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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Lucia Udvardyova


Ratkiller: Meta Music for the 21st Century

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Wed 4 Oct 2017 1:43 pm

The Estonian musician Ratkiller is a master of intertextuality. His recent album Dreamhammer is full of samples from different sources: from Death Metal to 80s Funk ot porn movie samples. A review comment.

There are always other words in a word, other texts in a text, but also other melodies in a melody, and other music in music. Ratkiller is a master of this musical intertextuality. His new release Dreamhammer weaves a fluid intertextual, intersonic web, deftly sourcing and splicing his samples, that hazily pass through your consciousness. Liquid signifiers are stripped of their spatiotemporal origin and time dissolves.

The tracks are the product of an informal music fan whose idiosyncratic work is in dialogue with other music styles. The transposing is done so seamlessly that there’s no mistaking it as just the sum of its parts. His techniques are crude–for instance, uses a media player as a sampler and creates rhythms with play/pause/back/forward controllers.

Dreamhammer unravels with the cacophonic «Nasty Travesty» driven on the backdrop of Limbus 3’s album New Atlantis. «Soiled Sheets» culminates after three minutes in a piano-driven apex (Frederic Rzewski sample) with echoing voices taken from a tape of Estonian pornographic stories. Therion, a Swedish death metal band, provide a buoyant start to side B, while «Art of Awaking» dabbles in 70s spiritual jazz.

Genres and styles are allusive on this latest release by the Tallinn-based black metal fan Mihkel Kleis. It could be an 80s synth/funk album, or 21th century deconstructed club music. «Music, rhythm, rigadoon, without end, for no reason», wrote Julia Kristeva, the originator of the term «intertextuality», in Power of Horror: An Essay on Abjection.

Ratkiller: Meta Music for the 21st Century

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Wed 4 Oct 2017 1:43 pm

The Estonian musician Ratkiller is a master of intertextuality. His recent album Dreamhammer is full of samples from different sources: from Death Metal to 80s Funk ot porn movie samples. A review comment.

There are always other words in a word, other texts in a text, but also other melodies in a melody, and other music in music. Ratkiller is a master of this musical intertextuality. His new release Dreamhammer weaves a fluid intertextual, intersonic web, deftly sourcing and splicing his samples, that hazily pass through your consciousness. Liquid signifiers are stripped of their spatiotemporal origin and time dissolves.

The tracks are the product of an informal music fan whose idiosyncratic work is in dialogue with other music styles. The transposing is done so seamlessly that there’s no mistaking it as just the sum of its parts. His techniques are crude–for instance, uses a media player as a sampler and creates rhythms with play/pause/back/forward controllers.

Dreamhammer unravels with the cacophonic «Nasty Travesty» driven on the backdrop of Limbus 3’s album New Atlantis. «Soiled Sheets» culminates after three minutes in a piano-driven apex (Frederic Rzewski sample) with echoing voices taken from a tape of Estonian pornographic stories. Therion, a Swedish death metal band, provide a buoyant start to side B, while «Art of Awaking» dabbles in 70s spiritual jazz.

Genres and styles are allusive on this latest release by the Tallinn-based black metal fan Mihkel Kleis. It could be an 80s synth/funk album, or 21th century deconstructed club music. «Music, rhythm, rigadoon, without end, for no reason», wrote Julia Kristeva, the originator of the term «intertextuality», in Power of Horror: An Essay on Abjection.

Diatribes: Abstract Music for Everybody

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Fri 9 Jun 2017 7:00 am

The music of Diatribes, a duo by the Geneva-based musicians D’incise and Cyril Bondi, induces hypnotic states. Lucia Udvardyova reflects about the inclusive communal effects of the duo's radical sonic abstraction in their latest EP Sistere.

Cover of Diatribes – Sistere. Artwork, Design and Handwork by Katarína Škamlová, Jakub Juhás and Zoltán Czakó. Released 2017 by Mappa Records MAP06

Lucid signifiers devoid of obvious meaning or reference to external circumstances point to a primordial and abstract sonic state where music floats in and out of consciousness over and over again. Layers of sound are intricately and gradually woven into a magic carpet that dissolves at the end and drops you back into the reality of the everyday. Aural cartographies and the mediation of recording processes in various spatiotemporal contexts (resonance, vibration, reverberation) are the main elements in Sistere, the latest release of Diatribes, a duo by the Geneva-based musicians D’incise and Cyril Bondi who run the renowned imprint & (meta) orchestra Insub.

Both pieces are more than twenty minutes long and are bona fide repetitive electroacoustic recordings that usher the listener into a hypnotic state of timelessness, an inclusive communal ritual, a Zen-like mantra, a wall of sound for perception projections. There’s an inherent subtlety and gentleness to the record, the music evolves over time horizontally and vertically, with added and deducted instrumental layers. Sistere is a very open record – it welcomes the active listener, without excluding the «passive», comfortably drowsy one.

Easterndaze Video-Selection

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Mon 3 Apr 2017 10:00 am

Far from folkloristic clichés and beyond the radar of the taste-shaping music press, there are alternative music scenes thriving in Central and Eastern Europe: from electronic music and noise to the ironic deconstruction of traditional music, or to local genres such as manele or chalga, often belittled as kitsch. For years the music blog Easterndaze is our entrance into this other music of Eastern Europe. We asked the founder of Easterndaze, Lucia Udvardyova, to share with us the most urgent video clips from Eastern Europe at the last edition of our Musikfilm Festival. What came out is an unsettling selection changing between politics, the negotiation of identity, and belonging.

