From pop to psytrance: Christian music in Slovakia
2 days ago, 18 August 2014  ·   2 notes

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Slovakia may not be the most religious country of EU, but it’s certainly the country, where religious structures, especially the Roman-Catholic Church have exceptional influence. Naturally, there also exists a Christian music scene in Slovakia as a sort of autonomous subculture. It’s quite big, but if you’re not a young Christian, it isn’t likely you will ever notice it. It’s also a sort of secret subculture - not because it’s closed to non-Christians, but because non-Christians are not interested in it - it’s quite hard to find anything interesting musically there. While other contemporary subcultures try to differ from what’s considered normal, the Christian music subculture worldwide, and especially the Slovak one, had been the true normcore long before this term was coined.

Why so? Before the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, Christianity itself was sort of an underground movement. In the atheist Czech Republic, musical underground was directly connected with Christian dissidents (that’s why Christian music scene in the Czech Republic is still smaller, but more diverse than in Slovakia). Underground music movements in Slovakia itself started relatively late compared to the Czech Republic - at the beginning of 80’s - and Christian music began to spread this way just about that time on its own, and without any connection to non-Christian underground music scene. One of the notable examples was priest Anton Fabián, who ran an illegal home recording studio in the village of Hýľov near Košice, Slovakia (equipped with a Korg synthetiser and a Japan-made reel tape recorder - machines rarely available in Eastern Bloc at that time), where the music by various Christian bands (“Košičania”, for instance) was recorded and then copied onto MC tapes - at that time, it was the most common way of spreading banned music in socialist Czechoslovakia.

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Laura Luna - Isolarios
1 week ago, 13 August 2014  ·   14 notes

Laura Luna de Castillo is a Mexican multimedia artist living in Prague. Composing tracks and working with sound are her means of bringing forth imaginary atmospheres. Laura Luna's debut record Isolarios is Baba Vanga's next release.

“I started experimenting with making sound and music about a year ago, after an experience that made me aware of sound as a powerful enhancement to memories and narratives,” she says. “First I started to pay attention around me and to record with whatever I had available those sounds that where triggering emotions or fragments of memories. Later on when i became more sensitive to the richness, tones and changes in the sounds i began to construct my own sounds to describe what I had in my imagination of certain mental scenes and stories.”

Isolarios is an immersive experience, utilising sound as an emotion activator, inviting the listener into a self-contained world where repressed or half-forgotten memories resurface blurring the border between half-conscious and dream states, a sort of somnambulist soundtrack. “The way I started making each track was always inspired by an imaginary atmosphere, after reading and seeing many kinds of media that triggered certain feelings like longing, memory, melancholy and solitude but always immersed in a foggy fantasy and mellow drowsiness,” she says. Feedback, error and accidental programming come to the forefront here, layers of swirling melodies are scattered with field recordings and voices.

Inspired by science fiction stories about lost cosmonauts and expeditions without return, magic realism and the works of Italo Calvino, Laura’s output is drenched in romanticism, but of a – sublimely - tragic kind.

You can listen to the album, which is out now on Baba Vanga on Monday, 18 August 2014 on cassette, in its entirety here:

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Selectone’s Dead Grooves
2 weeks ago, 5 August 2014  ·   4 notes

More than a year after the EP of the Foma duo, the Czech electronic label Ressonus, which usually does so on a sporadic basis though always accompanied with carefully prepared limited edition CD and download artefacts, announced a new release. Coinciding with the straightforward techno-industrial record of the American project The Agromaniac, which was inspired by Harlan Ellison’s post-apocalyptic novella “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”, is also the new material of Selectone, a project of the label head David Rambousek, whose history dates back to 2004 and the Mufonic imprint.

Rhizomatic Sounds came out as a split with Neutrino and together with the following Czech-Slovak anthology Out Of Place Artefacts vol. I could be seen as a statement against the dance scene in favour of dirty and fragmented experimenting. “I prefer working with atmospheres and emotions to stylish sounds. I try to breathe life and an inner dimension into music.(…) I like sonic impurities, lo-fi and wasteland electronics, confronted with subtle moodscapes, created on synths or acoustic instruments. I sample a lot – from purely natural and everyday sounds, to noise, old vinyl records, church organs, chants and random voices of random people.” (as mentioned in an older interview with Nika77 for Techno.cz).

