I am a guitarist and composer, originally from Riga, Latvia, currently living in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Slow Lightning, my latest record, is out since February 17, 2022. It contains 7 original instrumentals for a fingerpicked steel-string acoustic guitar. I made this record during the last three months of 2021 – at home, on tape, and always way past midnight. You're welcome to listen to it in the -releases- section.
In this music I work particularly with the forms of early blues and ragtime. The results are seemingly old sounding yet entirely newly written – surprisingly lively stuff that is fun to play – especially in concerts! Released by dis ce que, Slow Lightning it is the first of three albums that will eventually make up Pains And Boogies, my unintentionally megalomaniac trilogy of acoustic guitar music. The separate installments are being published in cassette & digital format, with a projected vinyl publication once all three of them are finished. Fingers & toes crossed!
In July 2022 Fonds Podiumkunsten, the Dutch foundation for performing arts, announced their support for Pains And Boogies. They will thus be gracefully funding the composition process of the second and third installments of this trilogy.
Below, some third-person writing about my previous lives in music for the extra curious…
Edgars Rubenis emerged on the underground scene in mid-2000’s as the member of Riga’s experimental rock band Mona de Bo. Often considered to be one of the most vital forces on the Baltic scene of the ensuing decade, this ensemble has released 5 albums spanning psychotic indie garage, collisions of free improv and noisy drone rock. After the intense experimental guitar period with Mona de Bo and in an abrasive solo practice, Rubenis moved to The Netherlands in 2012 to study sonology and composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.
Prior the experimental turn, Rubenis was a teenage blues-head guitarist in Driving South, an exhilarating blues-improv trio making waves in the Baltics around the turn of the millennium. In this period he also received first hand exposure to legendary players during repeated visits to blues festivals in Norway – first row seat at Buddy Guy’s concert, faraway corner of Duke Robillard’s backstage, and in jam sessions with Oslo’s young greats of that time. A meeting with David Evans in Riga proved to be of unexpected importance thanks to the direct-lineage insights about Mississippi John Hurt’s music shared by the renown delta blues scholar and musician.
photos: Primitive Field, an online concert, on the livingroom wall of Dustin James