The Romanian label Stomping Grounds is putting together their first split EP. The release shareds graciously between Romanian duo Heerd and Irelands Noah Skelton. Starting off with the acid-edged peak timer “Hellrot”, going through the atmospheric depth and hypnoticism of “Kamaals Groove” and “Persistence”, the EP is neatly finished with a healthy “Balance” of rolling hats and percussion.
Have you ever wondered what King Crimson or Emerson, Lake & Palmer would have sounded like, had they originated from behind the Iron Curtain?
This may sound like the usual hype promoters write to draw attention, but click on the audio files from this album’s track-list and listen closely. “Amintiri din viitor” [Memories from the Future] will take you back to a time when progressive music was truly forward looking, experimental, and original. The band Experimental Q was formed in the early 1970s, by a group of music students from the Gheorghe Dima Conservatory, in Cluj (Romania). Eugen Tunaru (keyboards), Valentin Farcaș (guitar), Nicolae Bucaciuc (bass), and Nicolae Delioran (drums) were joined by Gheorghe Marcovici (flute), and this line-up recorded a series of songs and compositions for radio and TV, without ever releasing any album on Electrecord, the sole record company in Romania at that time.
Their music was mostly instrumental and featured titles that touched upon intergalactic, or art themes. The band members may have been music students, but while their education was classical, their inspiration drew from pop music’s avantgarde. Prog and jazz-rock fans might find influences and echoes of bands that were carving out new paths in the unexplored music jungle of the late 1960s and early 1970s: King Crimson, The Nice, Jethro Tull, ELP, VDGG. After a few listens, however, it will dawn upon the listener that this music was more than just an East European response to the Western hype of the day. Facing the prejudice of their professors, the skepticism of some of their peers, as well as the numerous material drawbacks and technological limitations, Experimental Q improvised not only musically. In the end, they made their own instruments and adapted what they could get their hands on, to create some of the most intriguing music made on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain.
“Amintiri din viitor” opens the first chapter in this still untold story of one of Romania’s best hidden music secrets. With the approval of and collaboration from the remaining band members, this project features restored and remastered audio, original artwork, as well as an in-depth essay about the band and its musical output in the socialist historical context, with exclusive photos and memorabilia.
This project is curated by Claudiu Oancea (artwork, liner notes), Adrian Matala (co-producer) and Remus Miron (restored, remastered audio and producer).
Inspired from Romanian cultural heritage, be it film, dance or musical instruments, Folclor Abstract is a glance back to the roots in search of a meaningful future. The first track is inspired from the soundtrack composed by Cornelia Tăutu for the Romanian historical adventure film “Buzduganul cu trei peceți” (1977). The film presents a politicized version of the events that led in 1600 to the unification of the three Romanian countries, in the aftermath of a victorious battle against the Ottoman invasion (Călugăreni, 1595). Dance your way through as the story unfolds. Dans cu balans is the result of a personal fascination for the cimbalom, an instrument of high versatility, frequently used in the Romanian fiddle music. In contrast to orchestral performances, which adhere to the composer’s notes to reproduce a work faithfully, fiddling is also open to improvisation and tends to produce rhythms that focus on dancing, with associated quick note changes. Searching for inspiration within Romanian folklore, I found Ivan Braga who was on his own pursuit of cultural heritage, experimenting with a variety of traditional instruments and rhythms from different regions of the country. Doba lu’ Braga is Ivan’s modern take on Romanian drum patterns performed on a traditional Moldavian drum (dobă) with an uplifting twist and arrangement for the dancefloor experience. Reverie is an expression of the creator’s state of mind. Lost in thought, stolen by imagination, haunted by memories, liberated by dreams
Romanian producer and DJ Miruna Boruzescu aka Borusiade knows how to create ethereal tracks, somewhere between post-wave, techno and industrial vibes. “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. From the 80s synth of “Let Go” to the experimental ten-minutes-trip “Haunted Evolution”, these 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.
Alina Kalancea’s Impedance is an entirely instrumental album spanning four sides, 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 overtakes you, immersing its listeners in powerful and mind-altering soundscapes. There’s no quick payoff on Impedance. This is the sound of new, patient electronic music, full of depth and substance. 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.
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.
