When we visited Macedonia’s capital Skopje, the punkish Kanal 103 radio, located in the socialist remnant of a building surrounded by a police station and a hooker strip, it seemed like the place where anyone making anything worthwile sonically, congregated. Running their own shows, playing concerts, etc.
One of the guys who works there is B.ATL, part of the Disphilharmonia collective, IDM inspired dissonant digital noiseniks. Here, he comes solo with a broken, glitchy offering, which recalls the heyday of the genre in the 90’s, but somehow follows its own path, to disorienting, almost lucid effect.
1. What’s the highlight for you in the Macedonian music scene in 2012?
More than 50 albums and many singles/EPs were released within the alternative/rock/punk/dance scene last year in Macedonia. Most of them were just a repetition of the 80s/90s sound, though. Still there were lots of artists and releases that caught my attention or were played at my radio programs and/or DJ sets, like the following…
Dimitar Dodovski released Aluminium Bend EP on Japanese label Lantern with great remixes by Mick Chillage and Mark Thibideau, also a track “Seeds for the future” on the Mizukage compilation. Dodovski also collaborated with me and we released our first release Nature on post global recordings.
Genoveva also released a collaboration album with Alveol named Unity and started a new project with Tim Diagram named Bluhm.
Stojche released a couple 12”s with nice deep house music, one of them on his label Tangible Assets, but he also signed a record with Subwax in Spain.
Another hard working label worth mentioning is Logos Recordings. They released a couple of releases by international artists last year but for this occasion we can mention the album by the owner of the label Samoil Radinski - Soul Galaxy.
Then there is Juan’s Kitchen Delights Recordings, releasing the local techno sound for a couple years already. Difference Engine EP by Andreas Hz released last year was their 40th release.
Ljubojna is a band that plays contemporary interpretations of Macedonian traditional folk music. They released their album Brass Fantasy. One of the best local live acts.
Composer Oliver Josifovski of Ljubojna together with the composer/pianist Aleksandar Pejovski and Vladimir Nikolov (guitar) are working together on a project Um Zaumthat released the album Um Zaum 001 - beautiful improvised material recorded live in our radio studio.
Lefterna is an underground bedroom producer worth mentioning. An artist that you can’t find in the media, but last year he came up with a whole package of experimental 3”/5” CDs and tapes released for various international labels.
One of my last year’s plans was finally realized in 2012. I started my label post global recordings last summer and have released three releases by now. First one is a collaboration project (between Goce Gligurovski a.k.a. Mnemonic45 and Dragoljub Curcic a.k.a. Delta43) named Delta M45 and their album Space Probe. Second one is the aforementioned collaboration between Dimitar and me (as sound_00), and the third one, released at the end of the year, is the second collaboration between Iversen and me. We released another material last year for the Canadian label Panospria. As a part of the label I also started the post global podcast series.
The soundscape workshop was another project that I started last year together with Sashko Puckovski as a series of workshops focused on field recordings and soundscape, gathering and training new and already established artists on these topics, on various locations, mostly in the wilderness and away from the city chaos. Part of the material produced on the workshops will be released on our labels post global and co-linear.
From the last year live acts I can mention the gigs of Mnemonik45 a.k.a. Goce Gligurovski, Scant Intone, D’incise, Jonas Kocher & Amplidyne Effect, Ljubojna…
2. What is the low point for you in the Macedonian music scene in 2012?
At the Moonride festivalEasterndaze conference we shared our experiences with other regional/Balkan organizers/label owners, and we noticed that we share more or less the same problems. Unfortunately most of the endemic local problems here are the same as last year. They are not solved at all and the situation has not changed much since last year, so maybe it is good to repeat them.
Lack of communication and collaboration between the artists on a level of a scene is still the case here. Lack of clubs/venues and infrastructure is also another huge problem. This problem produces lack of passionate audience. If there is no audience these events are not attended by many people and the organizers can’t organize further events. Unfortunately you still can’t see exciting international live/DJ act in Skopje because the audience is not open for new sound and artists. Subsequently, organizers are demotivated to organize events, which in turn provides for the proliferation of cover bands. 3. Discovery-new artist of the year in Macedonia?
