Bűkko Tapes: Eastern European electronic alternative for your tapedeck
2 months ago, 30 June 2014  ·   6 notes

Brno, the second city of Czech Republic, has seen a gradual upsurge in underground sonic activities, aided by its ample student populace - both at the art and technical universities - resulting in a very interesting mix where art and technology come to each other’s service. The crew behind the DIY Arduino-based instrument Standuino is based there, now busy with the increasingly successful Bastl Instruments, who, coincidentally, also lent its support to the latest Brno electronic export - the label Bukko Tapes. Here, its owner and artist Leoš Hort, says more.

When and why was the label established?

Bűkko Tapes was founded this spring by me and with support of Bastl-Instruments. The idea is to create a platform for unsigned talented artists. It all comes from my experience of being an unknown bedroom producer. When you are producing music, and just uploading it to some music-sharing online destinations without any background, there are just friends listening to your stuff, and its really hard to pass your creations to wider audience. 

There is a certain sound that’s already obvious from the three releases on the Bandcamp, beat-driven, a lot of is 4-4 oriented. Can you tell us about the sonic direction of the label?

With Bűkko Tapes I have an idea, which I’m trying to follow. So the keywords would be: analogue techno, house, generative music, experimental dance music.. But it doesn´t mean that doors are closed for everything else. I’m opened to all sorts of stuff. But it just has to fit in there somehow. I’m also looking for some drone/ambient releases for future.

"Eastern European electronic alternative for your tapedeck," is how you describe the label. Does it mean you are geographically specific in your selection? 

Yes, i want to focus just for Eastern Europe. Because i know that this region has lots of great musicians who have lot to offer and are being totally unknown at the same time. I think that Eastern Europe is currently the best place to “fish” for new original music. When it comes to the selection itself, the main thing are always the recordings, but I’m also interested in the processes behind it, like live performing, materials or equipment used, etc.

Can you tell us something about each of the releases?

The first release, called Hrtl - Hydroxid, is an acid/dub-techno recording that I made with my solo project. It´s all recorded live with hardware synthesisers and then just polished in studio, but still kept raw and straight forward, as much as the improvised live sessions I perform as Hrtl.

The second recording is ALUPHOBIA - REVIVAL. It’s the work of the great young producer and sound-engineer Barnabas Kiss based in Hungary. It’s hard to correctly describe the genre, but you can sense pieces of house, downtempo or chillwave there. It has its own specific sound, because Aluphobia uses plenty of noises and dynamic processing to build his very own atmosphere. Working with various software platforms, and his very advanced sound-processing skills he created my most favourite recording of this year. Im very happy we have him in Bűkko.

Last comes Finfriju - Seeds. It’s a bit more complicated with this one, because the author is kept secret. And when it comes to recording, it doesn’t get any simpler. Seeds is not really a recording, its a piece of software generating that music. And since every rendering is unique, it’s impossible to specify the original. So it made me create a limited edition of numbered cassettes, containing very unique renders on each side of cassette. In fact it means that there are no duplicated tapes and every cassette has its own original audio. Online you can listen to one render which you can´t get on any of released cassettes. The author used a textcode-based sound generating software called SuperCollider, which is used amongst sound experimenting artists for creating random noises, drones and different kinds of sound effects. But Finfriju took this platform to create something more “songish”.

You are based in Brno. Can you tell us about its underground music scene as it is at the moment?

Brno is blooming like a flower now. Really, over past three years I can see young guys full of enthusiasm getting into music. For all I have to point out guys like Tom Holič, Krysí Krys, Chef3000, Misisbe Sisbert. This is the main core of hardware-based “four to the floor” electronic here in Brno.

On the other hand, there´s pretty active scene around art exhibitions and faculty of fine arts in Brno, making space for more unconventional music styles like noise/drone/ambient/experimental. For all Michael Jackson Pollock, is going to blow your mind live with their heavy-metal poses during one button solo on DIY bleep synth. A must see!