Selectone's 2007 record Unearthed developed in a rhizomatic system, incorporating elements of glitch, click’n’cuts and recyclation. His latest record, Dead Grooves, extolls the circle movement: literally. Shaped by the revolution of the used shellac records and magnetic tapes as well as multiple recollections of his own, shelled recordings created in isolation. “Crucial was that I recorded it at a time when I lived in a haunting small town on the Polish border and spent most of the time being alone, which probably led to some strange mental states…” With his method – let it be, so that something alive would engender from the dead sound – Selectone somehow comes close to Czech turntablists Birds Build Nests Underground. Nevertheless, here focused finishing touches to the material and another thing, the proximity of the “locked” grooves and myths (Automaton, Solaris) with non-cyclical elements, such as guest vocals of Miriam Ingram in Dead Swan or the dub-inflected rhythmics of the space in Positive Einstellung. The fascination with side effects and micro-sonic textures, which accompanies the project from the very beginning, as if veiled the whole record with a constant membrane of rain or crackling of fire – depending on which substance is closer to your consciousness – setting another distance from the focal point of this aural anémic cinema.

by ondrej parus (red for colour blind)

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Wedding Acid Group - Newpestian Adventures Remixes
2 weeks ago, 31 July 2014  ·   1 note


There is a thing with remixes, an almost philosophical question. Shall they eclipse the originals, shall they pay homage to them, or rather totally arbitrarily, like the ol’ Aphex Twin used to do, throw in a random track.

Wedding Acid Group is a trio from Budapest, headed by the underrated, under-the-radar Lóri Keresztes, whose looks and production skills have earned him the moniker “The Hungarian Richard D. James”. The other two members are András Leidal and Zoli Balla, the tireless vintage synth collector whose studio - affectionately dubbed the Ballacid studio - has become the haven for local analogue fiends tweaking their 303s and 909s. As its name suggests, Wedding Acid Group (or WAG - no wives and girlfriends here though), worships the acid mantra, the characteristic sound of the 303 its mind-bending, brain tweaking and twisting properties.

The earnest positivity of the nineties IDM scene is mirrored in the band’s output. No darkness, so de rigueur in the last couple of years in electronic productions, here. Melancholy yes, but no gloom. The remixes, are a different matter. There is the ominous Drone Travolta - very aptly entitled Death Sun 666 rework, the quirky Morkebla edit, or reliably offbeat S Olbricht recontextualisation. The authors themselves have contributed also: J Mono's sun-kissed acid-drenched number is none other but Lóri from WAG, there's also a sample-laden beat-driven remix by Saint Leidal the 2nd.

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White Wigwam - Ground/Trigger
4 weeks ago, 23 July 2014  ·   1 note

There is a quality to live music that often is lacking from bedroom or studio recordings. The slow, meandering build up, in anticipation of the climax (or anticlimax), the getting-lost-in-music, and the consensual surrender to the sonic mind-alteration. White Wigwam is a Prague-based musician, affiliated through various projects with the collective and label KLaNGundKRaCH. Remaining in the fringes of Prague’s experimental scene by choice, the group, even though favouring the anonymity of the collective spirit, has produced a number of intriguing projects and personalities over the years of its existence. No Pavarotti, Rouilleux, Core of the Coalman or Sister Body, just to name a few. 

White Wigwam, remains one of the more mysterious projects of the collective. Sonically, it revels in droney, psychotropic passages, coated in opiated atmospheres and dark alleyways with forlorn melodies appearing from the rhythmical structures. Ground/Trigger is a limited edition tape release, out on the blog/imprint Red For Colour Blind and the aforementioned KK. Sourced from a live recording - all of the releases on his bandcamp are live recordings, actually - with this one made at the Cross Club in Prague in Spring of this year, it is a collection of three recordings, best listened to continuously. 

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