10 Tracks That Defined Rominimal, Romania's Favorite Music – Telekom Electronic Beats

10 Tracks That Defined Rominimal, Romania’s Favorite Music

Go beyond [ar:pia:r] and discover the artists who have shaped "rominimal," Romania's specific and pervasive club sound.

When the promoters behind the Romanian party and festival series Interval announced its closure last December, we took it as proof that their project to open up their countrymen’s hearts and minds to international sounds had failed. Romanians, we thought, had signaled once again that they would only dance to an insular group of homegrown DJs who push a particular sound purveyed by local artists known as “rominimal.” “There’s absolutely no demand or awareness for someone like Ben UFO or Jackmaster,” Interval’s Stefan Maritiu told us in 2016 in our feature on Bucharest’s response to the fire at a concert venue that took the lives of over 60 people in 2015. “They wouldn’t gather a crowd of 200 in Bucharest even if they were playing back-to-back.”

Rominimal DJs, on the other hand, draw thousands to never-ending parties in their home country and to festival stages abroad. That’s especially true for the style’s number-one flag-bearers, [ar:pia:r], the trio made up of Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu and Raresh. While older tech-house DJs are credited with creating the initial germ for “rominimal,” it’s [ar:pia:r] whose names have become synonymous with the style’s post-Villalobosian squelch and click, its simmering atmospherics, dubby basslines and hypnotic micro-melodies. Their work over the last decade or so has inspired a wave of newer Romanian artists—all of whom are male except for Alexandra, who DJs and runs a label but hasn’t yet released a track of her own—who have collectively made rominimal into a bona fide genre that we’ve traced in the guide below.