Secret Thirteen Mix 165 - Damien Dubrovnik

 Christian Stadsgaard, Loke Rahbek aka Damien Dubrovnik

Photo by Jonas Bang

Damien Dubrovnik crafts an introverted and captivating selection ranging from Serbian folk music to the emotional experiments of Scott Walker.

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Damien Dubrovnik is the Danish noise duo of Loke Rahbek (who is also involved in numerous other projects including Croatian Amor, Lust for Youth, LR, Var) and Christian Stadsgaard (Vanity Productions, Sarah’s Charity, Limepit etc). Damien Dubrovnik’s sound is a crystalline aesthetic combination of raw power electronics intensity and romantic ambient decadence, all of it unveiled through an intimate performative expressiveness. Their excellent album “Vegas Fountain” presents various aspects of the duo’s artistic world. From the piercing abrasiveness of “Interior 1, Upper Lip” to the melancholic synth patterns of the title track, this album leads us along its seductive, intimate space of sound and emotion. It manages to be both personal and universal at the same time, and retains the ability to occupy various spaces, forming a separate world around the listener. Damien Dubrovnik’s compositions explode in a sheerly confessional manner, empowered by subtle lyrical content. As Loke stated in a recent interview for Secret Thirteen, “We want the exaggerated movements of a well-performed lie to help us understand something true, namely the artist’s truth and if it is skillfully done, some of that will become our truth.” Those who have seen their dynamic, intense and immersive live shows, know how easy it is to become embroiled in their sharply elegant noise.

Secret Thirteen Mix 165 was compiled by Loke Rahbek. It serves as a presentation of influences instrumental in shaping the duo’s sound. Even though it may not be obvious at first, Damien Dubrovnik’s presence pierces all of these musical pieces. The selection has numerous interconnected layers which can all be traced back to the project’s sonic and artistic core. It explores the boundaries of the frighteningly beautiful through the avant-garde balladry of Scott Walker, the fatal dramatism of Nico, and the chamber lyricism of Arthur Russell. It also has a very personal ambient textural core - the intimate hospital field recordings of Arv and Miljö, the melancholic cinematic haziness of Erik Enocksson, and the drony Xenakis excerpt. The inclusion of ancient Greek music played by Atrium Musicae de Madrid, and the Balkan touch of Goran Bregović adds additional diversity and flavour to the mix. Here the dynamics are carefully orchestrated; introspective moments go together with abrasive noise, subtle micro drones stand next to epic chamber voyages. It is emotionally touching, thoughtfully expressive and charming in its own peculiar way, a bit like the twisted surreal forms of Gyarmathy Tihamér’s “Lights and Shadows”.


01. Scott Walker - Jolson And Jones [4AD, 2006]
02. Erik Enocksson - With Its Dark Tail Curled 'round The Garage, Pt. 1 [Kning Disk, 2007]
03. Nico - Janitor Of Lunacy [Visionary Communications, 1996]
04. Arv & Miljö - Allting Passerar [Posh Isolation, 2014]
05. Iannis Xenakis - La Légende D'Eer (Excerpt) [Montaigne, 1995]
06. Coil - Finite Bees (Excerpt) [Threshold House, 1994]
07. Atrium Musicae de Madrid Dir. Gregorio Paniagua - Aenaoi Nefelai (Lyrics: Aristophane (c. 446 – c. 386 BC), a Greek playwright of ancient Athens) [Harmonia Mundi, 1979]
08. Martin Bladh & Bo I. Cavefors - The Island [Freak Animal Records, 2012]
09. Peacetime Death - Eidadel (Excerpt) [Ascetic House, 2015]
10. Arthur Russell - Another Thought [Point Music, 1994]
11. Goran Bregović - Ederlezi [Mercury, 1998]
12. Eliane Radigue - Etude (Excerpt) [Alga Marghen, 2013]

About Author

Paulius Ilevicius is a Secret Thirteen journalist, editor and occasional DJ focusing on more dreamy and melancholic soundscapes. Born in post-industrial town of Pavevezys, currently he lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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