Cleaning the trophies of her husband. Filmstill from Mister D & Maria Strzelecka: «Zona Pilkarza» (Poland 2016)

Mister D & Maria Strzelecka - Zona Pilkarza
Poland, 2016

Mister D is the sonic alter ego of the «enfant terrible» of the Polish literary scene, Dorota Masłowska. As in her writing, Masłowska’s music touches upon the often flawed realities of our era in general, and the Polish society in particular. In this video, created by the illustrator Maria Strzelecka, the lives of footballers’ wives are explored without the glitz and the glamour of their public lifestyles.

Kyklos Galaktikos - I.N.R.I.
Czech Republic, 2012

Kyklos Galaktikos is an open platform established in 2007 encompassing anything from theater and dance performances to concerts and children’s shows. In 2011, the Czech collective delved into the music scene with an eponymous band, whose debut Osa dobra (The Axis of Good) appeared in the same year. In this (literally) explosive video they set out to demolish our turbo-capitalist affinity for shopping malls and materialism, borrowing various blockbuster tropes along the way.

Benzokai - Identities Too Abstract
Estonia, 2015

Benzokai is the nom-de-plume of Estonian artist and musician Artyom Astrov. His work explores the notions of emptiness and its implicit potential for change. In this video, taken from his self-titled album which was released in 2015 on Czech label Baba Vanga, we follow a journey across non-descript landscapes somewhere between Vilnius and Vienna.

Samčo, brat dážďoviek -
The opinions of Slovak experts on tragical deaths of refugees

Slovakia, 2015

Not many musicians dare to touch politics nowadays, especially here in Central Europe. Samčo, brat dážďoviek is an exception: media-jamming like a sonic Yes Man, photoshopping posters of the far right, and autotuning hate speech. In this video, entitled «The opinions of Slovak experts on tragical deaths of refugees», he aggregated various xenophobic Facebook comments and added the profile photos of their authors. The twisted lo-fi animations of their faces, often taken from holiday or family photos which depict them as «normal» people, become a chilling metaphor of what’s wrong with this world.

Schwarzprior - Železem rty
Czech Republic, 2014

Schwarzprior is a collective from Ostrava, a coal-mining center in the north-eastern Czech Republic. Like the industrial Sheffield, Ostrava’s depressing environs proved fertile for various artistic endeavours, including mixing music and visual art. Schwarzprior is one of the bands which emerged from this scene – alongside the likes of I Love 69 Popgeju and Marius Konvoj – and this video is their raw paean to the city.

Read More from Easterndaze on Norient

> Lucia Udvardyova: «New Mixtape: Strcprstskrzkrk»
> Lucia Udvardyova: «Five Video Clips from Czech Republic»
> Lucia Udvardyova: «Daniel Kordík’s [Sy][ria]»
> Samčo, brat dážďoviek: «Anti-Music: the Czech and Slovak Bandzone Scene»

New Mixtape: Strcprstskrzkrk

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Fri 16 Dec 2016 8:22 am

For our exhibition «Seismographic Sounds – Visions of a New World» Lucia Udvardyová from the music blog Easterndaze.net compiled a Mixtape. It is a personal assemblage of fleeting encounters, uncompromising sonics, recordings from house parties and demonstrations. A 20-minute transition through perpetual transition, a looped past-future-past, an ode to the «former» Eastern Europe: from Budapest to Bucharest, Prague to Belgrade, Vienna to Bulgaria, conjuring an imaginary landscape open to contingency and adventure. Listen to the piece and meet Lucia Udvardyová at the 8th Norient Musikfilm Festival 2017 in Bern.

Tracklist

Powitanie: «Animacje Hotelowe, Słoneczny Brzeg»
Laura Luna: «Auroras»
Ivan Hrušovský: «Idée Fixe»
William: «Budapest» (11/2014)
Falochron: «Nessebar, Stare Miasto»
Kassett: «444 (Imre Kiss remix)»
Somnoroase Păsărele: «SEPT TREI»
Springboard: «Yanni Rhytms»
Demisia: «Bucharest» (12/204)
Mirat: «Mane4»
Magma Trakt: «Syrup»
Highway 69: «Suleiman The Magnificent»
Valea Cascadelor: «Bucharest» (12/2014)
Wsie: «Wieś z błotem»
Id M Theft Able: «Jowls Without A Face»
Alone In Heaven: «Sacral»
Radu: «Bucharest» (12/2014)

Meet RSS B0YS, One of Poland’s Best New Techno Acts

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Tue 31 Mar 2015 2:20 pm

An anonymous duo from Poland has made waves in international experimental circles. Here they share some unreleased tribal techno tracks and discuss the potential of their country’s experimental scene.

RSS B0YS appeared out of nowhere with a buoyant and ritualistic take on techno. Although the identities of the project’s two constituents are veiled in mystery, it’s no secret that they hail from Poland and are affiliated with one of the country’s most important imprints, Mik Musik. The duo’s penchant for enigma is mirrored in its cryptic song titles and the name of its latest album, HDDN, which surfaced in January. The music therein follows in a rhythmic, technoid trajectory to trance-enducing shamanistic effect, a tendency that’s apparent on the unreleased bonus tracks they’ve sent us as an exclusive premiere.

