1 week ago, 27 February 2014 · 3 notes
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.