eurovision

hickraine-sonicWell my fellow eurotrash, after a busy weekend enjoying myself and ignoring this irritating blog it’s looking increasingly unlikely we’ll actually make it around the 28 EU member states in the 28 days of February. It’s pancake day for one thing, and I’m not about to give up my weird not exactly catholic national heritage day of feasting just because I have pancakes every saturday, no indeed. Not to fret, having dug through some favourites from 2016 to shake out the first half I’ve quite warmed to the challenge of what can be found in the further corners of the euro musique-mart if you set out to looking for it. Now, searching for music by nationality is a curious way to go about things but it does throw up stuff you might otherwise never have found. A lot of it pretty bad. That thing about not judging a book by its cover? Maybe people worked hard to make that artwork fit with and represent the music it accompanies. Or maybe they just used a bunch of shockingly pervasive and easily read genre clichés to save time. Black Metal and Techno are among the worst offenders in this respect, if far from the only ones. Lets just say there’s a stronger subcultural identity there shall we? Anyways, as I pointed last week that one of the many things that bind us as a continent was black metal, so it is with techno (and, lamentably, all kinds of psy-trance and electro pop horrors). Now, let’s have a good, stiff, drink and get out there amongst it eh?

bulgaria

This is only the fourth release from Sofia’s DVNTT –  a new techno/experimental imprint. First track takes the crown for best title with ‘Prone to Verbosity’ (I know a guy like that, don’t you?) it kicks in with a claustrophobic pulse slowly adding elements until it dissolves into a rather lovely melodic noise meltdown that hovers for just as long as it can before everything comes smacking back in eventually building up to a worrying swarm of bugs knocking itself off kilter. The other tracks are good too but that ones the pick of the bunch. Annoyed by the apparent missing S in Diaster I found myself googling it so you don’t have to – it may, or may not, have something to do with Diastereomer who knows?

malta-bones

Hot off the presses people! Microlith has a new EP arriving presently on Sheffield’s CPU. Only one we can stream at the moment is called ‘8oh8 Freight’, which is a shame ‘cos who doesn’t want to hear a tune called ‘Acid In A Church’ right? The clues are right there in the titles, couldn’t make it more plain really this is all the way squelchy, wibbling, wobbling acid. Everything on what I guess are now the retro or vintage settings, endearingly rubbish electro handclaps – all that business. It’s bright and breezy and interesting enough not to be pointless, made in a clean, white space that dreamt of a bright future that we lost along the way. It’s a bit like that recent pHarmerz record only without all the agricultural filth all over it. The bright clear skies of the mediterranean not the west country mud. Not as wildly inventive as the Analord stuff but in that area. Whole album’s worth from last year here too, includes the splendid ‘Bouncy Castle’ . . .

croatia

Croatia proved a little trickier at first but behold the marvel that is the Low Income $quad. ‘A record label for the true folks’, a local label for local people, if you will. They’ve a taste for the crappy pixelated imagery of old video games and this is their fourth compilation of rough and ready techno that sounds like it was made on similarly dated and wheezing gear. There’s plenty of murk and distortion, buckets of hiss and grating sheets of noise. Mmmm, delicious. Throughout the whole thing there’s a strong live on hardware vibe and a general ‘waking up in a dank basement when the party is over but not dead yet’ mood. ‘Dank’ as the young people allegedly say. None of the names here are familiar to me and the aesthetic is so consistent you can’t help but suspect some, if not many, aliases are at work. Turns out Ford Foster and Drvg Cvltvre have appeared on the previous installments knocking down both the theory of one core group or individual and of it being exclusively drawn from a shadowy Croatian underground. Nonetheless – it’s an enjoyably dysfunctional ride. The best title nod goes to Qnete for ‘Balls Hanging Out Of Pants’, Yeah, cheers for that one mate.

tallin

Meanwhile, in Tallin Estonia . . . last Friday saw the arrival of this latest EP from the insanely prolific Oudeis. It’s more a sci-fi synth thing than actual techno to be fair with you but it is lovely and full of warm, swooshing, dramatic synths. As best I can tell this is something of a new development although he seems to like tinkering with a variety of forms, (‘Electronica, hard- and darkcore, dnb, IDM, derpstep, techno, Slavic and Middle-Eastern folk, mental delusions, noise, dark ambient, drone’) there’s loads and loads of music on his bandcamp site and most of it is name you price if you want to investigate. Here as a bonus is the much darker, colder, moodier ‘Premonition’. oooooh, spooky.

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