Why is it that people from Western and Central Europe tend to over-see Eastern Europe? Is it the languages? In this English-dominated world many are less exposed to Eastern European languages. People seeking the exotic go far away to Africa and Southern America, but have maybe never been to Poland, Romania, Slovakia etc. But these countries are everything else than grey and boring.
A few months ago I have been the first time to Romania, namely in the cities of Suceava (Bucovina) and Cluj Napoca (Transsylvania). It was a very nice experience to finally visit the place, about which I have read lots of books during my whole life.
Regarding Romanian new wave music I was a complete newbie. Something I intend to change hereby. I researched what the Romanian music scene has to offer and was quite surprised by the amount of great bands. Ten of these bands especially caught my attention and shall be presented in the following.
Arc Gotic is one of the pioneers of Romanian gothic music. Many of the other bands reference them as their inspiration. They exist already since 1992. Arc Gotic are based in the city of Timișoara, one of the bigger cities in Romania. Actually, most of the bands in this list come from exactly there.
The sound of Arc Gotic is characterised by the use of a violin and also sometimes a harmonica. Sounds unusual, but it is very exciting to hear this combination. It gives the music a touch of cabaret and is therefore also a good choice for your next steampunk party.
Coldwave/post-punk, Timișoara/Craiova (inactive)
When I listened to Terror Art for the first time, I had to think immediately about Polish coldwave. It is, actually, more an anarcho-punk band, but by their use of synthesizers they gain a nice touch of post-punk. Terror Art was founded in 1991 in Craiova and have released two albums. The band was banned in their home town, due to their lyrics, which have a strong anti-capitalist, anti-communist and anti-fascist position.
Radical din val
Radical din val is a post-punk/darkwave band from Timișoara, which existed between 1995 and 2001. They were quite present in the Romanian scene, took part in several festivals of the country and are still highly appreciated. They have both, songs which are more guitar-based and others which have a electronic underlying, such as the following track.
Vals Hedone has a very interesting sound which is reminiscent of something that won’t and won’t come to my mind. The band has been founded in 2000 in Timișoara by Alexandru Das, who is also involved in other renowned bands in Romania. The following song perfectly presents the beauty of the Romanian language.
The Bad Days Will End
A classical post-punk band is The Bad Days Will End from Timișoara. In a forum I read that the vocalist of Vals Hedone is involved in this band.
The band with the strange name Romantic Jurgen from Timișoara is one of few electronica/post-industrial projects in Romania. The lyrics are inspired by the dada movement.
The post-punk band Howling Saints were formed in 2006 in Bucharest, but their career lasted only some years. In 2010 they agreed to split up, not least, because of the involvement of the drummer in the then newly formed Uma Swan (see below). Also Howling Saints have a female vocalist. The lyrics are sung in Romanian.
Uma Swan was founded in 2010. The band represents kind of a Romanian super-group with members from vaduvaBOB, The Bad Days Will End and Howling Saints.
Dark ambient/darkwave/cabaret, Bucharest
Divine Muzak is a duo from Bucharest. They found each other at a gothic reunion in 2003. Their music is a blend of darkwave, dark ambient, but also elements of cabaret noir can be traced.
For those of you who are into ambient music Thy Veils should be of high interest. This music creates wonderful landscapes with sound in the heads of the listeners. Thy Veils have already a long history, the project was formed in 1995. I have to admit that the following song is the best piece I have encountered so far in this genre.