The pair’s compelling compositions earned them a spot on the SHAPE roster, a platform for innovative music and audiovisual art linked with the ICAS network—check out our recent news story about the upcoming ICAS Festival for a complete description of the program. The association has won them slots at three events this month, first at the MeetFactory in the Czech Republic on April 9, then at the SHAPE showcase at the Intonal Festival in Malmö, Sweden, and finally at ICAS’s eponymous festival in Dresden. Although RSS B0YS are staunchly anti-hype—their debut release was titled W D0NT BLV N HYP—we’re pretty much frothing with excitement about their forthcoming performances, so we met up with them to chat with them in an attempt to uncover some information about the secretive Polish project.

Lucia Udvardyová: What is the genesis of RSS B0YS?

Boy1: The general idea was to test how anonymity in music affects people. It was a fight against ego and hype, so our first album was entitled W D0NT BLV N HYP. It was just a test, and then it appeared that next steps should follow, that if you say something unusual you need to take it further.

In what way?

B1: For the first two years, it was only a studio project. Then we realized that it would be nice to play live shows and that it was necessary to rethink the idea. Obviously, it’s really complicated to play shows anonymously, especially in the beginning when we had no idea how to stay ourselves and not exaggerate. From the moment RSS B0YS started to play live, the real work started. The new album definitely is the result of this live work. We’re at a moment when we can refuse our initial ideas, like the Afro-techno concept, and we can do whatever we like and remain ourselves.

Was it a conscious choice to choose Afro-inspired techno because of the rhythms, like a sort of primordial tribalist concept?

B1: For me, Africa is at the heart of everything. Humankind comes from there, as do many musical ideas. For us, another keyword could be “post-colonialism,” but right now we’re absolutely not related to anything folksy.

The idea of “post-colonialism” reminds me of a musician from Serbia who claimed to be from Nigeria.

Boy2: We definitely don’t pretend to be African. Non-Western music is a big inspiration for us. It’s just a simple decision to go beyond the Western musical tradition, whether it’s African or Caribbean or otherwise.

Then what’s the most important element of RSS B0YS in terms of audience reception? The dance element?

B1: Yes. The ritual, the catharsis, and the dance are interconnected. You can express every feeling with music and dance.

B2: It’s an invitation to the ritual, and we conduct it. It’s symbolic. Ours is not the usual techno stuff.

B1: It’s not even techno really at all. Of course, it has a 4×4 rhythm, and there’s also a provocative element involved, but we move the body and the mind.

B2: Maybe it’s a projection of techno as we would like it to be. We play music that doesn’t exist, the music that we would love to hear at parties. We provide it for ourselves and expand the definition of dance music. We like to push boundaries because usually it gets pretty boring on the dance floor.

But your music is pretty functional, right?

B2: Yes, but you can really expand it and the audience accepts it. You can do a lot of things that other artists might not dare to do.

B1: Maybe we’re also just brave.

B2: Brave, stupid, and funny.

B1: When we get onstage, sometimes we hear people laugh because we look unusual and funny—but after five minutes, they’re not laughing anymore.

B2: That’s how we get their attention.

That’s a difficult task these days.

B2: It is. It’s a cheap trick to wear a mask and look different, but it’s fine when it serves a purpose. The mask is only an interface, and it allows us to test things out, attempt to go beyond our usual capabilities and make a lot of mistakes. We often lose ourselves and wake up after an hour, sweating, and the audience is cheering. It’s an emotional experience. It’s not just about going on stage and operating machines; it’s also about inducing a trance, a somehow tribal state. Wearing those masks becomes a part of the ritual. And, very often, the audience goes there with us.

So the anonymity liberates you.

B2: Yes, for us as well as the audience. Sometimes when I’m listening to a performance, I feel constrained by the artist’s presence on stage, which skews my judgment. And the thing with RSS B0YS is also intuition. The live performances are thoroughly improvised, and we do things that surpass even our own imaginations. During performances, there’s often a collision between us, a mutual madness. Our output is a stream-of-consciousness that draws upon all of our previous musical experiences. When I was a teenager, I used to dream about doing fully improvised sets; I couldn’t believe it was possible. Now I know that you need to build up some knowledge over the years to be able to do it—you can’t do it at 15. In a way, playing with RSS B0YS fulfills my teenage dreams.

The emphasis on anonymity makes you the ultimate “death of author” band.

B1: It’s getting really complicated. We have a lot of doubts about whether the anonymity makes sense, whether it’s helping us or distorting something in our brains. Sometimes we can’t even see the audience because it is dark, and we don’t use visuals—we only have lamps to help us find the knobs, plus a mask which blurs everything. It’s a psychedelic experience without psychedelics.

B2: It also alters the way we operate our instruments. We can prepare our tracks with full visual help and we go on stage with covered faces and can only control maybe one-tenth of the initial idea. The lights go out and we’re lost, so we have to simplify our thoughts and movements. A smoothness comes out of it, because we need to move a bit slower.

Are you inspired by other masked dance acts?

