2020 was a tough year for almost everyone and definitely a year to forget for our scene. Events and gigs canceled, venues closed, artists lacking a way to earn a decent living and club culture facing a threat like never before. Without the interaction on the dancefloor all this seems pointless, but we have to stay resilient and hope for the better.
Looking at the local scene in Romania, during these times of hardship with movement restriction and curfew for almost the entire part of the year, with people fears and anxiety, there was almost to nothing happening in terms of events. But, the Romanian artists proved to be fairly active in the studio. We have here a summary of releases from Romanian artists that caught our attention in 2020 and a sneakpeek in what’s to come in the first part of 2021.
A lot of music came last year from the Lisière Collectif members and associates. The Lisière Collectif trio returned with their, already traditional, annual release on their own label LSR. The trio, Andu Simion, Bogdan Ardeleanu and Dan Gheorghe, proposed a collection of three original tracks, the first two a mix of deep house, electro with a trace of Detroit and acid flavors, while the B-side is oriented more towards the ro-minimal style.
Bogdan’s side project with FILIPP, Kosmogonik, had it’s first tracks released this year. The first is on a charity compilation, A Safe Place – Gathering the Underground for Good.
A second one came out on Sushitech, on the 4th part of Yossi Amoyal’s compilation Fluere. I hope to see more from this project in the future.
And talking about FILIPP, he made also his solo debut as a producer in 2020. His debut release “Stuffz” came on Swiftness, a new label from Bucharest, and the second release, “Miletus“, followed very soon on Geodesic, another new label from Bucharest. The EPs feature a spacey house sound, not so far away from the Kosmogonik project.
Bogdan had also a solo release on the German label Fun Records, under his moniler ardb. Very soon he will sign the third Swiftness release.
Articulat aka Ovidiu Stanciu is based in Rotterdam, but maintains a spiritual connection with his Romanian cultural heritage. He gets inspired from his heritage, be it film, dance or musical instruments, and creates rhythm and electronic experiments inspired by Romanian folklore. He is an affiliate to Afrobotic Musicology, Afrobot’s label, where he has several contributions and very soon he will release his third EP for the label. “Folclor Abstract” is a glance back to the roots in search of a meaningful future.
Eduard Costea aka DYL had a busy year with two new albums under his belt and a collaborative release on Detach Recordings, featuring collabworks with Senking from Raster/Noton and DB1 from Hidden Hawaii.
After that collaborative album, DYL continued the good musical understanding with DB1 and they released mid year the album “Ecou” on re:st. At the end of the year his third solo album saw the light of day on Diffuse Reality.
Virgil had his first track released last year by the relatively new label Ondes HXCX from Bucharest. During this year with restrictions an almost no events, we where fortunate enough to attend Launmomentdat în curte, in the last Autumn’s sunny weekend in Timișoara, where Virgil’s set was the highlight for us. Looking forward to hear him again.
On the same compilation, Ondes HXCX brought together a selection of emerging, as well as more established artists from Romania, including Khidja.
Talking about Khidja, they had a quieter year with just a couple of remixes for Emotional Rescue and a track on Ondes HXCX, which I already mentioned.
Besides this, they had a hand string of appearances on HÖR Berlin.
For 2021, the duo from Bucharest has already line-up two killer tracks, an edit/dub on Duca Bianco and a remix on the inaugural Avidya release.
Borusiade‘s second album came last year on Dark Entries. Entitled “Fortunate Isolation“, is perhaps Borusiade’s most personal release to date. Eight songs that capture a bystander witnessing the world as it undergoes drastic changes. The album’s sound is gloomy and powerful mixing sonic film sequences, rhythmic excursions and soothing yet obsessive vocals that touch one’s deepest senses. Lyrically the songs tackle themes of forgotten memories, spirituality, mortality, and destruction. I think the beginning of 2020 was the perfect time for this album to surface.
Two months in the new year and news of her new EP are out. “Purge“, the new EP for Tripalium Corp, is about heart-break in forced isolation, when the only way to stay sane is purging through music and lyrics. The five tracks are talking about of one’s coping systems in extreme emotional situations, hope and power to move on and last but not least, learned lessons and empowerment.
This is her mix for DICE Digital Festival Digital, an epic journey through industrial, to baroque, to new wave, crafting a truly unique soundscape.
Cosmin TRG followed his path on the ambient and experimental sound exploration with two new EPs on his own label Fizic, “Remote” and “Protoflora“.
The new year brings already appearances on two compilation, one on Dusk & Haze and one on BPitch and a remix for a 1994 classic by Continental.
Adda Kaleh is the alias used by Romanian artist and choreographer Alexandra Pirici and AKSK is her collaborative effort with Suzanne Kraft. They released last summer an synth-pop album on Gerd Janson label, Running Back.
Alina Kalancea is a Romanian sound artist and composer based in Modena, Italy. She has studied sound design and synthesis with Enrico Cossimi and collaborated with producer Alex Gamez, and artists Julia Kent and Raven Bush. Her second album, “Impedance“, just camed out a few days ago and contains powerful rhythmic sequences, heart beating frequencies and hypnotic loops that are paradoxically encapsulated in carefully crafted compositions which are full of secret passages and hidden doors. Kalancea’s work creates ungraspable sonic experiences, which take us over, immersing us in powerful and mind altering soundscapes.
After two years of silence, Romansoff returned with a track on the Les Yeux Orange’s digital compilation “Driving Blind”. Hopefully we will get to hear more from him in the future.
Șerb from Listen2Me label will release very soon a dubby track on Night Defined Recordings.
Andrew Red Hand self released some remixes and old original tracks on his bandcamp page. Here is a mix he did for the podcast series of the ZeeZout festival from Amsterdam.
Also, a special mention to other artists which we consider that have a voice that needs to be heard; Absolem and the Vitamine crew from Cluj, Bogdan Orbita organizer of the Paradis Paradis vinyl fair, Chlorys from Alien Flora radio show on Noods Radio, Danilov the former owner of now sadly closed Gazette club in Cluj, Dragoș Rusu coordonator of The Attic Magazine and Outernational Days festival, Lektronikumuz a veteran of the Romanian electronic scene, collector and a genuine music lover, Marius Georgescu a music freak always on the look for oddities and obscurities, Scoro an experimentalist and obscure performer, Seme from the Storyboard party night in Cluj, Yaghee a vinyl player with a good taste in music.
I also want to give a shout out to the peeps from Timișoara working hard to deliver each year Launmomentdat and Sabotage Festival, and the guys from Cluj behind Pressure Nights.
2021 will not be an easy year, but hopefully will be better than 2020. I hope norms will be put in place so we can once again meet on the dancefloor in an safe and healthy environment.