White Wigwam - Ground/Trigger
1 day 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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Bűkko Tapes: Eastern European electronic alternative for your tapedeck
3 weeks ago, 30 June 2014  ·   5 notes

Brno, the second city of Czech Republic, has seen a gradual upsurge in underground sonic activities, aided by its ample student populace - both at the art and technical universities - resulting in a very interesting mix where art and technology come to each other’s service. The crew behind the DIY Arduino-based instrument Standuino is based there, now busy with the increasingly successful Bastl Instruments, who, coincidentally, also lent its support to the latest Brno electronic export - the label Bukko Tapes. Here, its owner and artist Leoš Hort, says more.

When and why was the label established?

Bűkko Tapes was founded this spring by me and with support of Bastl-Instruments. The idea is to create a platform for unsigned talented artists. It all comes from my experience of being an unknown bedroom producer. When you are producing music, and just uploading it to some music-sharing online destinations without any background, there are just friends listening to your stuff, and its really hard to pass your creations to wider audience. 

There is a certain sound that’s already obvious from the three releases on the Bandcamp, beat-driven, a lot of is 4-4 oriented. Can you tell us about the sonic direction of the label?

With Bűkko Tapes I have an idea, which I’m trying to follow. So the keywords would be: analogue techno, house, generative music, experimental dance music.. But it doesn´t mean that doors are closed for everything else. I’m opened to all sorts of stuff. But it just has to fit in there somehow. I’m also looking for some drone/ambient releases for future.

"Eastern European electronic alternative for your tapedeck," is how you describe the label. Does it mean you are geographically specific in your selection? 

Yes, i want to focus just for Eastern Europe. Because i know that this region has lots of great musicians who have lot to offer and are being totally unknown at the same time. I think that Eastern Europe is currently the best place to “fish” for new original music. When it comes to the selection itself, the main thing are always the recordings, but I’m also interested in the processes behind it, like live performing, materials or equipment used, etc.

Can you tell us something about each of the releases?

The first release, called Hrtl - Hydroxid, is an acid/dub-techno recording that I made with my solo project. It´s all recorded live with hardware synthesisers and then just polished in studio, but still kept raw and straight forward, as much as the improvised live sessions I perform as Hrtl.

The second recording is ALUPHOBIA - REVIVAL. It’s the work of the great young producer and sound-engineer Barnabas Kiss based in Hungary. It’s hard to correctly describe the genre, but you can sense pieces of house, downtempo or chillwave there. It has its own specific sound, because Aluphobia uses plenty of noises and dynamic processing to build his very own atmosphere. Working with various software platforms, and his very advanced sound-processing skills he created my most favourite recording of this year. Im very happy we have him in Bűkko.

Last comes Finfriju - Seeds. It’s a bit more complicated with this one, because the author is kept secret. And when it comes to recording, it doesn’t get any simpler. Seeds is not really a recording, its a piece of software generating that music. And since every rendering is unique, it’s impossible to specify the original. So it made me create a limited edition of numbered cassettes, containing very unique renders on each side of cassette. In fact it means that there are no duplicated tapes and every cassette has its own original audio. Online you can listen to one render which you can´t get on any of released cassettes. The author used a textcode-based sound generating software called SuperCollider, which is used amongst sound experimenting artists for creating random noises, drones and different kinds of sound effects. But Finfriju took this platform to create something more “songish”.

You are based in Brno. Can you tell us about its underground music scene as it is at the moment?

Brno is blooming like a flower now. Really, over past three years I can see young guys full of enthusiasm getting into music. For all I have to point out guys like Tom Holič, Krysí Krys, Chef3000, Misisbe Sisbert. This is the main core of hardware-based “four to the floor” electronic here in Brno.

On the other hand, there´s pretty active scene around art exhibitions and faculty of fine arts in Brno, making space for more unconventional music styles like noise/drone/ambient/experimental. For all Michael Jackson Pollock, is going to blow your mind live with their heavy-metal poses during one button solo on DIY bleep synth. A must see!

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Check Czech - a new compilation of up-and-coming electronics from Prague and beyond
2 months ago, 20 May 2014  ·   6 notes

What is a sound of a country? House, techno, folk, trap, rap, hip hop or jazz? Of course, such simplistic generalisations are superfluous, though it is still interesting to hear what a certain group of musicians from a certain geographical context might produce, influenced - either consciously or subliminally - by the surroundings (or is this plain determinism)? Of course, we are not talking about Eurovision type of national/istic trite, but genuine music created at a certain time, in a certain place.