B1: Like Daft Punk? Burial? No. It’s nice pop, but definitely another philosophy.

Since you’re anonymous, would that mean that the set up of RSS B0YS could change in future and no one would be any the wiser?

B1: We’ve been playing around with the idea of having two performances happen simultaneously, to multiply RSS B0YS. We could send someone else instead of us when we can’t make it, but honesty is really important to us.

You’ve revealed your place of origin, at least.

B2: At this point, it’s no secret that we’re from Poland. There’s no point in pretending that we come from Benin.

B1: But we’ve never said we’re from Benin. We only met there.

The Polish music scene has gained a considerable amount of attention in the press recently. Do you think that’s because of the size of the country, or has something changed in the public perception, or in the country itself?

B1: Something extraordinary has happened, and one of my theories is that it’s just a reaction to the so-called economic “crisis.” Nobody wants to help us, so we must do it ourselves. We’re brave, creative, and strong, and finally it’s starting to bear fruit. For years, we’ve lived with an inferiority complex; we had no instruments nor access to fancy equipment, so we thought that we must be somehow worse than other musicians. But we’ve found many ways to make things sound good without all those expensive things.

Finally, we can access almost everything we want in terms of gear, but we still use the tools the way we want, not as manuals prescribe or as musicians we admire from the West use them. All the best artists from Poland right now have developed their own ways of producing music and sounds, but most of all, they employ many unusual ideas and enjoy freedom from any stylistic boundaries. It’s quite a big bunch of people in which everyone is different, and we’re usually very supportive of each other. Of course, we don’t live in paradise; there are lot of things to improve and develop, but I’m quite optimistic.

You can connect with the SHAPE platform on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Video Clips from Czech Republic

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Wed 1 Oct 2014 5:45 am

This list about some current Czech sounds was compiled by Lucia Udvardyová. She runs the blog Easterndaze, a platform for up-and-coming independent Eastern European arts and music scenes. And thats exactly what we can explore in this list: electronic shaped tracks accompanied by colorful and digital video art – inspired by tumbler aestetics. For the first and the last video we're going to visit particular places in Prague as the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants and the communist council estate. See 5 video clips from other countries in our ongoing videclip series here.

1.
Artist: Deaths
Track: Karaoke Blues

Click here to view the embedded video.


Deaths are a young and up-and-coming Czech synth-pop act. In their video, created by Igor Bruso, they plunge themselves into a thriller-like fantasy set in Prague’s ubiquitous Chinese restaurants. Equally dramatic and romantic, simply, the Karaoke Blues.

2.
Artist: Space Love
Track: ASH TAR SHE RAN

Click here to view the embedded video.


Andrea Pekárková is known as one of the most inspiring Czech VJs. Under the moniker Space Love she teamed up with her love, the fledgling producer Voodoo, to create an audiovisual project inspired by trap and global bass music, sci-fi, tumblr aesthetics and pop-cultural sampling.

3.
Artist: Střed Světa
Track: Travinou Obklíčeni

Click here to view the embedded video.


The mysterious Střed Světa emerged last year with his debut on the Baba Vanga label (we admit affiliation). «Travinou Obklíčeni» was visualised by the Polish, Bristol-based musician and video maker Wojciech Rusin, augmenting the abstraction of electronic music, but adding various visual ephemera, largely sourced and deconstructed from commercial stock images.

4.
Artist: Lightning Glove
Track: To All Traitors

Click here to view the embedded video.


The aforementioned Andrea Pekárková is also the resident visualist of the increasingly successful «post-rave» project from Prague called Lightning Glove. They have just released a vinyl on the British Ono Tesla label, and their no-frills attitude and forlorn lyrics are a perfect soundtrack to (not only) Eastern urban dystopia.

5.
Artist: Máma Bubo
Track: Skončíš jako já

Click here to view the embedded video.


The Czech band, established in 1983, was one of the pioneers of the local new wave/post punk scene (if you can call it that). Incorporating electronics as well as elements of ska/reggae, Máma Bubo still sound fresh with their characteristically lo-fi aesthetic utilising primitive «home» studios and spreading their oeuvre on cassettes – at that time more out of necessity than fashion. The video for their track «Skončíš jako já» (You Will End Up Like Me) is wonderfully desolate, shot in the then newly built communist council estate in Prague.

Check Czech – a compilation from Prague and beyond

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Wed 4 Jun 2014 5:31 am

Check Czech is a new compilation of up-and-coming electronics, experimental, dance-oriented, weird and uncanny sounds from Prague and beyond. It bands together old stagers and greenhorns in the scene. Enjoy!

tumblr_inline_n5vmu1nKK31qbh4jc

What is a sound of a country? House, techno, folk, trap, rap, hip hop or jazz? Of course, such simplistic generalisations are superfluous, though it is still interesting to hear what a certain group of musicians from a certain geographical context might produce, influenced – either consciously or subliminally – by the surroundings (or is this plain determinism)? Of course, we are not talking about Eurovision type of national/istic trite, but genuine music created at a certain time, in a certain place.

The new compilation entitled simply and boldly as !CZECH2, presents the up-and-coming producers based in the Czech Republic (there is also a Mexican and an American artist both based in Prague included). This is already the second instalment (read more about the first one in our interview here) of this initiative and its aim is to present «contemporary local progress».

