Electronic Music in Belarus – short intro
So many times have we heard this question from our foreign friends and colleagues:
– What good electronic music from Belarus do you recommend?
Finally, we’ve decided to make this short overview of the current Belarusian electronic scene. It doesn’t mention all the interesting stuff, but can serve as a starting point for your further explorations.
There’s a diverse and interesting DJ-scene in the country, but in this article we’ll speak about the musicians and labels who release their music. And we’ll mostly focus on projects active in the recent years.
Electronic music scene in Belarus started to emerge in the early 1990’s. The first proper electronic parties happened in 1992-1993, and in 1994-1997 local electronic projects appeared and started playing live gigs – Safety Matches, Vacuumable, Dull Green Lab, Elements of Sci-Fi, Autism, Alex Coostoff.
Delta 9 records
The first electronic music label in Minsk – Delta9 – was founded in 1996.
“Delta 9 was the first and – for several years in the 90’s – the only record label in Belarus dedicated entirely to electronic music in its vast stylistic diversity. Delta 9 significantly influenced the whole underground music scene of the country, inspiring a new generation of independently thinking youths and triggering appearance of dozens electronic music artists. The label has released a couple of tape/CD recordings and has co-hosted many gigs and music festivals before ceasing to exist in the early 2000’s.” source
Almost no music made in Belarus in mid-90’s was available on the internet, so we’ve asked Delta 9 head – Vadim Militsin (aka Autism, Spastic Fingers, Nemou, Robotov-Millentrop) – to reveal some of their gems previously available on dusty cassettes or CDs only:
You can also find some of the artists from that era on the compilations released by Segment records launched by Vadim Militsin after his move to NYC in the yearly 2000s.
You’ll find more examples of Segment’s releases – by Belarusian and international artists – on the label’s soundcloud .
Gizmo Lab records & Electrokids
Some of Gizmo Lab artists worked also with Electrokids.org community famous for their festival ‘System of Electronic Madness’ held in 2002-2012. If you have an account at VK.com, you can check the large free Electrokids-maintained catalog of Belarusian electronic music.
Gizmo Lab Records
Techno label created by Energun – our oldest techno band that grew out of Safety Matches project. Since 1997 they’ve gone through several transformation phases, retaining the quality of their music. Launched couple of years ago, Enegrun records release rough, hard and groovy techno by Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian artists.
H-A-Z-E & Vlad Buben
H-A-Z-E, lead by Dzmitry Ladzes (aka Aortha) has released around 200 (!) albums and compilation of Belarusian and international artists working in the realms of experimental, avant-garde and eclectic music.
Closely associated with the H-A-Z-E label and one the most musically active electronic artists in Belarus, Vladislav Buben has an impressive release catalog – encompassing so many genres (from tape experiments to hardcore) that it’s hard to choose an example!
We’ve been around since 2008 making parties with local artists and foreign guests like Mikkel Metal, Uusitalo or Pole. In 2009 we launched a net-label and have issued 16 releases and 10 podcasts so far – ambient, experimental, glitch, IDM, dub techno and electro by Alexander Martovsky, Alexei De Bronhe, Harmash aka I/DEX, HHTP, KoW vs Eepl cat, Parametric, Pavel Ambiont, Sanytch, Uncou, Viktar Siamashka and several more musicians from Belarus and the neighboring countries.
Created by Nieviadomy Artyst / Pavel Ambiont and Alexei Sfourds, Force Carriers label releases various shades of techno. We recommend ‘Stellar Obsession’ compilation, containing electro and deep space techno by artists from several ‘waves’ of Belarusian electronics, including two of the ‘founders’ – Vadim Militsin and Nikita Chudiakov (Voehn, Elements of Sci-Fi).
ByZond Records & Grave Board Clan
Live electronic music community and label with strong roots in DIY and electropunk. They play break-beat, jungle, electro, bass, juke / footwork, 8-bit and what not.
Although GBC / ByZond arists do record and release their music sometimes, you better catch them live or watch their crazy web-TV show Tape Live. Improvisation and live beat-making are the keywords here – and Alexei De Bronhe is our favorite!
Solanic releases beautiful experimental electronica, IDM and post-industrial.
Ezhevika label works in the field of Downtempo, Trip-Hop, Hip-Hop and Dubstep.
Ales Tsurko (aka Alexander Martovsky) is a very special phenomenon – a young but academically serious composer making both pure electronic experiments, beautiful post-rock – but his strongest passion is avant-garde / electroacoustics. Together with his like-minded friends he founded SNDM – Society for the Development of New Music.
There’s hardly a chance to catch a music brainiac Artem Atrashevsky aka B_twisted playing solo, but he’s been participating in numerous electronic or acoustic bands and collab projects either adding his ‘special magic’ as a Theremin or bass player, a guitarist or synth master or just as a hidden music–master-mind behind. Check these for example:
Podcast recorded during live set «Bacterial Promoters» (Artem Atrashevsky, Vasily Lukanin, Oleg Suprunovich) and lithuanian artist 6P3S:
Šuma is a unique project merging Belarusian traditional folk songs, acoustic instrumentation and contemporary electronics. Šuma has collaborated with a number of artists, including Alex Goof and Deech.
The list of interesting Belarusian electronic music doesn’t end here obviously – we could go on and on, suggesting you good house by East Soul Person and Schmoltz, Prog/Psy-Trance by Tymek, minimal-techno by Minorscene, Letkolben, and Kago Do or drum-n-bass by Subway Funk, B Cloud and Reborn.
Check the other names from this graph – and keep in mind there are even more artists who are not on this map yet. According to our friends at Far From Moscow, more than 70 electronic projects from Belarus have released music in the last couple of years! See also this YouTube playlist Belarus Electronic Music or these last.fm groups for even more artists – Electronic Music in Belarus, Belarusian Electronic (tag).