Eastern Daze & Baba Vanga on Berlin Community Radio
1 month ago, 25 March 2014  ·   0 notes

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Interview with Esem
1 month ago, 27 February 2014  ·   3 notes

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One of the most interesting and idiosyncratic Bulgarian electronic musicians, Esem has been crafting out his own species of sonic experiments with consistent inconsistency for more than a decade now. Esem’s works include 3 LPs, a collection of field recordings, many digital releases for experimental labels like Merck, deFocus, Sutemos, Mahorka and the legendary Kahvi netlabel, and his latest Aquanaut EP, which was released last Christmas via Bandcamp.

What I find most impressive about Esem’s music is its formidable intricacy and sophistication of detail, conveyed in a very subtle, non-intrusive manner, and with a peculiar sense of soothing melancholy. It takes you on a fragment of a journey, focusing on the stretching, potentially infinite moment of transition, rather than the starting point or destination. This interview was conceived last year over August and September, inbetween the languor of summer haze gently morphing into the cooler breath of autumn. For one reason or another, it took until now that we’re on the brink of spring for it to come out, but as past experience has taught me it was worth all the waiting.

Could you introduce yourself?

My name is Georgi Marinov. I was born in 1979 in Bulgaria. I live in London, where I work as a sound editor, music composer, and web specialist.

You began experimenting with sound in the late 90s. What got you started?  What was the Bulgarian (underground) electronic scene like back in the day?

I’ve done music experiments on the Apple //e but I would say I began hacking together more “normal-sounding” music as Soundtracker modules, somewhere in 1995, and without much knowing what I was doing. Tracker music is a form of open source, and predates MP3. Every download packs its own sound samples and notes, so you can examine how it was done, learn, change it, copy the sounds and reuse them. I don’t think there were more than three other people in Bulgaria doing this at the time, and the music largely came from the Amiga demoscene in Scandinavia. Certainly my inspiration came from Finland and the works of one Lassi Nikko, who later on recorded for WARP as Brothomstates. 

But really I had been raised on music on magnetic tape, then listening to hip-hop  and just getting into electronic music around the time I had my own computer so, in hindsight, sound recording and editing, the sampling connection, and digital form, they all become quite obvious. 

I don’t think Bulgaria had any sort of “electronic scene” at the time. There were very few of us, we had maybe heard each other’s names, but we didn’t have much contact, let aside form a scene.

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Sky to Speak - Ruin
4 months ago, 16 December 2013  ·   0 notes

If you had an opportunity to watch the teaser video for the latest Sky to Speak release and you made it to the end, you could have noticed the Exitab label logo reworked by Matúš Hnát. This green retro version reminded me of the opening sequence of Blade Runner

Sky to Speak have been around for some time, their previous release is two years old, as one of the last flares of the now defunct Chernobyl Musick collective operating in Brno. But things are moving and so are the musicians, which was the case of Matěj Kotouček, who originally from Czech Republic, now lives in Bratislava, and has become affiliated with Exitab label, which is an umbrella for a group of producers and musicians whose work disposes of an alternative sound approach, but still is not as experimental as to make their music difficult for the average listener willing to try something different. The love and obsession for the eighties is obviously one of the main inspirational sources which emerges when listening to Ruin. The visual aesthetics of Tron, or the already mentioned Blade Runner can easily fit into the concept of this album. This theme was already present on Film, which implies that Sky to Speak don’t mind if their sound is labelled cinematic. It indeed is. But in comparison with Film, the sound here is more mature, the rhythms and the melodies are more complex and immersive. And all this is covered in a hazy, trippy veil of dub.

The sentimental mood and soothing melodies are driven by tribal, slightly reverbed drum beats which constitute an ever changing driving force, sometimes totally silenced to take a deep dive into the psychedelia of your childhood dreams. Technically, there is huge step forward and it definitely makes the entire matter deeper than ever before. The overall mood embraces this well known aspect of the hypnagogic sound, and maybe it also could be a projection of dreams of our parents about the future when dreaming about it in 1987. Imagine earlier Oneohtrix Point Never material, but due to the rhythms, this one is more down to earth. 

On the other hand, do not expect anything mind-boggling. It just flows, passes by and so do the remixes, which are a nice addition, but they don’t step out of the shadow of the original tracks, trying to adhere to the original concept. Tachycardia Theatre through Casi Cada Minuto bear the stamp of their original projects without stepping out of their respective comfort zones. 

Ruin is a release that you can play to your mum and she will possibly love it like you do. Maybe it’s a bit of a shame that as much Ruin is a decent, pleasurable listen, it still only exists in its conventional way and sometimes hesitates to become more brave and take you further. To hear this in 2009, it would become an instant hit, but if you want to stand out of crowd in 2013, it needs something more. But the world of Sky to Speak has been built and I think that its purpose was not to be innovative, but to take you somewhere.

by b.arctor

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.soundscapes - Tides of Voltage
6 months ago, 21 October 2013  ·   2 notes

soundscapes is a pair of waveform explorers who like to experiment with compositions, arrangements, sequences and non-sequences..” The new Slovak project, emerging from the Bratislava techno and underground electronic scene, that has revolved around two clubs in the city - Fuga and the A4. soundscapes’ “Tides of Voltage" is a dark dronetastic soundscapey three-track EP, epic and exploratory, echoing the likes of Raime, Haxan Cloak or Shackleton. The band’s name is inobtrusive, prefering to blend in the environment, rather than stand out. And the music, in a way, mirrors this - a chillaxed soundscapey ride through droney electronics, rhythm-based and hypnotic. Though several parts are promising, with a potential to further develop on their upcoming releases.

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B.ATL - SKTCH EP /aka a glitchy disorientation, electronics exploration/
1 year ago, 14 February 2013  ·   2 notes

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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.

Free download.

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