I must admit that there are no new artists that achieved something special in the last year and are worth mentioning as discoveries. Most of the last year discoveries are now in the first ‘highlights’ part and in a small scene that’s developing quite slow new discoveries are not coming so often. So let’s wait until the next questionnaire.
4. Personal tips and wishes and plans for 2013?
Dimitar Dodovski finished his new ambient album “Rivers” that should be out on Databloem in 2013. Also album as a collaboration with his music influence Lee Anthony Norris under the name Moss Garden that should be out on Kai Ko and a very exciting techno EP with Olle Sjögren with remixes by Tomas Jirku and Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot, Mapstation, Hauntologists) that should be out on Stem Records next year. Looking forward to all this.
Post global recordings has couple of releases scheduled. Databoy78 and Purl are already waiting for their release this spring. Sound_00/iversen collaboration is also on the way; and finally my solo material as Sound_00.
Last year we had a gig under the name of post global trio/quartet, live collaboration between local artists, an idea that should be developed further in the following months! We are also doing at least one more soundscape workshop this summer.
And of course I wish for more gigs, more artist discoveries, more audience, more clubs…
ps: I’m really sorry but I made an oversight here and 01plant were unjustifiedly omitted from the list as they deserve to be in the discovery section so here they are as a post scriptum. They don’t have an official release last year except their bandcamp Missing link ep with which they show that they are a mature project with fresh sound and approach. It is a conceptual project between three experienced musicians that offers a complete audio-visual enjoyment that you can see from their videos and concerts. After a long-term cooperation on various projects, they finally managed to form a whole through 01plant and recently completed their first album. They also had couple of concerts last year like the powerful concert at our radio studio. Undoubtedly a discovery of the year. 2013 is their year.
Toni Dimitrov is a DJ, radio host and owner of the Post-Global Recordings imprint, check his radio shows on Skopje’s Kanal 103.
Toni Dimitrov is a mainstay in the Macedonian independent scene. He’s been a part of the brilliant Kanal 103 radio station (which we gatecrashed in autumn, more on that soon) for astonishing 14 years. He’s also a creator himself (tweaking field recordings collected during his many expeditions into Macedonia’s nature), and a curator (through his new label Post Global).
What’s the highlight for you in Macedonia’s music scene?
Last year was a key one in many ways, as well as music wise. There were many projects, events and artists worth mentioning and many that I was involved with:
- 20 years of existence of Kanal103, the radio that I have worked at for already 14 years. It is the most important music/culture media in Macedonia, responsible for the shape and existence of the contemporary music scene as we know it today, in charge of promoting most of the good artists that are still working on the scene today. It is behind most of the good events in Skopje and beyond. We celebrated this anniversary with a few events and festivals presenting the cream of the Macedonian music scene. Listen to us!
- I celebrated 10 years of existence of my radio show Post Global with a couple of events presenting local and international artists, culminating with the festival VICE VERSE which consisted of workshops, exhibitions, video screenings and live performances/dj sets by American, Serbian and local audio/video/visual artists. Plus the 1 year of existence of Music and Politics, another radio program that I’m involved in.
- Have to mention the label Greenfields that released 10 releases last year with international and local artists and diverse sounds. Last spring we did a tour through Macedonia presenting the artists and their work.
- Music and Politics started collaborating with the regional webzine BTurn.com and launched a series of events presenting regional and local artists. At the first party, Belgarade DJ lady Tijana T was promoted with her dj set as well as a local project Jerton. Second party in on the way with Jan Nemecek and Dimitar Dodovski, one of the best upcoming regional artists.
What is the low point for you in Macedonia’s music scene?
- Lowpoints are things that we have to deal with locally so I’m not sure if I want to talk about this and ‘promote’ them internationally. But if you insist the first thing I have to mention is the lack of communication and collaboration between the artists on the scene. Because in my opinion, the definition of the term scene is: SCENE = COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION. Which does not exist here in the sense of consisting and building.