The sound focuses on electronics, experimental, dance-oriented, weird and uncanny. Some names have been around for a while – but present themselves in a new light, such as Reverend Dick or Selectone. Then there are those who have appeared on the sonic radar recently, such as the Baba Vanga-affiliated Střed Světa and Traktor, or Space Love (check out their eye-watering videos here) andDizzcock, the last two mentioned renowned for their collaboration with Tesla Tape’s Lightning Glove.

You can download the compilation, mostly composed of exclusives, for free here.

Eastern Haze: May 2014

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Tue 27 May 2014 11:23 am

Photo taken in Budapest by Marci Kristof

In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the movements in and from the best of the Central and Eastern European sonic underground, distilling the best of her Easterndaze blog.

 

A diary is a memory device, a personal narrative of a present that has irrevocably become the past. A deeply personal expression that usually remains private, a self-reflexive reminiscence of the development of the self. An audio diary shifts the rather self-centred nature of a written account into a more communal experience, or rather, diverts the attention onto others, or the environment. Captured by the recorder (“directed” by the one who is holding it) it selects aural situations and sounds that create a sort of sonic play. “In the first few minutes we just started to record noises, we continued by capturing audio phenomena using other sound equipment. We were brainstorming about the possible follow-ups and an overall conception,” says Marci Kristof of the 12z collective about his Budapest audio mixtape. ”Also, we got stuck in conversations about the past and future of music, then we went out to different places in Budapest and met a lot of people.”

Lutto Lento is one of the most active figures on the Polish underground scene, running his acclaimed Sangoplasmo label for several years now, with the likes of Ensemble Economique, Aranos or Burial Hex under its belt. His own musical output increasingly focuses on—in contrast to his label—dancefloor friendly material, though of a cerebral rather than functionalist nature. The 4/4 tempo is injected with mangled samples and enough strangeness to suggest a sound emanating from speakers placed in a bucket full of lysergic acid.

And this brings us nicely to Piotr Kurek, with whom Lubomir Grzelak—Lutto Lento—is currently on European tour. Kurek doesn’t need to prove much more with his artistic creations, his acclaimed album Heat has appeared on Foxy Digitalis and he remains one of the most noteworthy characters of contemporary Polish music scene, with his idiosyncratic sound signature which varies from odd to the apparently more “customary”. His latest sonic incarnation is called ABRADA.

Triple Sun is a relatively new addition to the sprawling Bratislava electronic music scene, whose vibrancy is confirmed in release after release. When I attended a local festival in February, which featured approximately 16 (!) local live acts, mostly inaccessible to the “untrained” ear. Triple Sun is one of the staples of this community, its members being active in various outfits and collectives. Their latest release Overture is out now on the recently established Forum Absurdum label, associated with the haven of Bratislava’s underground scene, the Fuga club, located in an old industrial complex encircled by signs of merciless urban development. ~

Eastern Haze: April 2014

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Tue 15 Apr 2014 11:32 am

In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the movements in and from the best of the Central and Eastern European sonic underground, distilling the best of her Easterndaze blog.

Věra Chytilová, the grande dame of Bohemian cinema, the uncompromising, forward-thinking director, one of the most eminent figures of the Czech New Wave, passed away in March. “My journey is full of mistakes, I am a mistake,” she once said in an interview. For it is in the glitches, delineations, flaws and errors that the outstanding, the odd and weird, the border-pushing and thought-provoking is born. Chytilová’s New Wave colleague, albeit not a filmographer but a composer, Zdeněk Liška, achieved similar acclaim with his eerie, electronic soundtracks, which considering the time and place of its origin were mind-blowing, create a perfect backdrop to the equally avant-garde cinematic creations he was working for, for instance for the likes of Jan Švankmajer.

Liška’s output, in particular his 1977 collaboration with the Czech director Jan Schmidt, has now been recontextualized by Tarnovski, a sound artist who has worked in the past with gems of Czechoslovak audiovisual legacy, tweaking, twisting and turning the historical works into individualised modern day homages. His latest mixtape, Osada havranů includes reworkings of three Liška scores: Osada havranů (Settlement of Crows), Na veliké řece (At The Great River, 1977) and Volání rodu (Call of the Tribe) all of them made in 1977. “Zdeněk felt the need to banish the whole sonic realistic construction, dispensing with most of the real atmospheres and sounds, instead trying to create them from loops. This resulted in strange howling, flicking, and this he mixed together… To all of this he then composed music,” recollects the director Jan Schmidt. Tarnovski’s reworking with its rhythmic structures, disembodied voices, sounds of birds and waves manifests the talents of both the source and result of this recontextualisation.

The Budapest contingent has been keeping itself active, with a steady string of releases on local or international labels, not least documented by this very column. Aside from the well-received Norwell & S Olbricht collab, the latest batch of Pestian sonic offerings include a cute split between the 15 year-old Alley Catss and the aforementioned Martin Mikolai (aka S Olbricht). While Catss’ A-side follows in an eclectic epic direction, incorporating elements of jungle, rave or breakbeat, the B-side sticks to a more forlorn abstract way.

