Coverage of the exciting rave scene emerging in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, often revolves around the mammoth local club Bassiani; we published our own feature on the techno temple last year. Yet as we learned in the course of creating a photo tour of the city’s other clubs and nightlife venues, there’s a legion of house and techno heads soldiering just under the radar to make their scene one of the most fertile in the world. In the interest of deepening our knowledge of the Georgian underground, we tapped a native producer—Gacha, who has returned to the R&S sub-label Apollo under his first and last name, Bakradze—to give us a rundown of some of his most respected contemporaries.
Nika Machaidze was one of the first musicians to start making ambient music in Georgia. He’s also a composer and a filmmaker, and he’s best known for his electronic music projects Nikakoi and Erast. He started making electronic music in the mid ’90s in Tbilisi. There was no electricity, the country had little food and the economic situation was at an all-time low. His music captured the mood of this period. I’m really proud that I had the opportunity to release his latest EP, Raise Your Head And Smell The Air, on my label Transfigured Time.
Natalia Beridze’s music is really touching—she’s no doubt one of the most interesting musicians in Georgia right now. Sadly, I missed her live performance at Tbilisi’s SOU Festival as I was playing somewhere else, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to hear her live in the future. She’s collaborating with artists such as Japanese composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, German techno producer Thomas Brinkmann and the film director Nika Machaidze. I’m happy that we’ve also had a chance to work together on multiple projects. Natalie released the album Guliagava last year on German label Monika Enterprise.
Ana Jikia is an artist based in Berlin whose sound is influenced by post-internet culture. She’s sincere in what she’s doing. I think a lot about trying to make art using inspiration from digital media and the internet.
Vazhmarr makes music with tapes, loops, field recordings and guitar samples. His sound reminds me of a more organic approach to ’90s ambient. To me, it really reflects the sound of Tbilisi.
Sandro Chinchaladze (a.k.a. TeTe Noise) is another wonderful example of a Georgian artist with a truly personal and unique approach to music. He’s performed in many bands in the past, and at one point we even had a band together. He also recently performed at SOU Festival with a full orchestra.
David, in my opinion, is a very underrated artist. He also composes under several other monikers, like Jordan Blacksmith; his track “Naja” under this project was featured in Transfigured Time’s 2015 compilation EP, Ritual In Transfigured Time Vol. 2. He also has a very good project with Irakli Abramishvili and Gigi Jikia (a.k.a. HVL). Their music unfolds through improvisation. It’s about capturing the moment.
Rezo is a sailor and spends a lot of time traveling the sea, so his music is created in various parts of the world. He even records sounds at waterfronts, airports and other public places that he integrates into his compositions. I highly recommend his album Budapest And The Diary Of The Second Officer.
HVL and I started making music around the same time, and we both had bands before we started making music as solo performers. About six or seven years ago, we regularly played at a club called Café Gallery. At that time, Georgian club culture was comparably new, and the music that we were playing was really unusual for a lot of people. Now he’s a resident at Bassiani. He’s still making music that pushes boundaries.
Gacha Bakradze will release a new EP, We Must Be Woods, on Apollo Records August 18. Cover photo by Natia Getiashvili from our recent Pics Or It Didn’t Happen photo column on Tbilisi, which you can see here.