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.
Budapest has fully brought out the flaneur in me; the most important part of my daily routine involving a random stroll in the city’s seventh, eighth and ninth districts. Somehow I always ended up in Józsefváros, dubbed the “ghetto” by the locals, enthralled by its brutish beauty and languid, nostalgic atmosphere. Musically, as elsewhere, not much was happening in the summer, though I guess I have been immersed in the world of Hungarian patriotic rock for a documentary I’ve been working on, which is another story. The Farbwechsel crew has been super active as always, not only being the life and soul of every decent party in town, but also becoming an umbrella for several remarkable musicians from this country who have emerged in the last two or three years. The following remix EP only reinforces this, and features homegrown talent from Imre Kiss—who’s actually from Slovakia (same as me, the Slovak-Hungarian mixed territory)—Asio Otus or Stanley Maneuver; the label boss S Olbricht, naturally, also has a hand.
As I write this, I’ve just come back from a festival in northeastern Slovakia, a bucolic part of the country in the vicinity of the Polish border. It’s interesting to observe the differences between such geographically close parts of this region. The overtly religious and traditional Spiš region is mellow and ideal for unwinding, and my preconceptions about its poverty prove unfounded. I regret not going to Poland in spite of the proximity; the country’s music scene is still the most diverse in Central/Eastern Europe (which is probably understandable considering its size and musical heritage). Sangoplasmo is one of first labels I noticed since becoming involved in the Easterndaze project. Renowned for its affinity for the offbeat and the eccentric, Sangoplasmo has brought out several noteworthy releases. Among those upcoming is one by Sangopolasmo’s heart and soul, Lubomir Grzelak under his Lutto Lento alias (pictured at the top of the page) featuring Enya remixes and various mangled samples. “I’m really into reading myths and legends for a long long time. At the same time I’m into anthropology, biology and cryptozoology. I guess it’s just my need for exoticism,” he told us.
LOM is a great label from Slovakia, established by Institute of Sonology graduate Jonáš Gruska, extolling experimentation instead of ornamentation, avant-garde instead of the accustomed. Jonáš has returned back from his studies in The Hague, set up a mastering studio and embraced the burgeoning Bratislava underground sonic scene, venue-wise centered around the amazing FUGA club. Jonáš’ latest music output doesn’t appear on his own imprint, but on the Russian Cyland Audio Archive on 7.5″ polycarbonate squares. It’s an extraterrestrial journey into outer spaces, as if revisiting X-102/Underground Resistance’s Rings of Saturn.
Bucharest’s Somnoroase Pasarele are a duo composed of two recognized Romanian visual artists who also make decidely otherworldy music, which is firmly rooted in humanness. It’s fragile and demented, beautiful in its sonic strangeness, yet weirdly familiar. We are releasing their debut album entitled ABECD soon on Baba Vanga, and proudly so. Here is a remix recontextualizing the samples off the album courtesy of fellow Romanian musician, Miron Ghiu.~
You can read previous editions of Eastern Haze here.
Published September 12, 2013. Words by Lucia Udvardyova.