Metal and noise musicians who make techno and dance/able electronics could fill a chapter of its own in the story of modern music, the latest addition to this macabre canon being the mysterious Slovak producer, BDY. ~

For more editions of Eastern Haze, click here

Eastern Haze: March 2014

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Mon 17 Mar 2014 10:25 am

Above: a detail from Ajukaja & Maria Minerva’s C U Again EP (Porridge Bullet)

In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the movements in and from the best of the Central and Eastern European sonic underground, distilling the best of her Easterndaze blog.

 

In January I participated in a radio discussion about Eastern European experimental music scenes, focusing on the many unsung heroes and, to a lesser extent, to their successors today. We were all from the East, spread across various generations: Hungary, Slovakia, East Germany, Poland, the Baltics. All of us somehow trying to come up with some semi-plausible ‘definition’ of what Eastern European music was, is and could be. It is of course easier to employ the archeological approach and place it in a context of an ideological struggle of a well-researched past, rather than try to capture the abstract and fluid development of today, when there are no clearly defined borders and such compelling stories behind it. The artists of today are plugged into a global reservoir; music has turned into a tool of a bona fide escapism rather than subversion of the status quo. It is harder to stand out nowadays in the sea of sound, without being automatically laden with mystique of being from the other, unknown, side of the Iron Curtain—but nonetheless it’s rewarding. In this column, the mission is actually the opposite, trying to capture some sort of “present”—at least some tiny slice of it—as a work in progress, untainted by the past or its dramatic narrative, just being in its purest essence.

Tesla Tapes is actually a UK-based label, though for the purposes of the aforementioned, we may hypothesize on its name taking cues from the eponymous Serbian inventor and arrive in Belgrade via Manchester. But anyway, more importantly, Tesla Tapes have released two noteworthy albums last week by artists from this side of the continent. Machine Woman is a nickname of the Russian music producer Anastasia Vtorova. Previously active in a project called Female Band, Vtorova subverts the still predominantly male-dominated world of lo-fi electronics with explicitly gendered project names. Pink Silk, the aptly entitled cassette, is an industrial merciless voyage, wrapped up in dark sticky velvet.

 

 

Another album from the latest batch of Tesla Tapes is a Prague-based ‘isolationist’ electronic duo Sister Body with ties to the local post-noise scene. In effect very similar to the above-mentioned release, Lucifer Efekt hovers in the liminal zones of consciousness, a psychotropic disco at the morgue. A man and a woman create a yearning dub-laced sonifesto for fallen angels and the likes.

 

 

Sound Sleep is a new nom de plume of a seasoned Eastern Slovakian producer mostly working under the name Dead Janitor. Shape is his new album on the Bratislava based Exitab label. Composed of two almost fifteen minute tracks, Shape unravels at a mellow pace, in the second part embracing beats and samples rich in sonics. It’s as similarly hypnotizing as the two aforementioned projects, lulling the hypervigilant into a state of hazy aural relaxation.

 

 

Last year, the Estonian label Porridge Bullet managed to excavate the wonderful Hypnosaurus (you can read more about this in an interview with the label here), an Estonian techno project active in the 1990s. But this label doesn’t only focus on reviving the old forgotten gems of the country’s electronic history; it is also firmly established in Estonia’s contemporary electronic dance scene, as its latest offering demonstrates. A collaboration between Porridge Bullet’s staple Ajukaja and the fellow Estonian Maria Minerva on vocals. Check their slightly off-kilter video. ~

 

 

For more editions of Eastern Haze, click here

Eastern Haze: February 2014

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Tue 18 Feb 2014 12:16 pm

In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the movements in and from the best of the Central and Eastern European sonic underground, distilling the best of her Easterndaze blog. 

 

“But many just try to focus on music, keeping away from the toxic ideology waste. Everyone struggles everyday, so what? Make music, don’t complain. I believe that most artists would prefer if their work was appreciated for its own merit, not thanks to the image of ‘dictatorship’s victims’ or ‘culturally isolated/handicapped folks who still try to do something.’” In an insightful article about the Belarusian underground scene, a musician, label-head and university lecturer Pavel Niakhayeu touched upon a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. How to separate the dirty, clammy hands of realpolitik from creativity—in this case, music. “I’m quite sad that this summary was filthed with political shit that we’ve been watching way too much in Bulgaria anyway. I’d replace it with a lot of movement in the ambient / experimental / noise scene here in Bulgaria,” another comment sums up the general attitude and weariness from the constant politicization of the life here in the East. But sometimes it’s just hard to avoid completely. By the way, talking about Ukraine, a new music compilation aims to raise awareness of the status quo in its home country and raise funds for organizations which are supporting independent media and protesters.

Out of Pavel’s overview of contemporary electronic music from Belarus—the one that shies away from being associated with “the ideology toxic waste” and that still remains largely unknown in the West and also East, for that matter—a few projects have caught my attention. For instance, the netlabel Haze with an impressive portfolio of 200 releases under its belt, focusing on experimental electronics. One of its releases is dedicated to the great figures of 20th century literature, from the perennially relevant Kafka to Joyce or Woolf. The concept might sound a little twee, but the music makes a confident statement.

