Boomkat Product Review:
Bonkers, plugged-in Estonian folk and electronics from the 1980s, courtesy of Olev Muska, a recent star of Left Ear Records’ ‘Antipodean Anomalies’ compilation.
Working a stylistic niche perhaps comparable to recently surfaced reissues of NSRD’s art-pop and the synth fantasias of László Hortobágyi, the sound of Olev Muska - the son of Estonian refugees from WWII - was inspired by a need to articulate traditional Estonian music with a new, modern accent whilst preserving the culture his parents and the network of Estonian expatriates had brought to Australia.
Drawing on his studies at Sydney’s National Art School, as well as a love of psychedelia and the possibilities afforded by cheaper, newly availed synths and vocoders that complemented the stripped down, ‘runic’ nature of Estonian music, Muska reframed traditional Estonian folk songs in an unprecedented way, with results that range from novelty to freakish experimentation, often in the same track.
To our ears it sometimes sounds like cyber ceilidh music, and at others like teenage witterings after smoking banana peel, but for all the daftness Muska’s music can be commended on the strength of its innovation and wide-eyed innocence, and particularly for its dancefloor-ready aces such as ‘Eidekene Ketrab’ from his Elektrio band, and the nippy wedding music update of ‘Tantsi! Tantsi!’.