Armed With Techno, Vilnius DJs Are Taking On The Worlds Autocrats

Stanislav Tolkachev I Am Real Techno Feature Ra

It's one of the most left-leaning music releases of the year, but Sound of Freedom, an album of speeches by autocratic rulers, is a modern protest against propaganda and censorship.

Antidote Community, made up of independent electronic music producers and DJs from Vilnius, Lithuania, has created an electronic music album as a statement against the dictators of the world.

The "Voice of Freedom" CD combines the vocal parts of various autocratic rulers with techno music beats that have historically been used in protests against undemocratic regimes for years.

Antidote project director Edmundas Puchkorius says the album is a representation of society's belief in the transformative power of culture, and especially electronic music.

Electronic music and raves have been used as a form of resistance and national unity since the beginning of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, including clean-up raves to restore destroyed spaces and the celebration of the country's Independence Day in Vilnius.

"For the first time since 2004, there are more autocratic states than democracies in the world. People led by a dictator fall into the information trap: propaganda, censorship and false stories," says Puchkorius.

On "Voice of Freedom," seven music producers take a stand against these dictators and use their words to send a message of hope and freedom, sure to get the album banned in autocracies."

The launch of the album and its cover was held this week at the Vilnius Open Gallery, a unique open-air art gallery in the city's New Town.

"The Ultimate Dictator" painting is a composite portrait created by artificial intelligence that combines the faces of 40 dictators.

the face of evil

"We wanted to define the face of evil. To do this, we ranked countries using data from some independent indexes of freedom and democracy. The 40 worst performing countries have been selected. As a visual tool, we transformed the faces of these dictators into one, the last dictator, which is the basis for the creation of the piece”, explains Puchkorius.

Photographed by Pijus Čeikauskas, the portrait emerges from a brick wall and evokes images of George Orwell's 1984 dystopian novel Big Brother.

Unpolished yellow markers surround the image, a reminder that protesters desecrating images of autocratic rulers must move quickly to avoid being caught.

This latest addition to the Open Gallery was exhibited as part of Lofta fest'22, a wide range of performances by various musicians and various art installations that took place in a converted factory and industrial area.

Loftas presents the largest street art exhibition in Vilnius, constantly expanding with new works of art by world-renowned muralists.

The sound of freedom can be streamed on Soundcloud or Bandcamp.

Photos: Edmundas Puckorius

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