In her monthly report, Lucia Udvardyova tracks the movements in and from the best of the Central and Eastern European sonic underground, distilling the best of her Easterndaze blog.
I’m freshly returned from another Central European trek—literally, since I’ve coincidentally hung out with my friends who played a couple of gigs in the ex-Austro-Hungarian empire. I’m using this rather anachronistic imperialistic expression deliberately since Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava are just soaked in monarchist nostalgia, each in their own way. Touring with a band is great, even if the band in question doesn’t indulge in too much Spinal Tap-style debauchery. The on-the-road camaraderie—cemented by gallons of beer, incessant travelling, random half-naked backstage dancing, sleeping at various random places which range from the club you’ve just played at to small town snobby hotels—is surely a godsend for any band. My role largely revolved around taking crappy compact camera photos or moaning because I got sick.
Imre Kiss, mentioned in the previous installment of the column, is a Hungarian producer who’s lived in London and now, presumably, Budapest and one of the rising stars of the Farbwechsel label. His dreamlike compositions are mellow, coated in a characteristically lo-fi haze and range from ambient to house. The remixes of his new record Midnight Wave have been provided, fittingly, by Best Available Technology.
Hot on the heels of mentioning the remix in Eastern Haze’s September dispatch comes the full-length from the Romanian duo Somnoroase Pasarele. Writing about music is like dancing about architecture, apparently, so we might as well be inane here: “All around, musical dunes for Fata Morgana, Yeti in a chairlift, Sisyphus pushing Prometheus in a convertible, Gili does ‘pataphysics technoulipo for the gymnastics of heavenly bodies in the sky and other macrotonal didascalia that remain to be demonstrated”. A wonderfully apt description courtesy of Bandcamp. You can listen to the full album below:
The nineties are a terra incognita when it comes to Eastern Europe and electronic music—not that it’s much different now. The post-communist, so-called “transition” period, hasn’t been documented so well, relegated largely to fleeting oral histories hampered by temporary drug-induced amnesia. Porridge Bullet is a label, based in Estonia, oriented towards releasing noteworthy electronic and dance music from this Baltic country, including the likes of Maria Minerva. One of their latest remarkable releases, which also contains a remix by Hieroglyphic Being, is an unearthed nineties gem: an Estonian techno project called Hypnosaurus. “The picture on the 12-inch B-side is actually taken at the party attended by the late and great John Peel. Visiting Tallinn thanks to a BBC World Service happening, he came to check out some Estonian underground acts. It was the third live performance of Hypnosaurus,” says Siim Nestor of Porridge Bullet. You can read the whole interview with the label owners here. ~
You can read previous editions of Eastern Haze here.