On Order. 1-2 Weeks
19 Years Before The Beginning


"Sometimes our own creations surprised us," says Inguna Rubene, flute player, guitarist, bassoonist, and songwriter for 19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma (19 Years Before the Beginning). Created with the idea of lasting for a single performance, 19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma developed into one of the most delicate, intriguing groups in Latvia's 1980s and early 1990s music scene. Formed in 1988, the band arrived at a time when the Soviet Union was showing the first signs of unravelling. "19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma started because we wanted to prepare a musical program for an exhibition organized by Hardijs Lediņs, Juris Boiko [both from the band/performance collective NSRD] and other avant-garde artists at the Aizrobezu Art Museum [now the Art Museum of Riga Bourse]. It could have remained as a one-time musical project if it were not for two journalists from West Berlin who were at the exhibition," Rubene reveals. "They asked for the band's album, but there was none." The band: Inguna (vocal, flute, bassoon, rhythm guitar) Daiga Mazversite (Daiga Mazvērsīte) (synthesizer), Ilgvars Riskis (Ilgvars Risķis) (percussion), and Viesturs Slava (keyboards, guitar, programming, vocal); improvised a studio in Riskis's apartment and with the modest equipment available to them set about recording. They laid down four tracks, one of which, "Singapūras Vējš", appears on this compilation. Listening to it now, the frantic synths, percussion and Rubene's vocal reveal the urgency of the time. Shortly after that first recording session they were invited to play West Berlin's Transmission Festival, sharing the stage with the likes of Einst├╝rzende Neubauten. The following year, two new members joined 19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma: Uldis Vanags (woodwinds) and Ugis Serins (Uģis Sēriņs) (saxophone). Once more they entered the studio, this time laying down five tracks, "Die Wilde Frau", "Ruhig", "Kurmja Deja", "Nikni Zvēri", "Pāri Upei", all of which are present on this compilation. Seemingly disparate acoustic and synthetic sounds orchestrated into swooning, surreal songs. Elements of minimalism combined with synth pop and echoes of folk melodicism. Much like their contemporaries and collaborators NSRD, 19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma's music captures frustration with their own reality, and a playful drive to make up a new one. In the years since that initial burst of life, 19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma remained active. In 1990 their track "Nakts Ir Mana Zemapziņa" was released on the Ienāc Ausīs compilation of underground Latvian music (1990), the first record released in Latvia following its independence.