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Published July, 2010
by Easterndaze

A Bratislava panorama as seen from Mytna street, three years ago at 4am.

We arrived to Bratislava on the eve of the first Slovak Gay Pride and headed to the Slovak Drama Institute, where the organizers of the pride were screening a documentary about the Stonewall Riots. There we talked to the worn-out Romana Schlesinger, who’s one of the event’s organizers and a leading queer activist in town. Even though Romana could hardly speak, and her husky voice was evidence of countless interviews, the energy and atmosphere was electrifying, revolutionary.

Romana Schlesinger on Otherness by easterndaze

Darkness encroached on the streets of Bratislava. Once one of the former centres of Austro-Hungarian empire, a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city with huge German, Hungarian and Jewish populations, after and during the world wars it was cleansed of all foreign, first by the Slovak government loyal to Hitler, later on by the covertly anti-semitic communist regime. Bratislava lost its soul and after the velvet revolution became a place for a rampant version of “turbo capitalism” that is mostly evident in its aggressive urban development consisting of hundreds housing and multi-purpose shopping projects being built.

A crowd heiling in folk costumes shile listening to the national anthem during the WWII Slovak State

Maybe it is the overall harshness of the local turbo-capitalism that gave rise to a strong and varied  noise/experimental scene in Bratislava. Urbsounds collective is one of the most prominent in Bratislava, having its roots in the local DIY and punk ethos of the early 90’s. Since then its members (counting also Jamka currently living in London) have moved into the domain of experimental electronica. We met up with Michal Urbanfailure and Tobiáš RBNX in a traditional Bratislava watering hole, one of the few remaining ones in the centre. Later on, en route to a centrally located park enveloped by nocturnal soundscapes, we stopped in Hviezda, the only off-licence opened late. Drinking wine straight from the bottle we interviewed Danky/Angakok/Toth who works under his alias ::.: and is the member of the seminal Slovak dark-ambient band Poo as well as other projects such as Angakkut or 1/x

1/X – CHEMOgNoises by easterndaze