Sven Grünberg – Hingus (Bureau B BB 241LP – 1981/2016)

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Sven Grünberg is real name of a real person and he is not a fictional Lufthansa engineer who secretly became electronic musician in the 1970s and appeared from the obscurity later. Grünberg, who turns 60 this November, was born in the Estonian capital Tallinn and cut his teeth in the local seventies bands Ornament and Mess, acting in the latter as composer, singer and instrumentalist. A graduate of a music college in Tallinn, Grünberg decided to become electronic musician in (then) Soviet Union where he was not a loner, if to recall from the previous generation Eduard Artemyev who wrote scores […]

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News: Fylkingen unearths text-sound series from the 1970s

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Der Schaumreiter scheitert in einem Raum voll Scheiter. Vapeurs en fleurs vous lêtes tourbillons de gaz amoreux. These are two extracts from the poems of the Estonian-born multi-talent Ilmar Laaban who was primarily known for his surrealist and intense poetry but as an artist with the gift of music he was keen to explore the melodic side of his weird works in the form of so-called ‘häälutused’ (soundations). In 1998, a few years before his passing, Swedish label avant-garde label Fylkingen Records collected the works of Laaban who had found refuge in Sweden during the WWII and belonged to the country’s wild verse innovators through decades. Laaban also appeared […]

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Various – TEK DEF (Trash Can Dance TCD902015 – 2015)

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Children and parents, if you happen to have some idle cassettes in your household, Uncle Gert ‘Trash’ Moser would be a grateful receiver of those, to give them a new life and spread the message of music. A restless advocate of Estonian alternative and electronic scene, Trash has been running his DIY label Trash Can Dance for a couple of years and is showing severe signs of cassette affection. With “TEK DEF”, Trash has completed a compilation of local techno, a real hand-made product of recycled cassettes that come in three different insert designs. For the start, serious techno heads should not be turned away […]

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Hüpnosaurus – Where Am I? (Wicked Bass WB017 – 2015)

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It would be unthinkable to speak about Estonian electronic music without saying a word about Hüpnosaurus (or Hypnosaurus), a project launched by Aivar Tõnso in the beginning of the 1990s and later co-run with Raul Saaremets, nowadays known as Ajukaja. Initially a live act of Tõnso and Railo Pals, Hüpnosaurus became an institution for synthetic sounds in Estonia, throwing impressive live gigs over the years at various locations and performing as a DJ team called Hypnitro Soundsystem. The musical inspiration tracks back to Tõnso’s early age, when he got interested in electronic sounds and sci-fi fantasies, which all led to […]

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Artur Lääts – Apollo EP (Mürk Records MRKR001 – 2015)

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Artur Lääts was one of the DJs at the launch party of Mürk (Poison), a series of techno nights in Tallinn. That moment, he and Mürk’s promotor Hugo Murutar hardly thought, maybe only dreamed, about conceiving a self-titled record label. But after running a kickstarter campaign, Mürk Records became reality and the inaugural MRKR001 was officially released in September. Lääts can’t be regarded as a freshman, because already in 2010 he debuted on Contrast-R (Belgium), followed by a cyclonic digi EP on the Australian label Gynoid Audio. For the vinyl debut, Lääts has dropped his earlier Glitchfxx moniker, which might […]

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MOVIE & SOUND: Test pilota Pirxa / Navigaator Pirx (1979)

Oddly enough, the Eastern bloc regimes that practised bogus communism, tolerated sci-fi themes in arts and literature, despite of treating suspiciously anything what seemed even a little bit ambiguous. In the times when artists had to live with constant unease of having their works censored, may it be for wrong colours used in a painting or for the word use in poetry, the sci-fi could have been an especially risky business. Maybe the abstractions related to unknown territories and times were regarded as harmful enough for not threatening the existence of the rulers. I believe there are scholars familiar with […]

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KUUM suvi 1995: Siim Nestor Liivimaa elektroonikast – Neuron Phase, Lu:k, Drone jt

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[This post in Estonian only, about the mid-1990s electronic music scene in Estonia as featured in KUUM magazine in the summer of 1995.] Becki miniposter ja Mr Lawrence’i või Vennaskonna feature oli väärt lugemine, kuid ajakirja KUUM 1995. aasta suvenumbrist jäi kõigepealt silma Siim Nestori ülevaade Liivimaa elektroonikast. Jutuks Neuron Phase, Lu:k, Drone ja teised tegelased Põltsamaast lõuna poole, aga ka Eesti elektroonika skene tervikuna.KUUM oli Pirita linnaosas Erik Morna juhtimisel ilmunud ajakiri, mis interneti-eelsel ajastul oli asendamatu infoallikas kohaliku ja piiritaguse moodsa muusika kajastamisel ning andis välja ka mõned kohalike artistide kassetid.

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PARTY REPORT: TehnoTasand with Mono Junk [DJ], Rajaleidja [Live] in Tallinn (August 1, 2014)

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Mono Junk at the decks (Photo: TehnoTasand) A small anniversary for TehnoTasand series of techno parties in Tallinn, when the tenth edition was held in Kultuurikatla Aed, a semi open-air venue close to the Old Town. Nice weather and pleasant ambience, with some people playing table tennis in the yard, attracted a sizable crowd that indicated increasing interest in techno in the Estonian capital.Harder beats were found in so-called Kanal B room where MÜRK resident Artur Lääts got the things moving with a solid set, including a secret weapon, Gareth Wild’s “Get Raw” mixed with ever-present “Losing Control” and the […]

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TIC – Sompa (Trash Can Dance TCD542014 – 2014)

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Oil shale is the Estonian gold, excavated in the underground mines in the Eastern part of the country – exactly how it is depicted on the CD cover. A band rooted in death metal, grindcore and punk, the three-member TIC was part of the region’s musical underground in the beginning of the 1990s. Those influences dominated in the group’s debut tape recovered now from the archives by Trash Can Dance label.The album “Sompa”, dedicated to a desolate mining village of the same name, is filled with post-punk aggressions, like the title track “Sompa” and “Mädapea” (“Rotten Head”). Occasional wave and […]

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Tornaado – Instrumentaaltsükkel “Regatt” (Frotee Records FRO001 – 2013)

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The year 2013 saw the birth of the Estonian label Frotee Records, in search of the Balearic beat of the Baltics and doing it with vinyl pressings of long-lost compositions.The label debuted with an EP by a band called Tornaado, thus going back to the year 1979 when Lada, the Soviet worker’s limousine, celebrated the ninth birthday and Pepsi hit some upmarket stores in Estonia. The yachting regatta of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was at the gate in Tallinn, the medieval city preparing for the event of sports and peace, actually boycotted by many Western countries.The funk had arrived across the […]

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