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Bułgarskie Wakacje

Published August, 2015
by Easterndaze

Before the fall of communism, holidays in Bulgaria used to be – apart from Croatia – a package holiday bliss for sea-hungry workers from the Eastern European region. Cheap and cheerful, the Bulgarian seaside with its Black Sea was a treasured annual getaway.

Bułgarskie Wakacje is an album of field recordings recorded with Olympus LS-10 in various seaside resorts in the Sunny Beach in the east of Bulgaria during the holiday of BDTA label boss Michał Turowski and Hanna Sabat. Sunny Beach is dubbed the “European Las Vegas”, which already is rather telling. Amusement parks, musicians on the seaside promenade, hotel animators, seagulls, a melange of oriental sounds and trashy dance music, shops and stores, chatter, the hypnotising waves of the sea.

A series of snippets, the album is a somewhat bizarre holiday diary, bizarre in a way that it sounds as a ghost ride in a relict of communist times, it reminds me of my childhood somehow, especially in tracks like Występ Grupy Kolonijnej – Słoneczny Brzeg, Ośrodek Wypoczynkowy, where we hear the faux enthusiastic child-like voice singing in Bulgarian? (the “joyous” children voices were a fave of the communist regime – I was sacked from a children’s choir once, guess I wasn’t enthusiastic much).  

This mixture of a typical post-communist country trying to recover from its turbo-capitalist transition and post 2008 criss coupled with its oriental past as a result of 500 years of Ottoman Rule, makes Bulgaria an idiosyncratic sonic repository – the sound simply never stops, but as soon as one learns to swim in the stream of cacophony, it’s a fascinating ride.

It is impossible to listen to the album without a hint of phantom notalgia, a hauntology soundtrack to a place and time that is a hyperbole of its past, present and (uncertain) future.  

Bułgarskie Wakacje by M. H. Turnusowscy