Boomkat Product Review:
Welcome reissue of Romania’s 1st fully electronic music recording - a fascinating and intrepid example of Spectral Music made at the IPEM Studio in Ghent, Belgium. Big RIYL Horatiu Radelescu, Iancu Dumitrescu, Roland Kayn, Basil Kirchin
Notable not only as the first properly electronic record released in Romania (in 1984), the hallucinatory scapes of ‘Gradeatia • Natural’ also formed the solo debut by Octavian Nemescu, who, along with Horatiu Radelescu and Nemescu’s collaborator, Cornel Cezar, shaped the distinctive, astronomic dimension of the Spectral Music style - one of Romania’s greatest contributions to the wider 20th century electronic music canon.
The LP’s A-side, ‘Gradeatia’ was recorded in 1983 at the esteemed IPEM Studio in Ghent, Belgium. For practically any European artist, access to this studio would have been a big deal, but it was an even more serious opportunity for Nemescu, whose access to equipment was severely limited in Communist controlled Romania. Working with his partner/sound engineer, Erica Nemescu - a skilled engineer who had worked on sound for animations - Octavian created a remarkably sensuous and immersive work full of modernist wonder, coursing form lush EMS Synthi 100 strokes to chaotic pulses, cinematic synth passages and a mind-bending finale. It’s patently the sound of someone dreaming of escape routes into different temporalities and dimensions, and is presented here in its entirety for the 1st time, following an unauthorised, truncated version pressed up by Electrecord in 1984.
Nemescu’s B-side work ‘Natural’ was, however, recorded at home in Romania. Using prerecorded samples of the Romanian countryside and electronic sources, Nemescu cut them up on his Grundig reel-to-reel decks to create a uniquely captivating mesh of warbling voice and keening, sonorous electro-acoustic megastructures which, again, connoted a sense of longing escape from earthly binds, while acknowledging its escapable gravity.