Lanuk: I don’t believe in perfect music
2 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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MANASYt – Hailing from the Otherside
1 year ago, 8 March 2013  ·   2 notes

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It may seem ironic. Finding a Bulgarian producer can be an easier task if you choose to look outside, rather than within the borders of our country. They seem to be thriving out there, unburdened by our homeland’s troublesome past, absurd present and ever so uncertain future. One such producer is MANASYt – one of the most accomplished Eastern European industrial electro producers in the last decade, with an impressive volume of releases for various labels and monikers /incl. Sam Lowry/, for imprints such as Legowelt’s Strange Life Rec. or Andrea Parker’s Touchin Bass. MANASYt emigrated in the late 90s to a wonderful life moving across three continents, and a dream come true – music. He has recently put most of his output on bandcamp, after having a sort of musical hiatus for a while. When I approached him for this interview, he was surprised that anyone from Bulgaria would be interested in his works as an artist. Here is the record of our short virtual encounter.

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

Petar Tassev, 36, living in China, born in Bulgaria.

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Stratasoul – Hip Hop from Heaven
1 year ago, 30 January 2013  ·   1 note

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Listening to the Slovak producer Stratasoul is like a hot air balloon ride – floating and sinking into a magic aural stratosphere, bumping into a chunk of beats here, catching on a string of clinks and clanks there…so easy and carefree.

“I remember feeling fascinated when I first heared a sampled amen loop on an Atari ST computer,a gift from granddad. Without any musical knowledge or experience I set myself a goal to make music, out of fascination with something indescribable, which grew inside of me and I still could not explain, but I’m getting some hints now.”

Rarely does one come across a beatmaker whose music in not overtly dominated by the beat. It serves more as a backbone, a gentle anchor pulling together the invisible strings of infinite ethereal sounds and melodies that form probably the most pleasant sonic chaos your ears have ever met.

“Usually I’d start with some synth and basic sound design which fits my current mood, and then I’d search for chords with my shitty piano skills. I usually make a sketch instantly, and then edit it in a MIDI sequencer. Here suddenly I find myself in a process which is not of this world anymore and everything comes naturally. It actually takes a short time, but to me it seems like forever until a sketch of a track is made. Then the obsessive disorder takes place and fine-tuning of arrangements, etc.”

Stratasoul’s compositions feel like a dreamy stream of consciousness – a risky modus operandi, for it is only too easy to lose the listener on a trip where the next step is a surprise even to the guide.  Here, however, you press play, and before you realize, you find yourself lost in the subtle, yet firm hold of this hypnotizing sound.

What’s the trick? I believe it has to be love, and the sheer joy of creating and perceiving music without burdening this two-way process with a heavy message or complex meaning. This simple, unconscious way of expression has detail and depth that gets richer with each listen.

“When I write my music I feel overwhelmed by something. It’s as if I feel connected to some stream of calmness. I try to give an expression to what I feel at that moment, and that is why I value the very presence. It may sound megalomaniac, but I feel it in an intimate way. My music is an expression of my attitudes, sometimes naive, unsafe, you know luvly isles, honestly just sharing with people.”

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Like so many other electronic musicians these days, Stratasoul is mostly drawing the vocal part of his works from 90’s soul and r’n’b classics. Funnily enough, it is the interpretation of this already clichéd source that happens to be the most characteristic and unique trait of his sound. Instead of looping whole words, phrases or riffs, he deconstructs voices into fragments and sifts them through multiple effects. The result is a heavenly love message pronounced in an unknown muffled language, chipped and clumsy and shy, but full of warmth and sincerity.

“I think we are the kids of the onset of information and globalization age, so we are getting connected more and more through other aspects than our geographical or traditional cultural affinity.”

Indeed, Stratasoul’s music does not seem rooted in any realia – be it cultural, ethnic or social. In fact, it does not have anything to do with Earth at all. It is the sound of angels making hip hop on an imaginary island floating in the sky – hip hop from heaven. 

by Snezhana Bezus, find her at her blog Beatbucket.

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Norwell’s bittersweet synth psychedelia
1 year ago, 10 January 2013  ·   3 notes

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Budapest-based producer Balázs Semsei aka Norwell makes his debut with his psychedelic electronica project on Shabu Recordings. The Farbwechsel co-founder is the third man connected to the fledgling label we featured earlier. Influenced by krautrock, house and electronica, Norwell’s ’I Kissed The Sun’ conveys a bittersweet nostalgia coated by melancholic synth melodies. Listen to it below.

Would you please introduce yourself?

I’ve got involved with electronic music making when I was 19-20 years old after giving up guitar and piano, first djing and later making my own music. Together with my childhood friend Alpár, half of the duo Silf and my other friend, half of the duo Stephan Olbricht we were teasing each other with the latest software tricks and learned music making together as autodidacts until one of us bought a synthesizer. Earlier I had another project called Elbow Room releasing an EP on Ryan Davis’ label Back Home but after a long search for a new sound which I feel more comfortable with, I started Norwell.

What kind of sound were you looking for?

I could never describe the style of my music. Elbow Room was more about melodies and more house-y beats but later when I got my synth and it changed everything. I gave up virtual synths in favor of analog ones and wanted to start a new project: Norwell. By now I’m able to write music on analogue gear, so almost without computer, I only use it for drum patterns, recording and mixing. It’s not that I hate digital but more about how it feels, it becomes real, so it’s more entertaining, not to mention the incomparable sounds. Mostly the creative process starts with improvisation, I start playing on one of the synths to find a sound or a sequence I like and I record it and after couple of drafts it evolves to become a song. But there can be a sound also in my head before sleeping. It varies. I don’t feel my music has any dominant motif, it’s a blend of house, techno and electronica elements.

How would you describe the world of Norwell?

It comes as a mood of old and vintage but with modern electronic sounds. For me it recalls the kraut rock era of the 60s, 70s. I was listening to kraut rock, psychedelic rock. Basically this kind of psychedelic music defines my sound, something old, bittersweet something, not happy, neither sad. I was making sad music before but I changed and I write out less melancholic stuff, but it’s still melancholic. If I’m in a bad mood music making is what makes me feel better, that’s what I like most. Though I have a dual purpose, besides doing what you like you also make an emotional effect on others.

What are your plans for 2013?

After the first Norwell EP there is the second one in the making, via another label. I’d be happy to have one physical release this year finally. And when I’m surely ready for it, I’d like to put my live act together, but before that there’s so much to prove and improve.

by András G Varga, Easterndaze and Electronic Beats Budapest collaborator, you can find him on Twitter here.

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Plunderphonics: label interview
1 year ago, 20 September 2012  ·   3 notes

New label alert. Plunderphonics is a new digital imprint established this year by the 18-year old Krystian Stebnicki. Since its inception in June 2012, he managed to bring out four idiosyncratic releases ranging from faux French-sung wave/EBM of Cochon Porc, to MOLR DRAMMAZ’s disorienting experiments. The plunderphonic maxim is applied subtly, without obvious allusions to pop culture, recalling the often inherently disturbing sonics of the Residents rather than playfulness of Negativland.

Can you tell us about Plunderphonics, its history?
It all started two years ago, when I was sixteen years old. I had heard about the netlabel ‘by?em kobieta’, founded by a friend of my sister from her university. I immediately fell in love with the sound of the label and it is still the case today. Later I started to search for my own experimental music performers. Sangoplasmo records (cassette label) delivered another dose of inspirations. I bought some tapes from this label and told to myself, “I dig the music, so maybe I should try my own netlabel”. I read on twitter of the  band Satanicpornocultshop that Dagshenma's album is the best thing they have heard. I checked this and indeed it was fantastic.

I asked Dagshenma if he would like to release a record on Plunderphonics and he agreed, and it was a hit. I created the site on bandcamp and I started promotion. When my friends listened to his ‘Humane Humane’ they told me:”What’s that sounds?! Some noise and crackles from the speakers …” haha. The interest has increased significantly after the release of the MOŁR Drammaz's last album: 'Semperflorens'. Wojtek Kucharczyk was very helpful.

ON TOUCHE NOS CULS from cochon porc on Vimeo.

What sort of sound are you concentrating on?
I am concentrating on all kinds of experimental music, but I’m open to all genres. I’m just trying to promote extraordinary music. for people who are looking for new musical horizons. 

Can you tell us about the releases you have so far?
First release was Dagshenma's “Humane to Humane”. This is white noise from Japan. Second release was WeeGee's “megatr[ ]nne EP” from the US. This is a very nice, short EP, which sounds a little like chillwave. The third release was by CochonPorc from Poland with an album called: “Tête”. This record aims to mix French arrogance with the brutality of industrial mass killing. The fourth release was MOŁR DRAMMAZ’s “Semperflorens”., a compilation consisting of 10 previously unreleased tracks by Mołr Drammaz’s more electronic period between 2000 and 2004 (and beyond) and 10 songs that were already released on previous albums. This album shows the originality and variety of the work of MOŁR DRAMMAZ

Are you in any way inspired by John Oswald’s plunderphonics concepts? Sampling, reappropriation, etc?
Yes, I’m big fan of the plunderphonics phenomenon, but I’ve heard about plunderphonics for the first time when I read a review of the cassette ‘Death Beam’ by Lutto Lento. Maybe someday I will be able to promote an artist in this genre of music. 

What are you planning for autumn?
Still looking for new interesting artists. All I can say now is that in late autumn I’m planning a Czech surprise. 

http://plunderphonics.bandcamp.com

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