The last few years were quite good for the electronic music world and again in 2019 there was a lot a quality music coming out and revitalization of electro, broken beat, new beat and EBM continued. Looking at the situation locally, unfortunately 2019 feels like a step back for the Romanian scene after three years of growth and development. The three pillars of the Romanian electronic music are the same Borusiade, Cosmin TRG and Khidja and very little besides them.
In terms of events the offer is still decent. In Cluj the Vitamine crew, formed by French students, is the most active. They invited in various clubs in the city Chaos in the CBD, Innershades, Jonny Rock, Masalo, Max Abysmal and many others. Also in Cluj, a very new concept is Pressure Nights, a series of events in industrial venues with a well balanced line-up, bringing together local and national talent, foreign quests and female artists. Unfortunately our favorite club in Cluj, Gazette, closed its doors this year. We had great fun every time we were there and last year we organized there two events with Joshua Cordova and Pasiphae.
Cluj is also the home of Waves With No Ends, a concept that for the last 5 years promoted coldwave, post-punk, synthwave, minimal synth and early industrial & EBM. They invited artists like The Soft Moon, Cold Cave, Varsovie or Phase Fatale.
In Timișoara things are starting to move more and more, also in conjunction with the fact that the city will be European Capital of Culture in 2021. Last year there were two interesting festivals in the city. In the city park there was Launmomentdat in parc with Cosmo Vitelli, Djedjotronic, Raphael Top-Secret, Sassy J and Zaltan and in September Sabotage Festival with Identified Patient and Stallion’s Stud.
Bucharest is still the epicenter of the Romanian dancing scene, with Control Club providing most of the action Answer Code Request, Helena Hauff, Beau Wanzer, Steffi, Massimiliano Pagliara and many more. Unfortunately, they did not continue with the Automata Festival, after the promising first edition of 2018. During the summer Platforma Wolf is the hot spot in town with guests like Jamie Tiller, Tornado Wallace or Esa. The end of the year brought some events worth mentioning – Erika at Motiv, Reedale Rise at Eden and Lena Willikens at Guesthouse. Kran is a catchy promoter in Bucharest, mostly focusing on promoting the local artists, but also bringing names like DJ Stingray, Black Seed or Sansibar. There is a rumor going on, for some time now, that they will open a club, maybe this will be the big year.
Going back to the music produced by Romanians, for me the Khidja duo is still the best that the Romanian electronic scene can offer now.
Last year, they went touring Europe and North America and we were luckyto catch them live at Dekmantel Selectors. Below is their recording from Tisno. The guys rocked the place and the chilling rain made it even more memorable.
Regarding their own production, they had a few remixes for MR TC, NIV AST, Cooper Saver, the second appearance on Hivern Discs with a split EP with John Talabot, but the most interesting one is their debut EP for DFA, a inner city insomnia.
For Borusiade 2019 sealed the connection with Rotterdam based label Pinkman. In Spring, she featured, in a very selective company, on a various artists EP and in Autumn she made her solo debut for Pinkman’s sublabel Broken Dreams.
Also last year she managed to get her live act together and below is her hybrid audio-visual show recorded at Europalia last December. This includes tracks from her second album, coming out soon courtesy of Dark Entries.
Besides this, she was busy paying her music all around Europe and had an Australian tour.
Cosmin TRG has focused more on his ambient and experimental stuff, releasing an album on his Fizic label and an EP for Japanese label Protection. With his Com Sin alias, he has a track on Sound of Vast 5 years compilation and one on Intergraded label. For the dance floor side, he released an EP on his Sportiv label.
Regarding his DJing, I feel he got more mature, he has less gigs than in the past, but more quality. He is playing mostly in Berlin, lining up in one year all the best clubs in the city, Tresor, Panorama Bar, Griessmuhle, ://about blank, but also in Fabric (UK) and a couple of gigs in Italy.
They are getting more play time, mostly in Bucharest, but also around Romania, and at the end of last year they had the occasion to play in one of the most famous clubs in Belgium, Fuse.
DYL is Eduard Costea a young producer / DJ from the small city of Deva in Transylvania. He started as a drum & bass DJ, but slowly he shifted towards more calmer rhythms and experimental sounds, though keeping an affinity for heavy bass lines. At the beginning of last year he released ‘Sonder‘ his second album, a dark ambient, dystopic sound journey in the Raster/Noton style.
At the end of this month he will release a new EP on Detach Recordings, featuring collaboration works with Senking from Raster/Noton and DB1 from Hidden Hawaii. DYL was not too busy DJing around, playing at just a few events with the D&B crew Nomad Audio from Timișoara.
Articulat is Ovidiu Stanciu, a Romanian DJ and electronic music producer based in Rotterdam, affiliated to Afrobot’s label AM (Afrobotic Musicology). Ovidiu is storytelling through rhythm, grit and texture, intoxicating experimental electronics and slow grooves, inspired by Romanian folklore.
