Anyone curious about the current state of electronic music in Romania could do a whole lot worse than start with the Buzz!Ro 2010 compilation as it showcases the work of seventeen of the country’s electronic music producers. The scene spread in Romania following the 1989 revolution at the end of the communist regime and appears to be thriving, if the comp’s tracks can be taken as reliably indicative of the quality of music being produced.
The compilation certainly starts audaciously by positioning Sillyconductor’s “Woolfia” at the starting gate. Sounding at times like a Meccano Toy Orchestra come to life, the track can’t seem to decide whether it’s a jaunty cartoon soundtrack replete with squiggly melodies and clockwork rhythms or a graveyard romp haunted by tolling bells and dressed up with orchestral flourishes. More conventionally dance-oriented in spirit is the second cut, Cristi Cons’ “Couch Revenge,” which opts for a silky smooth, lounge-styled take on house music. Young buck Inner impresses with his nine-minute opus “Azotool,” which gradually stomps into position with a lockstep groove that kicks into serious gear when hi-hats join the fray. Using found sound noises—clatter, whistles, rattles, wooden flutes—, Inner simulates a creature-filled forest in a way that would do a Microcosm or foundsound artist proud.
Most of the collection’s remaining tracks are solid and hold up well. Poor Relatives’ “Sanie” exudes an Ibiza-like warmth in its sun-dappled melodies and skipping beats. Cosmin TRG’s raw house pounder “Belgraded” grows irresistibly infectious when its attack rolls out in repeated waves. Ion drops a pulsating house banger (“Master-Freier”) into the set, and The Model contributes a rousing slice of dancefloor-filling dark techno (“The Simple Life”). Not every track works as well: Bogdan’s “Beginnings,” for instance, opts for an IDM style that might have sounded fresh years ago but sounds considerably less so in 2010, while Alien Pimp’s (Silviu Costinescu) otherwise fine “The Original” is marred by a silly voiceover. Nevertheless, the good moments far outweigh the bad, and credit is due Local Records for going to the trouble (and expense) of including with the CD a full-colour, forty-page booklet that features in-depth profiles of members of the Romanian electronic music scene.