Moduretik’s minimal electronics structures
1 week 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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Zdeněk Liška - Osada Havranů (Tarnovski mix)
3 weeks ago, 28 March 2014  ·   1 note


Zdeněk Liška is one of the most significant Czech film composers, his electronic and electro-acoustic compositions finding its visual accompaniments - for his film scores are not secondary to its filmic coupling - in the Czech New Wave or for films of Jan Švankmajer. Eerie and surreal, his sound work create an extra layer, an autonomous sonic universe, that is almost a synaesthetic radio play, dispensing with the need for images, and at the same time reinforcing them in the imagination of the listener. 

Tarnovski, an avid recontextualiser of the audiovisual history of Czech and Slovak Republics, has created a new mixtape - following in the wake of his excellent “Proč jsme se nepotkali zaživa?" - composed of reworkings of three Liška scores - Osada havranů (Settlement of Crows), Na veliké řece (At The Great River, 1977) and Volání rodu (Call of the Tribe) all of them made in 1977. “Zdeněk felt the need to banish the whole sonic realistic construction, dispensing with most of the real atmospheres and sounds, instead trying to create them from loops. This resulted in strange howling, flicking, and this he mixed together….To all of this he then composed music," recollects the director Jan Schmidt.

Tarnovski took this to the next level - recreating these “recreations” into a mixtape, that sounds profoundly current, with its rhythmic structures, disembodied traces of voices, sounds of birds and waves (faithful to its cinematic origins), repetitions, a modern musique concrete, if you wish. 

You can download the mixtape here.

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Better be real than postmodern - Phaerentz’s III
1 month ago, 14 March 2014  ·   2 notes

Phaerentz is a solo project of Petr Ferenc, a Czech music journalist and musician, renowned mostly for his hauntological project Birds Build Nests Underground. His latest release is simply entitled III, and this descriptive minimalism is also an encapsulation of this project - no frills, the focus is placed on sound, in an almost acousmatic way. III is a sonic glance at certain - three - specific aural events. The stories about their inception are included, making me realise how nice it is actually to know the context of a sound piece, adding a layer of familiarity, aiding the imagination. 

Recorded on 21 June 2013 at the Kunsthalle in Hamburg where the floors creak so nicely. Monochrome is a subtle, gentle intro, much shorter than the other two, a prelude, a sonification of a walk which was then processed according to Monochrome Rules

Four track live recording made at the Avantgarde Festival in Schiphorst on 22 June 2013… perhaps early morning of the following day. The second track is a dense epic voyage, a master exercise in repetition, the meaning revealing itself gradually, in minor delineations and build-ups. A perpetual gradation, the apotheosis achieved, slowly, but profoundly, as a mirage that is the thing-in-itself, the being-as-in-becoming. 

'Good Morning' was planned for morning radio sessions at the same festival. However, something got “lost in translation” and the piece was finished and recorded later at home…Silence, disquietude, sound, an apparition. Différance.

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2013 in Czech music by Anek
3 months ago, 3 January 2014  ·   1 note

Once again, as the old year meets the new, we are looking back on the musical happenings. The first one is by Anek from the Cáry Mlhy blog from Prague who will offer his insights and highlights of 2013 on the Czech underground music scene.

Fantasmagorie interiéru and Raving Peacock’s Tail – two tapes from Lightning Glove mixing echoes of dance music, post-punkish filth and current urban gothic atmosphere, which filled out the void in our scene.

Star/Red – a tape from Sister Body – full of hazy, dreamy music oscillating somewhere between dance music and ambient. Star/Red manages to be sexy and unsettling at the same time, all wrapped in an atmosphere vaguely reminding me of The Shining. For a proper hypnotic effect you need to see them live though.

Atomová včela – third record from WWW, one of the oldest Czech hip-hop bands, and one of the weirdest out of left field hip-hop bands. With this record they managed to shift their sound to new territories. They’ve become a bit more suited to dance to, bit simpler in the structure of the tracks and bit less Dadaist in texts, while still retaining their cold industrial influenced sound and deconstructed, physical, bleak, yet playful lyrics. The album as a whole is bit too long and might suffer from being a collection of tracks made for all kinds of purposes, to some extent at least, but there is a whole lot of awesome tracks to choose from. The album also came out with a beautiful book with all the lyrics to all their three records.

Neone – a pop-up club run by the Lunchmeat collective. A no frills club in an old administrative building with great sound and six projectors resulting in being surrounded with visuals, near the city centre and yet not disturbing anyone during the night. For a while Prague could have a proper club focused on up-to-date electronic music and an affordable place to make concerts at.

Freddy Ruppert also started to play live again, this time exploring industrial sounds with early Swans-like rhythms evolving into something almost danceable. More of that please. (You might wonder why an LA-born guy is part of Czech scene highlights, but as he has lived in Prague for some time already, I guess it would be shame not to consider him as part of our scene.)

Mýtina/Ascarid label and distribution – it focuses mostly on tapes from the realm of noise, drone, ambient and underground black metal. They have great stuff I’ve never heard of, and apparently in some cases neither the internet did. An air of the real obscure underground surrounds Mýtina which I’ve been missing for some time.

Baba Vanga label – apart from the great tapes they released, the outdoor gig with Střed Světa, S Olbricht, Shibuya Motors and SILF under the Karlín viaduct was especially awesome.

First demo tape by ██████ (also called “nic”, Czech expression for “nothing”) – proper skramz heavily influenced by black metal in the veins of Wolves in the Throne Room. Loads of energy in beautifully melancholic, murky sound.

That Neone in Prague was only a pop-up club. Although it seems it will open for some events in 2014 as well, there should be a club like that being open all the time. Several of the underground clubs have raised their rents, which makes doing gigs for not yet known bands even more painful and less reasonable.


Apart from following all the above-mentioned names, you should also follow Letmo Productions and KYEO, as there are great concerts they are working on for the spring. My wishes are that all of these work out reasonably and I’ll be able to participate at least on some of these.

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Východiska Xmas mix
3 months ago, 27 December 2013  ·   3 notes

Every week on Wednesday Czech Radio's Wave station, we try to present a project, label, in a short interview format. Our show Východiska (you can check the archive of the show here) aims to map the latest happenings on the independent music scene in Central and Eastern Europe. We have created a special mix featuring our favourite labels and project, and asked them to send us their upcoming releases. Here is what came out of it.

1. Superskin – Drown
2. Lightning Glove – Brave New World
3. Plevna – Imperios
4. Shamanelism - Shamanelism
5. Steaua de Mare - Babadag
6. Katraven – Stars
7. Obete Sekty – Čo ak sa nevrátim /noitt remix/
8. Jonáš Gruska - Site specific resonances II
9. Dead Janitor – Divided
10. Lutto Lento – Vengo
11. Skan-zen – Tothem
12. Carla Under Water - Cocoon Boy
13. Alpár - Psychedelic Leftovers For Sunday Brunch (Chapter ‘Definitely Bad Trip’)
14. Nightmare Carpet - untitled
15. Kucharczyk – Green Green Kick
16. Sillyconductor - Piano

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