Secret Thirtheen is the interdisciplinary internet journal, presenting exclusive mixes and interviews by influential and original artists, musicians, label owners, record collectors as well as overviews of contemporary art works and various imprints. The journal specializes in Experimental, Drone, Ambient, Abstract, Techno, Contemporary music genres, but lately Secret Thirteen also have many guests from Goth Rock, Post-Punk, Minimal Wave, Industrial, IDM, World, Jazz scenes.
Number 13 symbolizes the death of the matter or of oneself and the birth of the spirit – it is the passage to a higher level of existence. In day-to-day life it is not easy to distance yourself from corporeality. Even more challenging is to find the way to fulfill the emotional needs and express inner feelings. Aldous Huxley once said: “After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”. By analyzing the depths of sounds ranging from academic composition to expressive electronic dance music, by suggesting deeper and more emotional understanding of art and presenting both famous and no-name artists, Secret Thirteen offers to accompany you in your journey in search of passage of a higher level of existence.
Understanding the development as the main vital force, Secret Thirteen always leaves space for unpredictability.
“Secret Thirteen” journal introduction video by Ran Slavin, Israeli film maker, video artist and sound producer who lives and works in Tel Aviv.
The birth of the journal was determined by its founders constant intellectual development, increasing amount of knowledge, the aim to be a significant participant in Lithuanian and foreign cultural worlds, personal ambitions and the lack of concentration of specific and relevant information. The disappointingly small amount of systemized and unique information in the internet was also a major factor for the foundation and developing of the journal.
However, the main reasons of the journal birth were the love for art in general, the aim of helping the often overlooked talented artists to find their audience, the understanding of the importance of art. The educational aspect is also of prime importance as there are many links to various external sources and key information in the constructive texts. Thus, the reader can find more relevant information himself.
In order to achieve these goals Secret Thirteen journal also constantly collaborates with various festivals and promoters. It has already partnered with such contemporary music events as Unsound (Poland), Skaņu Mežs (Latvia) and Sūpynės (Lithuania).
The founder of Secret Thirteen is Justinas Mikulskis, music producer and critic, who actively observes and analyzes the cultural world as well as participates in it. Having started as a musicmaker under S13 alias, he suddenly turned to journalism and founded the journal. However, Mikulskis is still active as a musician and DJ and his eclectic sets can be heard in various Lithuanian festivals and cultural events. Apart from Justinas Mikulskis, there are other contributors including music journalist and linguist Paulius Ilevičius, who also writes in Suru.lt blog, Radvilė Nakaitė, professional cultural manager, producer, event organizer, journalist and art critic. In August of 2013 the journal was joined by professional photographer Laima Stasiulionytė and moderator Evelina Atkočiūnaitė. In January of 2014 the journal was joined by programmer Laurynas Bakas. Shortly after Armando Valdés complemented the team in album reviewing. After some time Milda Batakytė joined the journal team to write cultural features and Alexander Iadarola complemented the group with his witty music reviews and interviews. The major role in the founding of the journal was also played by Margarita Niedvaraitė, a lawyer with the huge interest in art, who encouraged Mikulskis to target international audiences, overcome the language and cultural barriers and discover the place in the market. Unfortunately, in the Autumn of 2012 Niedvaraite left the journal for personal reasons.
This section of the journal is updated every week and gains the most attention. The original idea was to present Drone, Ambient, Noise, Electro-acoustic compilations, based on rhythmless structures, wide soundscapes with the tendencies to minimalism and abstractions. However, this idea was gradually rejected and instead the criteria of unique emotional emphasis and conceptual integrity were applied. It became clear, that in home environment most composers, artists, record collectors and label owners listen to much wider variety of music, ranging from Industrial to refined electronica to Avant-garde, Jazz or Folk.
The main criteria of mix selection are their conception, the development of material and emotional narrative, their relation to journal’s idea and other minor factors, that determine the final result. Apart from presenting the important artists, another significant aim of the journal is to establish the contacts between labels and artists as well as between artists and their audiences. The journal often serves as a diplomatic platform, based on long term communication and the development of cultural relations, thus being able to present the most recent and interesting visual and sonic material from its partners.
The most intriguing part for the listener is to discover an entirely opposite stylistic scope in the mix from the artist of certain genre. The artists undertake the most unexpected musical voyages, presents very personal sonic experiences and their secret discoveries. The idea to present early influences is also important here.
In this section various unique and interesting artists are presented. The scope of the questions is wide and includes art, philosophy, social issues, personal experience and achievements. The respondent list already contains such names as Joachim Sauter (CEO of ART+COM), Haus Arafna, Scanner, Adam Fowler, Kreng, Tropic of Cancer, Amanda Brown, ASC, Orphx, Loscil etc. There are also plans to interview people from non-artistic backgrounds such as NASA scientists, physics, coffee experts etc.
This section presents record labels and the people behind them. Interviews reveal the specifics of their activity. Moreover, every entry goes with the exclusive mix, compiled from the tracks by label artists.
S13 journal has visitors from all around the globe, ranging from Australia and Japan to Canada and Mexico. The contributing artists are also globally scattered. The places include Singapore (Xhin), USA (Lustmord, Tropic of Cancer), Japan (KK Null), Turkey (She Past Away), Israel (Ran Slavin), United Kingdom (Demdike Stare, Emptyset), Norway (Biosphere), Australia (Oren Ambarchi, HTRK) etc. The cultural diversity provides the journal with sonic variety, eclecticism, constant unexpectedness and the most surprising sounds.