The Week in EB feature is a platter of the finest cuts of EB content, served up in one place, once a week. The idea is that it offers you an opportunity to catch up with what we’ve been getting excited about over the last seven days. Of course, it’s become a truism to remark that we live in an era of information saturation; where every day our attention spans are torn asunder by channels competing for our eyes and ears and keystrokes and mouseclicks. Nevermind all that, though, sometimes quality is where it’s at. Here’s the cream of the crop.
Life Of Grime: An interview with Wen
The Keysound Recordings-signed British producer’s strain of grime and dubstep starts at 130 bpm and stakes bold new claim in now classic territories.
High Anxiety: An interview with Autre Ne Veut
Adam Harper speaks with the pop auteur, signed to Oneohtrix Point Never‘s Software label, making art from the dark side of the human condition.
Downwards is the Only Way Forward: An interview with Regis
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Downwards label. Angus Finlayson speaks to co-founder Regis about the label’s origins, future, and the artists that have shaped both. Before British Murder Boys and after Sandwell District, Downwards remains.
Eastern Haze: February
As Eastern Europe’s sense of political discontent grows, February’s edition of Eastern Haze explores how music is reacting to and reflecting the collective mood.
Baba Vanga, aka Вангелия Гущерова, is a legendary persona of the Communist mystical tradition. Baba Vanga, the sonic proselytizer, will focus primarily on idiosyncratic musicians from Eastern Europe. Inspired by the aforementioned lady, the imprint kickstarts with a release by Střed Světa – center of the world – with an eponymous album, released on January 23rd—an edition of 111 cassettes presenting a psychedelic voyage into out-there techno, layering of samples and non-linear story-telling. Střed Světa is based somewhere between the outer reaches of Prague suburbia and the world, making music as a part of his quotidian activities for more than a decade. A self-professed misanthrope, who doesn’t mind company, delves deeper into the recesses of his aural memory to recontextualize influences ranging from German rave to IDM, but transgressing and subverting any genre-based limitations, utilizing a deliberate “slap-dash” modus operandi. An expression that is like controlled stream of consciousness, a lysergic trip through deeper recesses of one’s mind, with distant melodies, detours and rythmic delineations.
PS: the website code is drawn from the date of birth and death of the real Baba Vanga.
December in music, or any kind of culture journalism for that matter, seems to be a month of lists and thein endless regurgitations. I sometimes wonder how come that in spite of the fact that there is in increasing amount of music out there—to the point of sonic gluttony—journalists and fans tend to replicate some sort of media directives with a handful of names and albums on rotation. Are we living in an era of democratization and proliferation of music production or is it still the case of the old gatekeepers situated in the few centers who decide what gets heard and hyped and what doesn’t?
2012 was a year soaked in pre-apocalyptic anxious sonic darkness—not surprising since the end of the world has already happened by the time you read this. Since I’m a certified melancholiac, I’ve been almost naturally drawn to music from imprints like Blackest Ever Black, PAN, Mordant Music, Hospital Productions, etc and their guttural, quasi techno productions. Somehow it felt as if I found myself again on that dancefloor at the former nuclear bunker U.Club in Bratislava at a Downwards party in 1998. Actually, not at the event itself but on my way home on the first train still hearing echoes of bass and kick drums in my head. This time around, it is all coated in perspective of a second order observer coupled with the general messed up global situation and lack of any viable future alternatives filtered through a fog of desolation, orientalism and psychotropic hallucinations.
2012 was also a year of our East European explorations—as documented for instance in the Eastern Haze column. This autumn we set out to Bulgaria (check out our visual memories here), which turned out to be much more exotic than I had thought. Merging oriental influences with Orthodox religion and communism, this southern European country is a strange mixture of post-communist entropy and charming people and places. Sitting at the top of the Soviet monument in the seaside resort of Varna, with the husband and wife musician couple Жълти Стъклa, him strumming the guitar, her singing with her slightly hoarse voice, the breeze caressing our faces.
Which also brings me back to the first paragraph, so much good music we encounter never gets the attention it deserves. For instance the resurrected Polish label Mik Musik, and their vivacious string of releases, especially within their super secret editions, each of which hovers in some liminal sonic space where echoes of techno merge with experimental electronics and psychedelia. RSS Boys, Mangrove Mangrave, Pawel Pesel or Bangeliz are definitely worth keeping and eye and ear for.
Photo: Peter Gonda
We don’t need to tell you that we live in an era of information surplus; where every day our attention spans are torn asunder by channels competing for our eyes and ears and keystrokes—and that’s before IRL gets involved, too. I swear if I neglect my Google Reader for one day more it’s going to freak. We don’t expect you to catch every piece of content that goes up on EB, as much as we would like you to. This is why we’ve come up with the Weekly Round-Up, a Sunday digest of all our favorite content from the preceding seven days that may have slipped under the radar. Time to kick back with your beverage of choice and get stuck in.
Walter W. Wacht interviews the Berlin-based artist Carl Schilde in the wake of his conceptual “WOW” release.
D. Strauss reviews Scritti Politti‘s first live gig in Berlin since 1979.
This week’s EB Premiere came courtesy of Panama and Dave DK.
With Diversions 1994 – 1996 already released and Dutch Tvasher Plumes incoming, Lee Gamble explains to Louise Brailey why he has no interest in making hauntological documents.
Lucia Urdvardyova drops in with the November instalment of her Eastern Haze column.
November embodies melancholia, that’s a given. I continue my homeless, nomadic existence, a wannabe-sailor whose playground isn’t the deep blue sea but chaotic urban mazes. At the moment I’m stationed in Budapest, a city that basks in its golden Austro-Hungarian past with its grand boulevards and derelict inner city townhouses, inviting you to dine at places like “Hungarian Memories” or the “Nosztalgia Étterem”. It drowns me in sentimentality and sadness for phantom recollections of experiences I’ve never had. As I write this, I’m delving deeper into the elusive sounds of Mangrove Mangrave, whose album just came out on Mik Musik!, a label I cannot stop extolling in this column. Dark without the need to flaunt it, subtly harrowing, but utterly groovy and compelling.
Another favored Polish imprint, the cassette label Sangoplasmo, excels at bringing out hypnotic, psychedelic compositions. Suaves Figures is a collaboration between Piotr Kurek, whose previous album Heat was released by Foxy Digitalis, and Sylvia Monnier. The Warsaw-Lyon connection has spawned a synth-heavy kosmische creation, out for your listening pleasure alongside Lutto Lento – aka Sangoplasmo boss Lubomir Adam Grzelak, and The Phantom‘s latest offerings.
Budapest-based synth duo SILF, composed of music student Martin Mikolai and Bálint Zelkei, are perhaps an odd inclusion considering their apparently bon vivant music, but only at first listen. The inherent addictively languid “opium house” has nostalgia emanating from their vintage gear. Those who know Mikolai’s solo project Stefan Olbricht and his imprint Farbwechsel will see similarities in SILF. Catch them live on December 11 supporting Led Er Est in Budapest.
Aches is a British Bratislava transplant whose latest EP Easy Ghost, out on the Slovak label Exitab—in sync at least verbally with this month’s sonic “theme”—features a remix by Glasgow’s Dam Mantle, and the plaintive, bass-heavy Ink Midget rendition. This fresh-faced Slovak producer has just released his own debut album Re-Leave on the aforementioned imprint.
Interested in more obscure and exciting music from Eastern Europe? Head to Easterndaze.