Hlukár / hLukáš SPLIT
2 months ago, 4 July 2014  ·   3 notes

Hovering on the fringes of Slovak experimental music, the Noize Konspiracy collective remains uncompromising in their ethos and works. The punks of the noise scene, kind of. “The whole idea for the release came about, when I staggered around the Fuga Club in Bratislava and Lukáš [from Noize Konspiracy] told me he is Hlukas and I am Hlukár, so we should do something together. We decided that each of us will get one side of the tape and will do a ‘remix’ and include our own stuff,” says Hlukár.

Hlukár comes from Rožňava, a small town in eastern Slovakia, one of these local Twin Peaks versions, a zone of nothingness that is also a wonderful source of inspiration resulting in creations laced with a certain nihilistic flair. His split sidekick, Lukáš, is from Noize Konspiracy, the aforementioned subterranean collective.

The split is veiled in noisy darkness, but also offers a respite in the form of various ironic samples - sourced from random instruction tapes and sonic ephemera. Kicking off steadily with a 38-minute monster of a track is Hlukár. Apparently, he made the whole thing using solely the Elektrosluch instrument, created by the Bratislava-based sound artist Jonáš Gruska, since all of his other gear got stolen. A characteristically noisy and rhythmical ride ensues, hypnotic and spiced up with samples about religious freaks.

Lukáš’, based in the capital Bratislava, side is more mellow and ominous, but before all of this a blissfully inapt saccharine start off with a sample about boosting your business. It also includes some distant flickers of light on tracks like “Rajda”. Trippy slabs of noise appear and reappear, tweaks and knob-twisting, mangled samples with quotes like “Don’t be the message. Be the messenger.” The medium is the message this time - in a meta way and literally - the tape, aides the lo-fi nature of the content and the intent, though you still can download it - digitally - here as well.

This article was supported by the Intenda Foundation.

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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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The Pink Cowboys of Forum Absurdum
6 months 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
7 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
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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