The second release on Ondes HXCX brings together a selection of emerging, as well as more established artists from Romania. The tape presents a collage of all the tracks brought together via an array of sound-pieces which act as binding interludes.
AKSK is the collaborative effort of Adda Kaleh and Suzanne Kraft. Recorded over the course of almost seven years and despite local separation or virtual realities, it sums up the magic that already inhered in their debut song „Breaking“ for Gerd Janson’s „Musik for Autobahns“ compilation on Rush Hour. An eight track LP of crystalline chansons and pastels pop that features the skills of The Coober Pedy University Band aka CPUB (Tornado Wallace and William Paxton) on dub duties to complete the magical musical mysteries of AKSK.
DYL+ DB1 successfully fuses experimental D&B, half-step and techno tropes. Here they re-establish their occasional studio partnership with a first collaborative full-length. It’s a pleasingly atmospheric and imaginative affair, with the pair offering up tracks that variously mix and match elements of unearthly ambient, off-kilter drum and bass, broken techno, murky post-dubstep rhythms, experimental electronica, the metallic clonk of industrial and the hazy hypnotism of dub techno. Musically it’s hard to pin down due to the wide variety of interestingly programmed rhythms, though the album’s uniformly paranoid sense of impending darkness, coupled with occasional glimpses of musical positivity, ensures a coherent aural vision.
FILIPP (co-founder of kosmogonik) appers on the Geodesic series with his epic EP “Miletus”. Miletus, the ancient city of Ionia, was FILIPP’s source of inspiration for this musical épos. Having been the place of birth for 3 great thinkers of the Presocratic era (Thales, Anaximenes & Anaximander), Miletus symbolizes both the origin of thought & the birth of the universe. The Milesians placed great importance on natural elements like water, fire or air in their cosmogonies, elements that were depicted very well in FILIPP’s choice of sounds on this release.
Uniformity of Nature, the second release on Prague based Detach Recordings, marks an exciting collaboration between Romanian producer DYL, Senking from Raster/Noton and DB1 from Hidden Hawaii. DYL pushes the bounderies of his sound beyond his 170 roots, with the powerful electronics of ‘Phrases’ and the electrifying team-up with Senking on ‘Destroyed City Lights’. Two tracks see DYL in the more familiar peripheries of D&B. The percussive ‘Words’, with its curious background atmospherics, and the driving, hypnotic collaboration with DB1 on the title track ‘Uniformity of Nature’. ‘Launch’ sees Senking slow the tempo down and delve into a more murky space, yet still highly-charged with razor-sharp sound design. DYL closes the EP with the abstract ‘Semantics’, a further excursion into experimental electronics.
From the chaos of our rapidly changing world, Swiftness was born to provide a constant in our lives: timeless agile music from the hidden corners of Bucharest’s electronic scene. Swiftness’ first release is Stuffz – the debut EP of rising local talent FILIPP. Comprised of 3 spacey house tracks, Stuffz will make any turtle put on its fastest dance moves in no time.
Dark Entries Records presents ‘Fortunate Isolation’ the sophomore album from Borusiade. Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, Borusiade aka Miruna Boruzescu started dj-ing in 2002 as one of the very few female DJs in the city’s emerging alternative clubbing scene. Influenced by a classical musical education, a bachelor in film direction and fascinated by raw electronic sounds, Borusiade first combined these universes in the construction of her DJ sets and starting 2005 also in her music production. A sound of her own has slowly crystallized, often dark with poignant bass lines, obsessive themes and by all means melodic. ‘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. We have disconnected ourselves from ecology, humanity, preservation, care for what surrounds us, for what is still alive. Borusiade adds, “| know that this place, our home has went through so many other extinctions, but | believe things will find their own way on this planet only once we are gone. Entropy creates a time-line but also a transformation – a new beginning.” 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.
Protection is a new label established by Japanese artist Haruka, which seeks to explore the spaces where techno and experimental sounds merge, and club tools blur with home listening. Here this aim is achieved with precision and care by Romanian producer and DJ Cosmin TRG. The EP is distinguished by its intricate production and focused exploration, with each track finding a distinct balance between intensity and power. This record represents an impressive addition to Cosmin TRG’s discography, and a very fitting start for Haruka’s new label.