In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the actions in and from the best of the particular Central and Eastern European chevy 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, what exactly? Make music, don’t complain. I believe that most artists would prefer if their work was appreciated for its own advantage, not thanks to the image of ‘dictatorship’s victims’ or ‘culturally isolated/handicapped folks who still try to do something. ’” In an informative article about the Belarusian underground picture, a musician, label-head and college lecturer Pavel Niakhayeu touched upon a topic I’ve been thinking about a great deal 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 will we’ve been watching way too much in Bulgaria anyway. I’d replace it with a lot of movement in the normal / experimental / noise picture here in Bulgaria, ” another remark sums up the general attitude plus 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 brand new music compilation aims to raise understanding of the status quo in its home country and increase funds for organizations which are supporting independent media and protesters.
Out of Pavel’s overview of modern 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 as well as 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 electronic devices. One of its releases is dedicated to the truly amazing figures of 20th century materials, from the perennially relevant Kafka to Joyce or Woolf. The concept may appear 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 along with Manchester’s techno shamanists Gnod—or instead the solo project of one of its members, Druss—for a split at the always excellent Irish label Trensmat. The artistic interaction bears the particular footprints of both of the originators: an ethereal melange of hoping vocals and ominous soundscapes spiced up with relentless drum machine—courtesy associated with 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 many 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 i9000 Olbricht moniker and a lot more to come this particular year—has teamed up with his friends plus fellow musicians Alpár (who will be Farbwechsel’s other half Bálint Zalkai) and the relative newcomer Carla Under Water. Alpár’s trademark kosmische vintage electronic devices dominates one side and a more dark, more guttural undercurrent emerges at the other, courtesy of the aformentioned Mikolai on electronics and Carla Below 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 dosage of nonchalance and wrapped up in an air of coolness. Deservedly so , in this case. Focusing on nonlinear dancing music, Dunno’s roster features experienced musicians like Piotr Kurek, well-known for his acclaimed Heat recording on Foxy Digitalis, as well as modular techno maverick Wilhelm Bras. ~
You can read previous editions associated with Eastern Haze here.