a common understanding between the artist and the audience. At the largest concert in Vaba Lava we experienced pin-drop moments—a stillness so deep, as if no one was even breathing. The gig in the BiitMe Record Store was the dot on the i for our TMW tour.”
Pärnoja hopes to perform Efterglow live a lot more: “I think live performance brings the recorded material to new life and moves it further. We have quite a few showcase festivals in Europe coming up this year and the prize is a big help for this.”
Electronic indie pop artist NOËP aka singer and producer Andres Kõpper was praised for his engaging and skilful performance, including hit singles Move and Rooftop. Clotaire Buche of French music agency Junzi Arts praised NOËP as the “next big thing”, while Jeffrey Barney of Minneapolis Magazine called the multi-talent one-man-band “a possible global draw”.
Kõpper, already a successful act under the Swedish Sony Music label, is pleasantly surprised: “TMW is still a great opportunity to present one’s music and live skills internationally without crossing country borders.” He plans to use the prize money for the finishing touches of new songs and possibly a new microphone.
Editor: Dario Cavegn