Last year he appeared with a track on an AM various artists and had his second solo release for the AM label. Articulat is playing regularly at the Operator Radio and around Rotterdam. Hopefully we will get to see him also in Romania.
These were the Romanian producers who made a difference for me in 2019. It’s less than in the previous years, but still some good music and I’m looking forward to see what will come out this year. There are talented artists who I hope will come with some serious stuff.
Rodion Ladislau Roșca aka Rodion G.A. is nicknamed the ‘father of electronic music in Romania’ and for good reasons. Clandestine and underappreciated during the communist dictatorship years, Rodion created a hybrid of electronic music, psychedelics and progressive rock that, decades later, has revealed itself to be remarkably ahead of its time. His pioneering experiments in electronic music, in the ’70s and early ’80s in the communist Romania, are being rediscovered after more than 20 years.
After decades of obscurity, Rodion’s music is finally getting the recognition it deserves. In the last six years he had three albums released and he has loads of material for a new album, but he is looking for a label to release his stuff.
Unfortunately Rodion is not in the best of health, he has liver cancer and hepatitis C & D. The treatment is extremely expensive. He would need a liver transplant which costs 70.000 GBP. Of course he could never cover that because he doesn’t have any steady income, so any donation is a new breath of air. There is a fundraiser for him.
Kosmogonik, the duo composed from Bogdan Ardelenu from Lisière Collectif and FILIPP, has a few live shows in Bucharest and they also added a couple of tracks on their youtube channel, so I hope to see their stuff released in the future.
In the past years Andrew Red Hand has released on some serious labels like M>O>S Recordings, Detroit Underground, Lobster Theremin or Chiwax, but in 2019 he had no new output. He had a few gigs in Romanian and played in London, Poland and at Krake Festival in Berlin. Andrew is one of the most gifted DJ we have in Romania and I would like to see him playing more, but unfortunately he is not managing to really break the ice.
Romansoff is one of the most talented Romanian producers, but in the last two years he was a bit quiet, with just one EP at the beginning of 2018. His label Raw Tools also remained dry for the last 2 years. Otherwise, he was busy playing at Platforma Wolff, where he is a resident, at various location in Bucharest and around Romania.
Other producers who made a good impression to me in the previous years, but without any outputting last year, are The Holy Fix aka Camil Dumitrescu, the main man behind the P-Balans label, and Șerb aka Șerban Ilicevici from Listen2Me label.
Next I will present some Romanian DJs that deserve our attention.
Aleksa Alaska soundcloud / facebook / RA
Aleksa is the perfect example for a glittering DJ carrier. She started recording mixes at home 4 years ago, then she got a monthly show on Noods Radio and soon after she stepped into the DJ booth. She is very passionate and professional and has received invites mostly from outside of Romania, from France to Germany or Finland. In 2019 she joined the Voyage Select booking agency, moved to Berlin and became a Sameheads resident. So, the future looks bright for her.
Bogdan Orbita soundcloud
Bogdan is one of the underdogs of the local scene in Bucharest, a curators of rarities and B-sides. Lately, he got more exposure and he also got the chance of playing outside the country, at arkaoda in Berlin.
Chlorys soundcloud / facebook / RA
Chlorys is a DJ & visual artist from Bucharest connected with Corp., a project that aims to showcase female-identified artists in electronic music. From 2018 she hosts Alien Flora, a monthly show on Noods Radio, and she started playing regularly in Bucharest and abroad in Berlin, London, Lyon or Paris.
Lektronikumuz aka Remus Miron soundcould / facebook / RA
Remus is a veteran of the Romanian music scene, spinning records at the first raves in the 90’s and now in the studio of the National Television channel. Totally devoted to music, Remus might have the most extended and valuable vinyl collection in Romania. Playing exclusive vinyl and tape & reel, in the last few years he distanced himself from the club world and focused more on rare and obscure jazz, funk and rock, playing at alternative festivals around the country, but, if you are lucky to catch him playing, it is a treat to get to see his turntablism on three decks.
Marius Georgescu soundcloud / facebook / RA
Marius is a true music freak and his passion is digging for music. This can be seen best on his plenteous youtube channel where he fosters oddities and obscurities. Last year he played just a few gigs in Romania, but traveled to Aston Bar (Athens), Breakfast (Tel-Aviv), La Rotonde Stalingrad (Paris), Macao (Milano), Sameheads and arkaoda in Berlin, so it’s no wonder he just made the move to Berlin in search for fame.
Even-though he lives in Bucharest, I discovered Virgil last summer through the collective that organize Launmomentdat in Timișoara. He has a good taste in music, so I hope to see him play more often.
Other players that need to be mentioned are the veteran Bogman; dannilov, vinyl spinner and the owner of by now defunct Gazette in Cluj; Dragoș Rusu coordonator of The Attic Magazine and Outernational Days festival; Scoro, an experimentalist and obscure performer; Yaghee, vinyl player with a good taste in music.