- Another low point is the lack of clubs. There are no clubs, that means there are no events, that means there is no audience, that means there is no scene! The scene is a live organism, each thing pulls another.
- The mass existence of cover bands is the result of the other already mentioned points. These bands have been playing the same 15 songs in each of the five clubs in the city for years already, but recently they became the only thing that is going on in the club scene. Same people have been going to the same places each day, listening to the same 15 songs every day for years already, and they are fine with it! That’s really sick and that’s not what we want our scene to look like. Of course, here I don’t want to mention the flood of Serbian rock/pop/turbofolk artists playing massive concerts in Skopje.
- The indolence of the audience. If you don’t have clubs and events, the audience is becoming indolent and they are rarely going to events, if at all. Usually they go to mainstream events with big commercial djs and pop concerts or where young people are at – cover bands gigs. Unfortunately that happened here, slowly killing the real artistic scene.
Discovery-new artist of the year /in Macedonia/?
- I will have to highlight Dimitar Dodovski, an artist that has released a couple of tracks and remixes on well known net labels in the dub techno scene like Tropic, Inuoki, Yuki Yaki, Greenfields and even Neo Ouiija, with a release planned for the Japanese label Lantern (Martin Shulte, Arctic Hospital, Taylor Deupree). His sound is deep and beat oriented with variations in minimal dub, dubtech, techno and house. Last year he had great live performance with a drummer. Really mighty experimental dubby but still dancey show.
- Herzel is one of the local artists signed on Greenfields worth mentioning. He also releases on another hard working label Filter. He has released a couple of releases on Greenfields and Filter getting worldwide attention with his experimental post dubstep sound. His upcoming vinyl release will be out soon on Other Heights.
-Delta M45. Two guys are behind this project: Dragoljub Curcic from Serbia (Subotica) and Goce Gligurovski from Macedonia (Bitola) making what is the true meaning of what we call kosmische musik. The perfect album for travelling, no matter if it is in the woods or in outer space. You can listen to it while sleeping and dreaming. Was created last summer during a live session. Coming up in early 2012 on my new label Post Global recordings!
The album of Delta M45 is definitely one of the tips and wishes as well as exact plans. I’m launching my new label Post Global recordings with their album Space Probe as a first release. Can’t wait! Followed by a collaboration release between my project sound_00 and Norwegian artist Iversen. Also got a great new electroacoustic/drone material for this collaboration. We collaborated here for the second time after the first self titled 7” released on Dirty Demos in UK.
After five years of hiatus, we have got together again on our new material, which consisted of drone/ambient pieces. The base of the material are field recordings made in untouched nature in the Macedonian mountains and villages during my trips/climbing, which were edited subsequently in a collaboration process between two artists coming from two different parts of the world. Part of this material will be released on Dirty Demos on a tape format and another part on the label I usually collaborate with Panospria in Canada. After that I’m planning releases from Sebastian Zangar and a re-release of Normal Music, which originally appeared on my first label Acid Fake.
The title of b.aTL’s new record is slightly misleading, although for those in love with fucked up broken structures, twisted beats, squelches and squeaks, there’s no denying of this sonic quality. Released on the Macedonian label Greenfields, an online platform for music, photography, graphic design, illustration or new media, Aleksandar Baldazarski’s latest release reaffirms his affinity for IDM-inspired sonic structures, spearheaded by Autechre, but injecting it with his own aesthetic.
Aleksandar is a member of the fledgling laptop ensemble Disphilharmonia, active on the Skopje scene and the brilliant radio Kanal 103 which we had a chance to visit (check back here later for a podcast of our guerrilla style Kanal 103 takeover and some words about the Macedonian electronic/experimental music scene)
Another of our monthly new music series of mixes/podcasts this time also inspired by our September journey to the Balkans. Featuring techno, bass, dub step, garage, ambient or noise, this is a sonic travel through diverse rhythmic territories.