 


[HAZE232] Aortha’s Chronotope

 

Love Cult meets Druss, a (sonic) match made in heaven. The duo from Petrozavodsk has caught up with Manchester’s techno shamanists Gnod—or rather the solo project of one of its members, Druss—for a split on the always excellent Irish label Trensmat. The artistic interaction bears the footprints of both of the originators: an ethereal melange of yearning vocals and ominous soundscapes spiced up with relentless drum machine—courtesy of Druss, I suppose. Love Cult Take Druss is out in March.

 

 

Another noteworthy new release that is due out very soon on the German SicSic Tapes comes from Budapest, of which I have written about numerous times in the last year in this column. Martin Mikolai—the fledgling producer, and the Farbwechsel label owner, with a release on Opal Tapes under his S Olbricht moniker and a lot more to come this year—has teamed up with his friends and fellow musicians Alpár (who is Farbwechsel’s other half Bálint Zalkai) and the relative newcomer Carla Under Water. Alpár’s trademark kosmische vintage electronics dominates one side and a darker, more guttural undercurrent emerges on the other, courtesy of the aformentioned Mikolai on electronics and Carla Under Water on vocals.

 

 

And last, but not least, as they say, is, well, Dunno, a brand new Polish imprint with a fairly apt name for today’s times, injected with an adequate dose of nonchalance and wrapped up in an air of coolness. Deservedly so, in this case. Focusing on nonlinear dance music, Dunno’s roster features seasoned musicians like Piotr Kurek, renowned for his acclaimed Heat album on Foxy Digitalis, as well as modular techno maverick Wilhelm Bras. ~

 

 

You can read previous editions of Eastern Haze here.

Daniel Kordík’s [Sy][ria]

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Fri 31 Jan 2014 6:30 am

An aural assemblage of field recordings from various locations across Syria, made in April and May 2011, when the army started to fight against the demonstrations in the course of arab spring. The composition is a great example of suspense and orchestration of ready-made sounds.

Syria

Field recordings have been used and abused in music and sonic art forever, but it’s the method of processing and juxtaposition, which causes the effect. Syria is by default a rewarding sonic source for any zealous field recorder, buzzing with sounds and boasting with an enviable musical history. Syrian dabke, has reached global underground stardom thanks to Omar Souleyman. Daniel Kordík, one half of the Slovak hardware electronics noodle duo Jamka, has delivered an aural assemblage of his recordings made in 2011.

[Sy][ria] consists of 5 compositions based mainly on sound from field recordings made between April and May 2011 on various locations across Syria. These include Damascus, Maaloula, «Road 90» to Palmyra, Deir ez-Zur, Aleppo and Hama and their surrounding areas. Due to security reasons when the government forces were trying to suppress the start of the uprising, I used only my Sony portable minidisc recorder with its internal microphone.

The album is a haunting memento to what eventually happened in Syria. A country ravaged by unrest and political upheaval. This sense of tension and disembodied anticipation and sounds, is translated onto Kordík’s record, some parts of the first track sounding as if they could be Pharmakon’s intro.

Based on the ongoing events in Syria that would eventually break the country down into pieces, I cut my initial field recordings into small fragments and re-arranged them into new compositions. At the end I decided to add two more tracks made on Vostok.

Francisco López, the doyen of field recording, championed «transcendental listening», and this record is, in-itself, a great example of suspense and orchestration of ready-made sounds, with or without knowing the context and origin of the sounds.

Money collected from the downloads will be used to help people who had to flee Syria due to the ongoing civil war. There are currently over 1 million children who are refugees of Syria with no schools to go to. I hope that this recording can generate some money for these children, so they do not become «a lost generation».

All received money will be donated to AVAAZ.

kordik

This article was first published at Easterndaze.net.

Eastern Haze: December 2013

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Tue 17 Dec 2013 9:38 am

In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the movements in and from the best of the Central and Eastern European sonic underground, distilling the best of her Easterndaze blog. Main image: “Untitled (unpredicteble future)” (2004) by Mircea Cantor—photo taken by Lucia Udvardyova at the MNAC, Bucharest.

 

It’s Saturday night. I’m tagging along with a bunch of Moldavians through the periphery of downtown Bucharest passing chaotic traffic, horns, flamboyant Las Vegas-style Christmas street decorations, eclectic architecture that defies any categorization and well-dressed passers-by—an amalgam that is one of the last havens of self-contained anarchy in Europe. As I rush via Piata Universităţii, the square loaded with meaning where most of the protests and demonstrations usually take place, including the 1989 one, I talk to protesters who gather in the freezing cold to voice their support of farmers fighting a corporation in a bid to save their environment. I’m a bit hungover from last night; I went to see the post-punk stalwarts Soft Moon supported by local EBM-inflected act with a rather suggestive German name, Tanz Ohne Musik. I’m still not sure whether I liked either of the gigs.

 

 

During the week, I visited the flat/studio of the guys from Future Nuggets located in the old town which, strangely, looks like Potemkin village. Future Nuggets is a collective, label, cross-pollinary music project and a group of sonic enthusiasts who, a couple of years ago, rediscovered the Romanian psych electronic rock project Rodion. Coincidentally, I also get to meet them too as they’d just returned from Moscow. Rodion Ladislau Rosca is an affable man in his sixties, with whom I speak Hungarian. We sit on the couch, they talk animatedly, and in spite of the several generations that divide them, there is a mutual respect and camaraderie that binds them. He tells me about the love for his mother and the trauma that her death—just few months ahead of the execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu—caused. He, in effect, became disinterested in music for more than two decades, leading a modest life in a Transylvanian village. There is a new documentary about Rodion, which is due out next year.

