|Behind the Curtain: The Lost Album|
Rodion G.A. — Behind the Curtain: The Lost Album
♠♠♠ Active in Romania during the early '80s, the work of these avant rockers remained mostly unheard until a 2012 revival.
Formed 1975 in Romania
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Album release: Nov 4, 2014
Record Label: BBE
01 Acvila Fragment 1:12
02 Charm, Pt. 1 1:44
03 Charm, Pt. 2 3:05
04 Contrast 4:08
05 Cosmic Game 3:18
06 Dans Macabru 2:43
07 Elastic 3:06
08 Paradox 4:28
09 Piramide, Pt. 1 2:34
10 Piramide, Pt. 2 1:37
11 Point 1:57
12 The Gym 1:27
13 The Train 2:18
14 Waterfall 3:19
℗ 2014 BBE
♠ All tracks written by Rodion Ladislau Rosca
♠ Derek Anderson Executive Producer, Liner Notes
♠ Lee Bright Label Manager
♠ Julia Deimann Label Manager
♠ Jake Holloway Design
♠ Rodion G.A. Primary Artist
♠ Rodion Ladislau Rosca Arranger, Composer, Producer
♠ Harvey Summers Mastering
♠ Mastered At — Broadoak Studios
♠ Mastered At — Optimum Mastering
♠ Phonographic Copyright (p) — BBE Records
♠ Distributed By — !K7
♠ Composed By, Arranged By, Producer — Rodion Ladislau Rosca*
♠ Design — Jake Holloway
♠ Executive–Producer, Liner Notes, Compiled By — Derek Anderson (3)
♠ Management [Label] — Julia Deimann, Lee Bright
♠ Mastered By — Harvey Summers (tracks: A1 to C4), Shawn Joseph (tracks: C5 to D5)
By Matt Bauer, Published Oct 21, 2014; Score: 9
♠ The Lost Tapes was one of last year's most revelatory reissues, uncovering the work of Romanian psych–electronic trailblazer Rodion Rosca, who founded Rodion G.A. in 1975. Recorded DIY and blending psych, krautrock and progressive influences into an inimitable, avant–garde oeuvre that stood in stark contrast to the oppressive tenor of Romania in the '70s and '80s, the group only released two tracks on state–owned record company Electrerecord, making Behind The Curtain a cause for celebration — it features the first complete set of music by Rosca. More cohesive than the tracks that comprised The Lost Tapes, Behind The Curtain finds Rosca indulging his idiosyncratic penchants into more cinematic sounds and tightly structured songs.
♠ The ominous synths and distorted guitars of "Acvila Fragment" serve as an appropriate preamble. "Contrast" is a flighty, psychedelic, sci–fi number with a perky, nearly electro–funk beat and a bright synthesizer melody, while "Cosmic Game" mines darker territory with fuzzed out guitar riffs, an unforgiving rhythm and freaked out synthesizer effects. The tense "Dans Macabru" is punctuated by breaking glass, and an urgent vibe is sustained throughout the rest of the set on "The Gym" and closer "Waterfall," which is tempered by the historical circumstances surrounding their recording and the fact that Rosca walked away from music following their completion in 1987. Concurrent with Rosca's rediscovery and his return to performing is the sad news that he's living with Hepatitis B and C and has liver cancer. Yet even if he doesn't record another note of music, Behind The Curtain ensures his pioneering legacy is established. (BBE) :: http://exclaim.ca/
Artist Biography by David Jeffries
♠ Formed in the mid–'70s in Romania, most of the work of Rodion G.A. remained unheard until 2013 when the adventurous Strut label released a compilation focusing on the long-lost avant rockers. Leader Rodion Rosca formed Rodion G.A. in 1975, the "G.A." referencing bandmembers Gicu Fărcas and Adrian Căpraru. Their music was experimental and futuristic, something that flew in the face of the sterile pop favored by the state–run record label Electrecord, the only record label allowed to operate during the Nicolae Ceausescu administration. Still, the group appeared on Romanian television celebrating New Year's Eve in 1980, and in 1981 Electrecord released two Rodion G.A. tracks on a compilation. Without the State's support, Rodion G.A. were unable to reach their audience over the coming years, and in 1987 they split up for good. Fascinated by this legendary group, Danish blogger, filmmaker, and designer Luca Sorin contacted Rodion Rosca, and in 2012 he posted footage from the group's New Year's Eve celebration along with some unheard Rodion G.A. music online. The Romanian music crew/historians Future Nuggets helped arrange some comeback gigs for the group, and in 2013 the Strut label gave the recordings an official release with the aptly titled set The Lost Tapes. A tour of Europe in support of the set followed, along with an announcement that Rosca was suffering from liver cancer. Now more mindful of his band's legacy, Rosca returned to the archives and retrieved a set of tapes that became 2014's The Lost Tapes, released by the BBE label. (Allmusic.com)
♠ Rodion Ladislau Rosca grew up and got his musical education in Cluj, the third biggest city in Romania, during the relatively 'open' years of 1965–1972, before Ceacescu's regime cracked down viciously on the cultural opportunities (and freedoms generally) available to the Romanian people. In this period he absorbed the influences that filtered through the Iron Curtain from the 'decadent west' and local eastern European musical traditions. Cluj had its own prog–rock bands, Cromatic and Experimental Quintet, and the music of the Beatles, Hendrix and Led Zep all found ready a ready audience there.