The new compilation entitled simply and boldly as !CZECH2, presents the up-and-coming producers based in the Czech Republic (there is also a Mexican and an American artist both based in Prague included). This is already the second instalment (read more about the first one in our interview here) of this initiative and its aim is to present “contemporary local progress”. The sound focuses on electronics, experimental, dance-oriented, weird and uncanny. Some names have been around for a while - but present themselves in a new light, such as Reverend Dick or Selectone. Then there are those who have appeared on the sonic radar recently, such as the Baba Vanga-affiliated Střed Světa and Traktor , or Space Love (check out their eye-watering videos here) and Dizzcock, the last two mentioned renowned for their collaboration with Tesla Tape’s Lightning Glove.

You can download the compilation, mostly composed of exclusives, for free here.

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Czechoslovak No-Input Mixer Compilation
2 months ago, 15 May 2014  ·   3 notes

Is the no-input technique getting so popular in the Czech and Slovak Republics? Definitely not, but this compilation can give you the false impression that this may as well be true. Still, the contributors here are worth your attention and it would be a shame not to mention this release out now on the Czech netlabel Signals from Arkaim. Their output is really fertile, counting more than 25 releases to this date, and with all of the releases are free to download.

Guys with their mixing boards here are quite renowned and cult figures in the Czechoslovak noise underground, including the legendary Napalmed, member of Gurun Gurun Federsel, or the young blood of brother duo Michael Jackson Pollock Five representing the new generation of noise tradition in Czecho/slovakia. Names like Jan Faix, Vojtěch Procházka or Michal Cáb are also quite well known on the scene. It is important to note that the compilation completely ignores the fact that Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1993, which is a really nice gesture.

But is it possible to make a compilation from the technique which by itself is really limiting and challenging and will not make you turn it off after 10 minutes of listening? And the answer is yes. Or at least, if it’s in good hands. If I have to pick a favourite track, it would be definitely Count Portmon’s contribution called Magnetic Heads. Despite the general belief that no-input has to be noisy, this is not true when listening to this track. Glitchy soundscapes, which are constantly changing their flow in the mostly high frequency range, are really calm, almost zen-like soundscapes.

Federsel’s v Plumon is hidden beneath huge layers of reverb, creating massive sonic seawaves. Why not use some other tools when the sound source is mixing board? Erroneous Monofolk by the Sherman Brothers is a carefully constructed and composed piece which has lots of thrilling moments and a very precise sound manipulation. But the more abrasive part of compilation also brings forth interesting tracks. Vojtěch Procházka’s Great War is an impressive lecture of sound looping slowly building up into the Pacman on ecstasy.

Napalmed and Garasu have a more standard approach and so is the sound of their contributions, which are possibly the weakest links, yet still somehow satisfying listening full of sudden sound attacks and ear crushing moments.

The purely no-input operational duo Jack Jack contributes with one of their tracks which was released at the end of the last year, and their contribution is crucial, since their project is purely based on the dialogue of two mixing boards.

To sum it up, this is great anthology of the underground Czechoslovak scene with really important and influential names. If you want to know the names in the game, it is quite necessary to go through this list at least even though it is without a question that this kind of music may not appeal to everyone.

by b.arctor

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Moduretik’s minimal electronics structures
3 months ago, 15 April 2014  ·   0 notes

Prague has had a fairly thriving minimal/synth wave scene in the last couple of years, mirroring the upsurge of interest in forgotten obscurities created on primitive equipment in Western European countries such as Germany, Belgium or France in the 1980s, packed and polished for 21st century listeners by labels like Minimal Wave.

Jan Jiskra aka Moduretik has made music since 2001. Over those thirteen years, his musical modus operandi has developed from IDM-influenced experiments through screamo/hc to 8-bit. His last sonic guise to date is the one that favours dusted analogue equipment over laptops, and incorporates not only music, but also “style”, and Jan with his tall lean black-clad persona fitted this perfectly.

Following his five releases to date comes his “compilation” of unreleased songs recorded between 2009 and 2013 in his Bohemian hometown. It sounds as a collection of B-sides, the weirder, non-traditional tracks which often surpass the obvious A-side stuff. Shunning his customary wavesque detached singing style, the new album relies on instrumentation. Though still sticking to the minimal electronics formula, this time, not slavishly, indicating a departure from his previous, more bluntly minimal/cold wave-inspired records. There is room for experimentation and playfulness, the VII's track for instance features samples from late night house parties, an added layer of irony, that distinguishes it from its eighties predecessors.

Interestingly, the tape is mastered by Moimir Papalescu of Czech legendary EBM band Vanessa, and appears in a limited run of 100 copies.

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