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.
2019 is coming to the end so it’s that time of the year when we look back and see what caught our attention the most. As the tradition is on our side, we look first at the preferences of our readers and this is a top 3 of the most appreciated albums, compilations, mixes and other stuff.
Here are some recordings from this year’s Dekmantel Selectors festival.
The highlights for us were Mick Wills, who opened the festival for us on Thursday, Solar, who we are really happy to finally hear live for the first time and the b2b between Intergalactic Gary & Pasiphae which marked the closing of festival for us on Monday. Another premiere for us was listening for the first time live the Romanian duo Khidja. They really rocked the place and the chilling rain made it even more memorable. Also Rabih Beaini‘s three hours ritualistic performance at sunset was one of the best performances from the festival.
One of the highlights of the festival was the IFM Boat Party with Identified Patient & Pasiphae, Intergalactic Gary. There is a special vibe on these boat parties and IFM one was one of the best so far. Unfortunately there are no recordings from this party, yet.
Dekmantel Selectors is now over, we are back to our usual life, or we are trying to, but the vibe of the festival is still buzzing through our vines. The turquoise waters of Tisno, the shade from the pine forest, the rocky coastline, the incredible sound of the cicadas that is worth of a representation in one of Rabih Beaini’s mesmerizing ritualistic performances, the music that was filling every space, will stay with us for days.
Dekmantel Selectors is an intimate festival, limited to a capacity of 2000, to keep the vibe pure throughout the whole week and this can be seen once you get to the bay from The Garden, next to the small fishing village of Tisno.
Biologic Records welcomes Cooper Saver to the label with two stunning remixes from Khidja and Abstraxion.
The new installment of the Hivern split series features John Talabot and Khidja. Both tracks have slowish tempos, are built around obsessive motifs and make an outlandish use of delays. An unsettling and menacing atmosphere, fruit of masterful exercises on tension building, that seems tailored for those early moments in a set when you feel the need to rise the pressure without causing too much of a blast. These tracks are prime examples that’s there’s space for functional tracks away from the most obvious paths. And that’s the ultimate purpose of the series.
Romanian production duo Khidja present their first EP for DFA. With four tracks of inner city insomnia, The Middle Of The Night soundtracks the realm between being half awake and asleep. With jagged and pulsating synths and dubbed out howling vocals, we are left disorientated in the underground tunnels that connect the clubs of Bucharest, London, and Berlin. Summoning the spirits of Kraftwerk and John Carpenter, they cast a spell on the dancefloor that is a perfect addition to the ever-evolving DFA roster.
Romanian duo Khidja brought a bag full of trippy, oddball selections as they opened the final day of the RA Front Yard at last year’s Flow Festival in Helsinki.
The Hard Fist label notches up release number five from Mr TC, with remixes from Lokier and Khidja. At the forefront of the Glaswegian music scene, Mr TC moves through genres from new wave to post punk, industrial, disco and tropical oddities. He plays mesmeric live shows with synths, drum machines and guitars. This EP takes you to the void of space, seeking freedom from moral prohibitions and standards, refuge from sexual and gender prejudice, exile from oppression, and aims to rupture aesthetic boundaries.
For their sixth release London based record label and clubnight Snap, Crackle & Pop return with another slice of the post punk and kraut influenced electro/techno sounds that are coming to define the label. The latest release comes from Niv Ast and it serves as a follow up to his appearance on this summers Relish compilation. The EP leads with an ice cold slab of post punk swagger in the form of Quebec / Makolet which gets the remix treatment from previous collaborators Khidja, the Romanian duo strip the percussion back for the dancefloor and tease out the track’s darker side with more than a hint of acidic malevolence. For the B-Side Disco Monroe offers a nostalgic slice of pitched down French Electro undoubtedly influence by the Djs recent residencies in Paris. Optimo Music’s Mr TC rounds off the EP with his unmistakably left field vision to give the track a dark tropical re-imagining.
After a good 2017 in electronic music, the trend continued in 2018 with more electro, broken beat, new beat, industrial and EBM, with new artists jumping on this train, so I’m curious where this will go in 2019.
On the local scene, in Romania, things are evolving in a slightly slower pace, but still in a good direction.
Limited edition package of HVN039 Khidja – ‘Impossible Holiday’. Aufgang B, Lena Willikens and John Talabot rework their favorite tracks of the EP.
Compiled by soFa, the second installment in this recent series ties together eighteen artists, each venturing down their own musical path, to produce an audio atlas that transverses not only styles but also cultures and continents. Disparate musicians come from far and wide have been brought together across two slabs of beautifully mastered vinyl and, somehow, someway, found a jittering, skittering and juddering balance. Tracks from Puma & Dolphin and Khidja conjure up images of thick jungle scenes as tribal rhythm patterns hypnotise and mesmerise alongside shamanic samples. The heady exotic aromas and tactile textures of the East are on display with Zatua traipsing through baked dunes and deserts before arriving to the shamanic organized chaos that is Bear Bones, Lay Low. Darker moods loom and lurk, skulking in the alleys of Konsistent or in T-woc’s lurid tones. These duskier elements are countered by the brightness of Velvet C’s future disco sounds or the laser synthwork of Rony & Suzy. The buzzing Chicago inspired sounds of Weird Dust, the dawning pulses of Twoonky and the triumphal charges of Föhn blur the lines between mystical places and the cruel reality of the modern world.