Last week, a 36-year-old man set fire to himself in the seaside resort of Varna, which we visited in September; a slightly languid sun-soaked city with a disturbing number of starving dogs, ominous Soviet monuments and plenty of holidaymakers. This act of self-destruction-as-political-protest, which echoed the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in 2011—one of the catalysts of the Arab Spring—and the Czech student Jan Palach in the 1960s, happened amid a wave of discontent that has recently spread across Bulgaria. In Hungary, a recent poll has revealed that 33 percent of university students would vote for the far right party Jobbik. Around the same time it has been disclosed that a leading Budapest university’s student body has allegedly kept xenophobic lists of fellow students. Whether this is a symptom of a more global ideological, economic and political radicalization, or just a regional malaise, remains to be seen.
Or are we perhaps just the Victims of Truth? Joyous children’s chants serving as propaganda recontextualised into a haunting elegy, an uncanny dream that is ethereal and menacing at the same time.
MANASyT, originally from Bulgaria but now based in Asia, is one of the most acclaimed electronic producers to come out of the East. A retrospective digital recollection of his oeuvre is available now via his bandcamp. His clinically sculptured beats and cold retro-futuristic atmospheres instantly transfer the listener into a world that is eerie and hopeless, perhaps an apt sonic metaphor for current moods.
Immersed in his modular synthetisers and the physics of sound, Paweł Kulczyński, a sonic artist and musician from southern Poland, sculpts analogue beats and subtle glitches and bleeps. The listener is invited into his analogue microcosm, guided by the steady rhythm, sometimes straying from the path, only to come back disoriented but convinced. His new album Wordless Songs By The Electric Fire under his nom de plume Wilhelm Bras, is out now on Mik Musik.
Velvet Daze. A soothing culmination, a synth-driven apotheosis. Our friends Fuka Lata from Warsaw have developed their sound via cosmic delineations aided by Lee’s dreamy vocals. The track below is lifted from a single, which precedes their full-length album, expected in spring this year.
Interested in more obscure and exciting music from Eastern Europe? Head to Easterndaze.