The Pink Cowboys of Forum Absurdum
3 weeks ago, 2 April 2014  ·   0 notes

One can always find something charming in a primitive and almost vulgar expression of music. This split tape serves as a shining example. The newly founded platform Forum Absurdum with strong connections to the Bratislava underground venue Fuga, one of the hubs for most of the alternative acts hailing from Slovak capital. This release represents a more abrasive and brutal side of the club’s sound.

Ružoví Kovboji (Pink Cowboys) is a project with a long history going back the Urbsounds Collective, one of the cornerstones of the Slovak noise/experimental scene. Their live performances are well known in the local community partly because of the visual aesthetic of RBNX and Urbanfailure: suits, ties and coloured wigs are their uniforms when they collaborate in this noisy, distorted and messy ride filled with harsh noise sounds, distorted kicks and frantic screams.

Silly lyrics about forest animals; relationships between the human and the machine, universe and all those important things  are presented as hilarious duets. These angry tracks are swapped with minimalistic noisy compositions put through the almighty distortion pedals only to return to the frantic blast of the synths and drum machine (again, aided with a solid dose of distortion). If Alec Empire didn’t take himself so seriously, he would probably produce music similar to Ružoví Kovboji and still, he would sound quite lame. This is hilariously delightful and still not defying the punk roots and ethics, from which Urbsounds collective came from.

Bartek is the proud member of the Lazy Bastards soundsystem, a breakcore colective, and also one of the main men behind Fuga. His side of the tape oscillates between classic breakcore sounds, all bits and pieces uncompromisingly swept through filters and total randomness which, in the final run, comes close to a rhythmic harsh noise with a good old gabber kick supervising all of this. Surprisingly, it sounds fresh, despite breakcore itself being a dead platform, which has not really progressed for a couple of years. Ružoví Kovboji shine, nevertheless, Bartek’s round is also worth of listening.

Tapes were made for music like this. Listening to the release from this medium makes it even more fucked up and saturated, like a pool of pure sonic piss blasting through the speakers of your boombox bouncing on the trashcan in a really dirty backyard. Forum Absurdum are not following any trends, they are the direct descendants of Bratislava’s old school underground and are proud as hell to do that. Something tells me that their next output will be in a similar vein. This tape is laced with a good old punk spirit, a lovely artefact. 

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Sekta Obetí - the very attractive mysery of the Eastern smalltown
2 months ago, 20 February 2014  ·   0 notes

The original, 16-minute long EP called Obete Sekty was not only one of the best releases that the Slovak label Exitab put out, it can also, without any doubt, be considered as one of the best Slovak alternative releases of the last decade. The project, which was originally recorded almost 10 years ago was finally released in 2011 and now, after three years, Tomáš Ferko also known as Teapot has decided to revisit this piece, strongly connected with the memories of his hometown, Prešov, with the help of his friends.

The selection of the contributors invited to the project mainly consists of artists whose origins can be traced to Eastern Slovakia which is also the main concept behind the entire release. According to the press release, you can fully understand the meaning of this remix album only if you’ve spent some time smoking and drinking your mind away out of your frustration in this part of country. I don’t really think that this statement is completely right, as everyone who had to deal with the depressing reality of any post-communist upbringing in small town with the slightest ambition can relate to the feelings which are presented on this album.

However, Sekta Obeti definitely cannot be considered as remix album in its classical meaning. The length of this tape exceeds the original footage four times and stretches the entire sonic output. Listening to this piece can be quite a difficult, ear piercing experience, which completely deconstructs the original tracks and covers them with noisy drones, lo-fi hiss and decay of the original themes and tunes on the release. First contribution is by one half of the dark ambient/dronemetal project BIOS O / \ / \ / \ / \ is good opener and introduction of what the listener can expect through this one hour lasting misery.

Earbleeding sounds and noisy experiments mingle with dark droney soundscapes sometimes using only minor parts of the original release. A slight exception which gives you some time to breathe before another glitchy adventure is a remix by The Wasp, producer based in Prievidza, a city not so eastern, but in general known as a really dark and miserable place to live. His remix is a minimal/deep techno piece. The other tracks are not also easy to listen to, however, sometimes you can find yourself a bit bored by them, but if this has to represent the mood and setting of the east, then I have no objections at all. The final burst of light is a nod to William Burroughs and his cut and paste technique - the track called Cítime ako biele svetlo preniká našimi stehnami is remix made of all of the remixes present on the compilation and with its 23 minutes is the final farewell to the project.

This album is really difficult to listen and consume at first, since most of the remixes are really uncompromising bastards of the originals. But that was possibly the intention, to create a painful and hardly digestible piece of work which conceptually finalizes everything. Time to take some Valium and booze.

By b.arctor

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Lanuk - o​(​O
3 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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2013 in Czech music by Anek
3 months ago, 3 January 2014  ·   1 note

Once again, as the old year meets the new, we are looking back on the musical happenings. The first one is by Anek from the Cáry Mlhy blog from Prague who will offer his insights and highlights of 2013 on the Czech underground music scene.

1. MUSICAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR?
Fantasmagorie interiéru and Raving Peacock’s Tail – two tapes from Lightning Glove mixing echoes of dance music, post-punkish filth and current urban gothic atmosphere, which filled out the void in our scene.

Star/Red – a tape from Sister Body – full of hazy, dreamy music oscillating somewhere between dance music and ambient. Star/Red manages to be sexy and unsettling at the same time, all wrapped in an atmosphere vaguely reminding me of The Shining. For a proper hypnotic effect you need to see them live though.

Atomová včela – third record from WWW, one of the oldest Czech hip-hop bands, and one of the weirdest out of left field hip-hop bands. With this record they managed to shift their sound to new territories. They’ve become a bit more suited to dance to, bit simpler in the structure of the tracks and bit less Dadaist in texts, while still retaining their cold industrial influenced sound and deconstructed, physical, bleak, yet playful lyrics. The album as a whole is bit too long and might suffer from being a collection of tracks made for all kinds of purposes, to some extent at least, but there is a whole lot of awesome tracks to choose from. The album also came out with a beautiful book with all the lyrics to all their three records.

Neone – a pop-up club run by the Lunchmeat collective. A no frills club in an old administrative building with great sound and six projectors resulting in being surrounded with visuals, near the city centre and yet not disturbing anyone during the night. For a while Prague could have a proper club focused on up-to-date electronic music and an affordable place to make concerts at.

Freddy Ruppert also started to play live again, this time exploring industrial sounds with early Swans-like rhythms evolving into something almost danceable. More of that please. (You might wonder why an LA-born guy is part of Czech scene highlights, but as he has lived in Prague for some time already, I guess it would be shame not to consider him as part of our scene.)

2. DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR?
Mýtina/Ascarid label and distribution – it focuses mostly on tapes from the realm of noise, drone, ambient and underground black metal. They have great stuff I’ve never heard of, and apparently in some cases neither the internet did. An air of the real obscure underground surrounds Mýtina which I’ve been missing for some time.

Baba Vanga label – apart from the great tapes they released, the outdoor gig with Střed Světa, S Olbricht, Shibuya Motors and SILF under the Karlín viaduct was especially awesome.

First demo tape by ██████ (also called “nic”, Czech expression for “nothing”) – proper skramz heavily influenced by black metal in the veins of Wolves in the Throne Room. Loads of energy in beautifully melancholic, murky sound.

3. LOWPOINT IN TERMS OF MUSIC/SCENE OF THE YEAR?
That Neone in Prague was only a pop-up club. Although it seems it will open for some events in 2014 as well, there should be a club like that being open all the time. Several of the underground clubs have raised their rents, which makes doing gigs for not yet known bands even more painful and less reasonable.

4. PERSONAL WISHES AND TIPS FOR 2014?

Apart from following all the above-mentioned names, you should also follow Letmo Productions and KYEO, as there are great concerts they are working on for the spring. My wishes are that all of these work out reasonably and I’ll be able to participate at least on some of these.

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Jack Jack’s no-input
4 months ago, 20 December 2013  ·   3 notes

The unpredictability of the ‘no-input’ technique is one of the most intriguing things that you can come across when playing with your mixing board. And the worse the mixing desk, the better the feedback that your ‘instrument’ can produce. It is an enjoyable and affordable way to expand your sound arsenal when producing music.

And this is the area in which the Czechoslovak noise duo Jack Jack operates, their output is purely based on the no-input technique. Therefore, their release is based on improvisation and soundclashing of two mixing boards; noisers all-time favorite Behringer brand (crap, but feedbacks coming out of this thing are just amazing) versus the more decent Soundcraft offering some extra features like echo or flanger. When twisting EQ knobs and messing around with built-in effects a miracle happens: beeps, massive harsh noise soundwaves, chaotic scratchy sounds and even really raw and primitive melodies can be found. And it works pretty well in hands of the Jack Jack members. They have been already doing this for a couple of years and what you hear here, is a surprisingly rich selection of noisy variations. If you listen to the release carefully, you will be able to recognize the sounds of the mixing boards quite easily. The way Jack Jack react to each other is really organized in its own chaotic way and there is a real passion in what they do. And they don’t hesitate to try scruffy ambiences, massive walls of sound or really silly and primitive tunes, or well-timed silence.

I felt bit cheated when I hear the sound of the drum machine in one of the tracks, as Jack Jack claim that they are no-input purists (at least I think that I hear it, cannot imagine that you can produce such stable sound when feedbacking, if I’m wrong then I’d like to offer my deepest apologies). But in the end, track D is an awesome noise techno jam swimming through bursts of harshness and screwed flanger which can be easily compared to the likes of Metasplice or Container, but still with its own, unique sound because of the cheap sounding noise that mixing boards produce. Also, it’s a bit of a shame for the fans that the release was put out only in two pieces (the jams were recorded straight to the vinyl), but if you are a true noise afficionados you can purchase a 10 edition of blank vinyls into which you can carve your own noises. All this encapsulated in the true spirit of D.I.Y. I want more of this stuff, please!

by B.Arctor

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