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Czechoslovak No-Input Mixer Compilation
4 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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Lanuk: I don’t believe in perfect music
4 months ago, 30 April 2014  ·   10 notes

Last week, we brought out our fifth release on the Baba Vanga imprint. And similarly to the previous releases on the label, the decision to release it came very quickly. Following in its own idiosyncratic path, Arpád Gulyás’ music, similarly to Somnoroase Pasarele or Střed Světa, exists in its own sonic universe without necessarily rushing to please anyone. Music that emanates from a need to express a certain personality, an artistic catharsis.

How did you start making music?

From my very early childhood, music would be played in my house, first from vinyl later from tapes. My dad listened to Hungarian beat bands, singer songwriters. My brother would listen to rock music: Jimmy Hendrix, Doors, Metallica. I liked these records a lot. I was 14 when a guy visited me, whom I knew from school. He told me about his rock band and that they didn’t have a bass player so he asked me to play. I agreed, and started to make music. My brother bought me an old bass guitar, and I strummed it day and night. I started to become interested in the various music genres. There were times when I only listened to jazz (John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jiri Stivin, Charles Mingus..). Then later at the end of 90ties, I got into Fugazi, Jesus Lizard, Goz of kermeur, Blurt, Skeleton Crew…

I played in more bands, punk noisy stuff on a guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, harp, I also sang. In the beginning of 2000s, I started to experiment with computer sounds. I recorded stuff from TV, radio, etc. I created compositions, but just for myself, I didn’t want to show it to anyone at that time. I would listen to these before going to sleep on headphones.

Once, something terrible happened. I was half asleep, and was listening to one such composition. Suddenly, my eyes opened but I couldn’t move, my arm, my leg just couldn’t move. I felt pressure on my chest, a panic fell upon me. I was scared, I felt something dark around me. I’m not sure how long I was lying in that state. At some point, it was over. I sat up on my bed and decided, that I’m not going to do such thing again. Few days later, I showed the recording to a friend of mine. He said such music has an audience. He took me to the Xperipheria festival in 2002, which impressed me. I started to collect my first synths.

What is the most important thing for you in music?

I think that music exists on its own. I don’t believe that you could transform the sounds of nature or industry into the language of music. I don’t believe in Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons either. There are factors which can encourage the music-
making process, but I think music doesn’t need anything but itself. I just let it come to me.

Could you say something about yourself?

I am from Érsekvadkert, a small settlement in the north of the country. I am married and have a daughter. I like to live in the calmness of the countryside. I don’t have a TV or internet. I like to run and ski in winter.

How did you make your new record vV?

Most of the time is taken by patches and setting up the instruments. Then I programme my controller. I start to play around with a certain theme, get to know its specifics, how it reacts to changes of settings. Then I press record and record everything live. There is no pre-recorded sound, everything is created live on spot. I have 4 synths and a sampler at the end of the chain, I also sample live while playing. It is all very playful and introspective.

You improvise a lot, which is a one off experience. Why do you like this way of working?

I feel it’s authentic this way. There is this magic of the “one-off” experience in it. There are fixed things, which I can play more often, but my music is created within a framework. I do not dwell about how to develop a certain topic. I do not believe in perfect music, I know that every music has mistakes.

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

For tracklist click here:

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Lanuk - o​(​O
8 months ago, 22 January 2014  ·   2 notes

There is music and sound that without any ornamentation or sycophantic tropes manages to evoke specific almost synaesthetic evocations. It is almost as if it didn’t need a particular source or origin, it is acousmatic, as if it existed alone, emitted into urban decay, those areas abandoned by the well-to-do and successful. Unpretentious and direct, raw and uncompromising. 

That is the music of the Hungarian Lanuk. I first saw him in Budapest supporting Nate Young, and his crazy buoyant live set easily surpassed the one of the headliner of that night. Noodly, playful, psychotropic. 

Four of his tracks now feature on a new release, simply entitled o​(​O. It is not bothered by the passing fad of noise techno, it mostly eschews rhythm or more approachable elements, and when there is one, it is relentless. 

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