♠ But Rodion's tastes were more unorthodox still: he was drawn to electronic music, at that time still an exciting new possibility, represented by East Germany's Karat, Czechoslovakia's Matador and Hungary's Skorpio, as well as bands from the west including Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes, and the inevitable Kraftwerk and what would become known as 'krautrock'.
♠ By 1975, in the harsher period, Rodion had amassed an eclectic selection of equipment and established a reputation as a DIY tech– wizard. He created his own unique way of creating music on reel–to–reel tape recorders, using the various tape machines to multitrack. His nascent studio included several Tesia tape recorders, drum machines, phasers, flangers and fuzz pedals. Then there were a toy Casio VL Tone and a Soviet made Faemi organ. He was joined by Gicu Farcas and Adrian Caparu in a band he had started, which then took the name Rodion G.A. Vocals, drums and guitars formed the core 'rock' elements but in every other way the music of Rodion G.A. was leftfield, unique and inimitable.
♠ Recording opportunities in Romania were severely limited, with just the one state–owned record label (Electrecord), and a paranoid suspicion of 'western decadence' and censorship of those who might be seen to have adopted such traits. Rodion's band concentrated on touring, from gigs in restaurants to the country's festivals, where they built up a loyal following for their unique and inimitable sound. Otherwise, Rodion's career consisted of commissions to score theatre, ballet, opera and gymnastics exhibitions, and, later, in the mid–'80s, the animated film Delta Space Mission (though his music wasn't used). At the beginning of the '80s his music was even featured on a Romanian TV show to usher in the New Year. A video shows a band, but Rodion has since explained that the music was entirely built by multi–tracking of himself with a guitar and FX pedals.
♠ This fairly hand–to–mouth existence as a composer, and ambivalent relationship with the state (alternately feted on national TV and harassed by the police for alleged subversive tendencies) meant that it was difficult for this iconoclastic figure to secure a lasting legacy. Coinciding with the death of his mother Rozalia, a dispirited Rodion walked away from music after a festival appearance in 1987, and that could have well been that. It was only some 25 years later that film–maker, blogger and enthusiast for Romanian music Luca Sorin, tracked down Rodion, by now living in a secluded country cottage.
♠ Through the auspices of Sorin and fellow enthusiasts Future Nuggets, Rodion's music came to the attention of our friends at Strut, who last year released The Lost Tapes, effectively Rodion G.A's debut album, to widespread critical acclaim. This was followed, on Record Store Day, by the release of his music for Delta Space Mission. ♠ Many have been very moved to discover the emotional electronic music of this reclusive, enigmatic genius.
♠ A triumphant return to the concert stage — in Bucharest, Berlin and Moscow — and the long overdue recogniton granted Rodion G.A's stunning music, has unfortunately been tempered by the sad news that Rodion Rosca is living with Hepatitis B and C and has liver cancer. Perhaps mindful of his legacy, Rodion has unearthed a good deal of old material, divesting countless boxes at his country cottage of their contents, painstakingly listening to his old tapes on an old reel to reel machine. Amongst this material was that we proudly present here: The Lost Album. The existence of a complete album by Rodion G.A was somehow known to many enthusiasts of Romanian and electronic music, even though even its creator was unsure of its fate. Rumours about confiscation by the secret police and such like abounded. The more prosaic truth, that it had simply festered indoors as Rodion had turned his back on his old calling, surprised even him!
♠ What is clear is that The Lost Album will firmly cement the idea of a neglected genius, first intimated by The Lost Tapes, in the public view. Here at last is a complete set of music, as originally conceived by a figure who will surely take his place alongside the Enos, the Kraftwerks, the Gottschings, as a true pioneer of electronic music. We at BBE are sincerely hoping that Rodion Ladislau Rosca survives his current travails long enough to see his masterwork hit the shelves. If that is not the case, he can rest assured, his legacy will now be secure. :: http://www.undergroundhiphop.com/
|Behind the Curtain: The Lost Album|