 

 

Future Nuggets’ members, apart from playing in Rodion’s newly reformed band, have a band called Steaua De Mare, a hypnagogic instrumental project that delves deeper into the recesses of Romanian collective and personal history, “flirting with progessive-manele and other international and outernational crossbreeds.” They also have various side projects, for instance the amazing Plevna. The collective stands out as it doesn’t shy away from recontextualising their own musical heritage—such as manele—and placing it within a modern context. One of the members of the group, Andrei Dinescu, who looks like a young Todd Rundgren and whose father is a famous Romanian poet, has played with a prison band, for instance.

 

 

Manele is a Romanian music style largely performed by highly skilled musicians, lăutari, from the local Roma community, which in the past would have been denigrated for its “lowbrow-ness”. Gradually, the downtown youth has fallen in love with the music their parents loved to hate, dancing to it in dingy basements and listening to it on YouTube while the music itself has mutated and embraced electronics. Manele was previously unofficially prohibited from the public realm, banned from the radio and basically relegated to weddings and restaurants where you have to book a table in order to hear it. I talk to Adrian Schiop, a writer who has just published a fly-on-the-wall autobiographical novel about a love affair between an ex-con and a scholar set in one of Bucharest’s most deprived areas, the Ferentari. He also did a PhD on manele and happened to YouTube-DJ at the aforementioned basement, with the indisputable king of the genre, the amazing Florin Salam, on heavy rotation. Schiop considers manele one of the most authentic musical movements to emerge in Romania, being much more authentic than, say Romanian hip-hop, which can be perceived as one of the symbols of the “self-colonisation” of Romanians, avidly adopting Western models of modus operandi without critical reflection.

 

 

I also get to hang out with my friend Gili Mocanu of Somnoroase Pasarele, a painter and a musician who has a studio in the Lizeanu district. An epitome of post-communist dystopia, Lizeanu is an area where the old and the new worlds come together and collide. Uniform concrete block estates where hustlers, junkies and enterpreneurs of various kinds abound. As Gili plays me his haunting rework of Ceausescu’s last speech, the electricity in the whole block eerily goes off, and on again, and off.

 

 

The Romanian capital remains elusive and somehow subliminally claustrophobic, like the music of Iancu Dumitrescu, a doyen of Romanian avantgarde composition, whom I don’t get to meet. In a way, Dumitrescu’s legacy looms large, mostly abroad, but Gili’s music, in some liminal way, is a continuation of this aesthetics.

 

 

Rochite’s music, then, embodies Bucharest. It’s inane, playful and utterly lovable.

 

 

I spend most of my days roaming the streets, hanging out with strangers and recording in order to capture the moment, the transition, the fissures and seams, and hoping that they won’t evaporate in a bid to instill “normalcy”. ~

 

As part of a programme courtesy of the Romanian Cultural Institute, Bucharest. You can read previous editions of Eastern Haze here.

Eastern Haze: November

Delivered... Lucia Udvardyova | Scene | Sat 1 Dec 2012 12:01 am

 

November embodies melancholia, that’s a given. I continue my homeless, nomadic existence, a wannabe-sailor whose playground isn’t the deep blue sea but chaotic urban mazes. At the moment I’m stationed in Budapest, a city that basks in its golden Austro-Hungarian past with its grand boulevards and derelict inner city townhouses, inviting you to dine at places like “Hungarian Memories” or the “Nosztalgia Étterem”. It drowns me in sentimentality and sadness for phantom recollections of experiences I’ve never had. As I write this, I’m delving deeper into the elusive sounds of Mangrove Mangrave, whose album just came out on Mik Musik!, a label I cannot stop extolling in this column. Dark without the need to flaunt it, subtly harrowing, but utterly groovy and compelling.

 

Another favored Polish imprint, the cassette label Sangoplasmo, excels at bringing out hypnotic, psychedelic compositions. Suaves Figures is a collaboration between Piotr Kurek, whose previous album Heat was released by Foxy Digitalis, and Sylvia Monnier. The Warsaw-Lyon connection has spawned a synth-heavy kosmische creation, out for your listening pleasure alongside Lutto Lento – aka Sangoplasmo boss Lubomir Adam Grzelak, and The Phantom‘s latest offerings.

 

Budapest-based synth duo SILF, composed of music student Martin Mikolai and Bálint Zelkei, are perhaps an odd inclusion considering their apparently bon vivant music, but only at first listen. The inherent addictively languid “opium house” has nostalgia emanating from their vintage gear. Those who know Mikolai’s solo project Stefan Olbricht and his imprint Farbwechsel will see similarities in SILF. Catch them live on December 11 supporting Led Er Est in Budapest.

 

Aches is a British Bratislava transplant whose latest EP Easy Ghost, out on the Slovak label Exitabin sync at least verbally with this month’s sonic “theme”—features a remix by Glasgow’s Dam Mantle, and the plaintive, bass-heavy Ink Midget rendition. This fresh-faced Slovak producer has just released his own debut album Re-Leave on the aforementioned imprint.

 

Interested in more obscure and exciting music from Eastern Europe? Head to Easterndaze.

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