From pop to psytrance: Christian music in Slovakia
4 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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Hlukár / hLukáš SPLIT
1 month ago, 4 July 2014  ·   3 notes

Hovering on the fringes of Slovak experimental music, the Noize Konspiracy collective remains uncompromising in their ethos and works. The punks of the noise scene, kind of. “The whole idea for the release came about, when I staggered around the Fuga Club in Bratislava and Lukáš [from Noize Konspiracy] told me he is Hlukas and I am Hlukár, so we should do something together. We decided that each of us will get one side of the tape and will do a ‘remix’ and include our own stuff,” says Hlukár.

Hlukár comes from Rožňava, a small town in eastern Slovakia, one of these local Twin Peaks versions, a zone of nothingness that is also a wonderful source of inspiration resulting in creations laced with a certain nihilistic flair. His split sidekick, Lukáš, is from Noize Konspiracy, the aforementioned subterranean collective.

The split is veiled in noisy darkness, but also offers a respite in the form of various ironic samples - sourced from random instruction tapes and sonic ephemera. Kicking off steadily with a 38-minute monster of a track is Hlukár. Apparently, he made the whole thing using solely the Elektrosluch instrument, created by the Bratislava-based sound artist Jonáš Gruska, since all of his other gear got stolen. A characteristically noisy and rhythmical ride ensues, hypnotic and spiced up with samples about religious freaks.

Lukáš’, based in the capital Bratislava, side is more mellow and ominous, but before all of this a blissfully inapt saccharine start off with a sample about boosting your business. It also includes some distant flickers of light on tracks like “Rajda”. Trippy slabs of noise appear and reappear, tweaks and knob-twisting, mangled samples with quotes like “Don’t be the message. Be the messenger.” The medium is the message this time - in a meta way and literally - the tape, aides the lo-fi nature of the content and the intent, though you still can download it - digitally - here as well.

This article was supported by the Intenda Foundation.

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The trippy world of Triple Sun
2 months ago, 11 June 2014  ·   4 notes

Just before I started to listen to Triple Sun's latest album on the recently launched Forum Absurdum imprint, related to the Bratislava-based DIY club Fuga (one of the best industrial venues in the city), I’d heard the new Plastikman album.

For some reason, it seemed as if these two were distant relatives of the lysergic lineage. Trippy, abstract electronics, digitally polished and ruminating, wandering and getting lost in subtle echoes, like on the former’s “Macro”, a labyrinthian maze of sounds, the Minotaur hiding in a Plato’s cave.


In its sonic experimentalism, it sometimes alludes to the heydey of the 90ties IDM scene, the Autechres and whatnot, but it is far from an epigon of a bygone era. It has its ebbs and flows, it’s menacing and mellow at the same time.

Triple Sun is a new project which emerged on the ever-vibrant Bratislava electronic scene, composed of active musicians armed with modular synths and plenty of vigour to explore the offbeat side of contemporary electronics.

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Samčo, brat dážďoviek - magazín TÍNEJDŽ
2 months ago, 9 June 2014  ·   0 notes

Samčo, brat dážďoviek is a rare beast. As one of the very few ones in the electronic scene around here, he doesn’t shy away from the context. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Negativland or The Residents, Samčo mashes up, twists and turns various pop-cultural references - a constant obsession with Justin Bieber serves as the slightest example (on this album there is a literal Slovak translation of his hit), as well as films like Kemonozume and Naisu No Mori, but also subverts various national/istic symbols and ideology of mostly Czech and Slovakian nature. A quick glance at the cover of the album is an analytical shortcut, featuring Ľudovít Štúr, the foremost 19th century Slovak national figure next to a painting of Jesus.  

For instance, the first track Fenn a Tátra ormán “contains the official Hungarian text of the Slovak anthem used in Hungarian-speaking parts during the period of the 1st Czechoslovak Republic. These topics have been explored before in his ouevre - most prominently on his Slobodný nezávislý album. There is also a “homage to the most annoying youtube ad” and a field recording of frogs.  

"Multicultural and multi-linguistic mashup of the traditional Slovak spirit," he says and adds. "Don’t play this to your neighbours and pets."

Check out Samčo’s Easterndaze podcast here. Reblog   Like


Czechoslovak No-Input Mixer Compilation
3 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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