It is the year 2014, in Bucharest, a city that precipitated to jump over big gaps left behind by decades of discontinuous, fragmented electronic music history, in a burning desire to become one of Europe’s most dynamic scenes. Live concerts, party labels, ambitious promoters pop up in a startling rhythm, constantly filling in the local agenda. Where does Rokolectiv Festival sit on a 2014 insomniac scene?
Celebrating the 9th edition, Rokolectiv Festival is rather a platform built on small steps and continuity, a pillar that one can get a grip on every spring in an otherwise dizzy and tormenting city. From 24th to 27th of April, the festival continues to highlight off-beaten music trajectories constantly crossing and feeding each other, while simultaneously being fed and feeding the big pot called pop. The line up also winks at the dawn of the white “Western sound”, and the colorful explosion of “outer-national” influences.
The Opening Night is this year hosted by the National Dance Centre. British underground legend William Bennett presents his solo project Cut Hands inspired by Haitian vodou, using Central African percussions like djembe and dundun in an exorcising techno set. "Proto-sonic" could be a suitable term to describe the new project of Stefan Németh (Radian) and Bernhard Breuer (Elektro Guzzi), Innode, as their live show goes from acoustic percussion to raw, unprocessed waveforms generated by analogue synthesizers. To complete the white noise Thursday, Polish DIY producer and synthesizer-constructor Paweł Kulczyński performs his new techno-leaning project, Wilhelm Bras.
Friday and Saturday unfold on the rooftop of the Contemporary Arts Museum, with an array of juicy, bold performers and DJs, and less of the ‘usual suspects’ - those artists pampered and glamourized by the leading off- and online publications. However, a special reverence shall be made to Rokolectiv’s special guest this year: early synth pioneer Adrian Enescu, the man who took Romanian electronic music from cult to profane with his disco-infused hits and spacey soundtracks, brought on stage by the rom-pop archeologists from Discotecă.
It took four decades of digital revolution and few more years of “after-taste”, for music to shift from Enescu’s sound to Liverpool’s enigmatic Forest Swords, with his thunderous grooves and cavernous melodies rubbing shoulders with hip-hop and R&B shuffles. Likewise, Stellar OM Source, a dedicated member of the DIY synthesizer community, revolves new constellations with her mutant drums and synth melodies. In a constantly shifting paradigm, German-Palestinian artist Ghazi Barakat, the man behind the golden mask of Pharoah Chromium, relates his ethno doom infused sound to “meta music”.
On the sunny side, Hush Hush, master of earthly ceremonies, engenders his furious and feverish 'self-styled hit-machine' in a brilliant one-man show; multi talented Londoner Redinho performs a talkbox-meets-synthesizer funk infused solo, whereas Austin DJ / producer Dubbel Dutch drops a panoply of collective global styles including UK House and Grime, South African House, Kuduro, and Rap/RnB. For the epic ending, Santiago-born Alejandro Paz returns to Bucharest to give a new preaching on what Cómeme stands for: bodies that give themselves away!
Expect some of these names to pop up at Guest House for the after-party on Sunday, hosted by Bucharest’s own Bogman and Alexandra.
Alongside the rooftop performances, MNAC’s face-lifted 4th floor will host a selection of special projects, with an intervention of the art and design collective Apparatus 22, Sillyconductor’s Pianosaurus and Monotremu’ Q.E.F. installations.