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Interview with SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE, Romania’s wonderful music gem

Published October, 2010
by Easterndaze

A hypnotic sonic detonation unleashes. Romania’s SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE is a project of Virgilius Mocanu and Elena Album, currently based in the seaside town Constanta in south-east Romania. 

Somnoroase Pasarele is a poem by Mihai Eminescu, if I’m not mistaken, why did you decide to name your project with this name?
We chose the name Somnoroase Pasarele (Sleepy Birdies) as an extension of our first band name, Bitum. Although we don’t make dark music, the atmosphere tends to become so. Sleepy Birdies is a bed time poem written by Mihai Eminescu, our national poet. If it were a song, it would be a lullaby. The music we make is not reassuring, so the name of the band behaves ironically. This poem is very well known to the romanians, so we relied on that familiarity and sympathy.

Can you describe the set-up, members and history of the band?
Five years ago I began to create music again, after a 15 years break. Before the break I used all kinds of objects of resonance for instruments, including self-made classical instruments, accompanied by pre-recorded, distorted sounds played on magnetic tapes.Experimental music would be the term. Because our expectations were high, we needed strong and enduring equipment, which now we can afford. In the days, I worked with Mugur Grosu (now a writer, also well-experienced in the fine arts), I myself being a graduate of the University of Fine Arts, which is still an active ocuppation of mine, along with the music research. I am now working with Elena Album, also a student at the Fine Arts University, in the multimedia department.

How do you create your sounds?
First of all, our music is disharmonic from the beginning. I am familiar with the piano keyboard (even though I can’t play in the classical sense, I can produce the sounds accordingly with my feelings) so the score goes from basic intuitions played on the piano. After which we use common objects as instruments or even classical instruments that are recorded separately and synthesized on the computer. Sometimes we have fun by setting parameters for generating sounds and then whitout hearing  them, we record in plain silence. The audition and reconciliation with these uncontrolled sound and the postprocessing is the adventure in itself. I use the Apple Logic Pro Studio to elaborate the work sheet to the extent that I want.  The initial sounds are wilfully primitive and are to be orchestrated in this very clear and logical program, satisfying our need to control the composition. Logic Pro stands behind the music, as a recording studio or as musical instruments. The architectural formula of the songs is mostly a repetitive pattern, sequentially entering the orbit of other cycles of patterns.

Your music is composed of a lot of instruments, do you have a musical education? Is multi-instrumentation something that you like in music composition?
Since earliest childhood I was attracted to music. Since I discovered classical music in early adolescence and especially contemporary music (mainly Romanian composers such as Iancu Dumitrescu and others that search the extreme avanguard) until David Prescott there are over 20 years. I like elaborate music and dementia. Elaborated in a way that would support so many interventions and combinations of intruments, almost up to become the orchestra. And dementia because it captures the conventions of taste and logic.

Do you have any releases out and are you planning any? To edit this kind of music and put it in a particular movement is interesting in that it can create positive or negative surprises, but can not blend in with the other songs of the play list. How is the music scene in Constanta, Romania?
The musical scene manifests in Bucharest, so the “villagers” must also produce and manifest here. They can not escape it even in the most noisiest songs. And it’s all because of the oriental influences coming to Dobrogea from Turkish grounds. From my findings, there are too few studies of contemporary music in Romania. This is also a matter of culture, that’s the reason why it circulates and is consumed mainly in artistic environments.

Kado_Kapa (synth and drums) by SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE