August 25, 2017
Ion din Dorobanti is a recently released project born out of the Romanian music collective Future Nuggets and a half member of the new duo Raze de Soare. Ion din Dorobanți is one of the many monikers of the ubiquitous producer Ion Dumitrescu from Bucharest. He is also the co-initiator of the Future Nuggets label and its sub-label P-Balans.
Over the years he produced several notable releases, including Steaua de Mare debut LP, the first LP of the legendary band Rodion G.A together with Strut Records (London), Raze de Soare EP and produced or co-produced many of the entities on both volumes of Sounds of the Unheard from Romania compilation. Together with Camil Dumitrescu (The Holy Fix) they form Delusion Men.
On P-Balans imprint, Ion Dumitrescu endevours with club-oriented laboratory work, keeping intact the "delics" of each genre compressed in the amalgam.
Here's four free downloadable vocoderized interpretations of certain Romanian (proto)-manele, which where recorded between the 70s and the 90s.
Here’s a simple question: How many bricks do you need to build a wall? Of course, it depends on the wall’s height and thickness, you may respond. But the slow and dull process of adding bricks to that wall end at some point, when the new built wall feels solid, secure and indestructible. And all these bricks on different colors and energies build a construction. Some of the bricks fall down. Some break. Inefficient. And then, the process of constructing starts from exactly the same point where the previous builder has left it last. But what if the wall will never be finished? What if it’s an ongoing process with a never-ending story?
Contrary to common European beliefs, the Romanian contemporary music scene is still deeply entrenched in absurd, at the moment. I’m sure - at least - some of the Romanian fellows and readers are aware of this strange paradox, which the music scene of today suffers of. Even if Romania is very well connected to the international cultural environment, and a lot of things are actually happening here (take for example centers like Bucharest, Cluj – Napoca, Brașov, Sibiu, Iași, etc.), we still can’t really talk about a fruitful music scene, an own music scene that emboldens and encourages the act of creation, that puts quality above quantity, that stays true to a personal vision and doesn’t interfere with the mainstream circuit, that is aware of the rich music heritage and emulates it in any way, one that is ready to take some risks. Except a few examples, Bucharest is still very poor, in terms of music being made here.
Besides the - so-called - ‘Romanian minimal house’ sound that all the kids of these days are abusing of, (a flippant encyclopedia of loops, which made its way to insipid and huge international techno/house festivals), the contemporary scene is tedious and lacks a certain amount of quality. The way I see it, most of the Romanian musicians from nowadays have chosen the easy way, in order to become ‘famous’, adopting their sound and personal values, if any, to duplicated music, that - most of it - sounds the same. It’s like a factory; but a very tiny one. Easy come, easy go. The few exceptions seem to be left behind, covering their potential and creativity with resignation and passivity. There seems to be a sense of creation, which is gone now. We just import and adjust foreign paradigms; we don’t think about what to do, but how to do it.
One of the exceptions in this arid musical field is the collective Future Nuggets. Over the past five years, they have put out a consistent amount of music. They released two volumes of the Sounds of the Unheard from Romania VA compilation (featuring local producers under different names, projects and concepts), an LP of the band Steaua de Mare and Raze de Soare. They are also responsible for the re-discovery of the lost tapes of the new-wave character Rodion Roșca and his band Rodion GA, which led to 2 albums released on Strut Records.
Following a strategy similar to the one used by Genesis P-Orridge - who released two acid house compilations in ’88 (Jack The Tab and Tekno Acid Beat) under different projects and fake aliases, in order to create a so-called acid house scene - Future Nuggets it’s actually just a small crew of dedicated musicians who assigned different projects: Ion Dumitrescu, Horațiu Șerbănescu, Andrei Dinescu and Camil Dumitrescu, amongst few others. Their second volume of the VA compilation ‘Sounds of the Unheard from Romania’ just came out on double vinyl, with ''intense tracks gathered from the contemporary margins of the international world, the deep south-east.''
Future Nuggets is a group of Romanian producers, diggers and musicians in their search for a local psychedelic scene, informed by the past but made for the times to come. The collective has released over the years two volumes of the Sounds of the Unheard from Romania VA compilation (featuring local producers under different names, projects and concepts), an LP of the band Steaua de Mare and Raze de Soare. They are also responsible for the re-discovery of the lost tapes from the new wave band Rodion GA, which led to 2 albums released on Strut Records. Here's an interview with band leader Rodion Rosca, in case you missed the story.
Romanian manele - the contemporary Rroma music that has spread around the Balkans with different flavors and modulations - is living off the wedding industry. Musicians release singles and YouTube videos just to ensure the flow of wedding gigs (similar to dabke or halay artists). Sometimes the music is hybridized with pop and dance beats in an attempt at the mainstream, but local manele stars usually earn their main money at mafia bosses’ family events. Manele music never gets aired on radio (a characteristic with clear shades of discrimination towards the Rroma people) while TV stations have embraced it periodically in a tabloid way. Although there are hundreds of manele artists, they all operate through two or three agents, and recording and production is limited to very few studios.
The overlapping of the mainstream and underground is a common contemporary Outernational paradox. The manele case is very telling, being both underground and overground, having millions of listeners but never showing up in local tops. Even if orthodox (Western) market procedures operate in some of these border societies, with states joining the European Union, others maintain an Outernational dynamic with kinship industries, mass piracy, and unfettered copyright infringement.
Read more - The Outernational Condition