Page 1 of 21

FACT's Alternative Eurovision 2013: Part One

This Saturday, the great gaudy Eurovision pageant rolls into Malmö, Sweden. 

We all know the drill by now: reduced-to-clear boy bands, more accordions than is strictly necessary, the occasional Falstaffian goof, and, of course, a dismal showing for the UK. In its 58th year, the show is looking bloated and exhausted, apparently existing only to test the patience – and, indeed, the shame threshold – of its beleaguered viewers.

Still, we’re convinced that the aims behind the contest – to foster unity and community on a continent recently ravaged by the Second World War – remain admirable, and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to rescue the Eurovision concept from the cultural cesspool. How?

After some extensive digging, our team of writers have picked out a track by a promising underground artist from each of the 39 countries participating in the official competition. Over the next two days we’ll be offering a rich survey of the musical activity currently going on across the continent. The results are diverse, ranging from Belarusian skweee to Finnish grindcore, but, unlike the ceremony proper, this is a resolutely dross-free zone.

As of today, we’re also giving you the opportunity to vote for your favourites, with the final scores set to be announced on Monday (note: political voting will be frowned upon). There might not be a Wogan figure to guide you through proceedings (Scratcha, call us), but we hope some of the following rising acts will surprise, inspire and excite. Stock up on the cocktail sausages and get that office sweepstake cooking – this is FACT Eurovision.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 1/21)

LATVIA
Artist: TVMASKAVA
Entry: ‘Zardoz Prophecies’

Eduards Smilgis (aka TVMASKAVA) is part of the Latvian Dirty Deal Audio crew, and from the looks of seems to take things far less seriously than his Dilla-influenced compatriots. Influenced by Ceephax and all things Tumblr-wave, Smiglis carves out unusually charming analogue oddities replete with zany samples and the occasionally melody, and what’s more, you can almost dance to them. His Twitter page features a background picture of a kitten battling a Godzilla doll, and that’s probably all you need to know.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 2/21)

ROMANIA
Artist: Montgomery Clunk
Entry: ‘Green Tower’

Silviu ‘Montgomery Clunk’ Badea has been responsible for a couple of releases on German-Italian hip-hop label Error Broadcast. While his initial tracks had the off-kilter energy of those of his compatriots in LA, last year’s Mondegreen EP had one eye on Scotland and one on England. Outsized trance-rap creations in the vein of Rustie, HudMo, and Lockah percolated with video game electricity right next to techno mutations that would fit nicely on Night Slugs.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 3/21)

GERMANY
Artist: Circuit Diagram
Entry: ‘Amanar’

Active since 2010, Circuit Diagram unites Hamburg DJ Risk Alert with an expat from electro-rockers Dancing Pigeons, and their music offers a deft balance between instrumental chops and digital tinkering. Enthusiasts for Four Tet’s work with RocketNumber9 will get more than their fill here on their solitary 12″ for Pudel Produkte. ‘Amanar’ is the best kind of gumbo – a harmonious mix of krautrock, post-rock and loose-limbed techno, with touches of Cobblestone Jazz to boot.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 4/21)

SLOVENIA
Artist: Blaž Peruš
Entry: ‘Dissonance (Dub mix)’

As a teenager, Ravne na Koroškem native Blaž Peruš crafted techno on a variety of European labels (and under a variety of aliases)  before tiring of “typical repetitive music” and taking a hiatus from releasing music. The past few years have found him in an experimental mode, reconfiguring beats, sounds, and vocals into a strand of house-techno hybrid. A track like ‘Dissonance (Dub mix)’ is anything but dissonant: punchy drum tracks, pitch-shifted vocal sirens, and synth melodies meld hypnotically.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 5/21)

ISRAEL
Artist: Doomiloom
Entry: ‘White’

Adam Cohen (aka Doomiloom) has managed to find a mid-point between The Postal Service’s twee electronic pop and Tenniscoats’ bizarre, endearing acoustic experiments and the result is nothing short of gorgeous. Singing in Hebrew, Cohen often ends up sounding more than a little like Thom Yorke, and he has the good sense to keep his beats and synths to a subtle minimum. It’s tasteful stuff, sure, but Cohen manages to always stay one step away from being ‘coffee table’.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 6/21)

GREECE
Artist: Kondaktor
Entry: ‘Kozak’

Blending field recordings together to create a confounding cloud of creepy ambience, Athens-based sound alchemist Kondaktor might not be doing anything particularly new to fans of Thomas Köner or Lustmord, but he does it with an unavoidable panache. ‘Kozak’ is unrelentingly dark, sounding something like a harrowing nightmare set in the world of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cronos, and to be honest that’s all we need from a good piece of dark ambience.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 7/21)

LITHUANIA
Artist: Boyfriend
Entry: ‘Winter Titty’

Vytis Gruzdys emerged a few years ago in the then-nascent moombahton scene, making tropical-house edits from the chilly climes of Vilnius. While remixes at 108RPM have always come easy (a recent flip of Jacques Greene-Tinashe collab ‘Painted Faces’ is particularly smooth), his originals have quickly outgrown the moombahton genre. Last year, he released the Winter Titty EP on Senseless Records, sculpting blocks of ice into nightcrawler beats for New York vogue rapper Zebra Katz.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 8/21)

ARMENIA
Artist: Tommy Finger Jr.
Entry: ‘Freeway Ricky’

There isn’t much information about Erevan producer Tommy Finger Jr. available, but what’s not to like about an Armenian producer who tips his hat to deep house pioneer Larry ‘Mr. Fingers’ Heard with his moniker, releases an EP with the instructive title Deeptroit, and names a track (and includes samples of) Rick Ross-inspiration and one-time drug kingpin Freeway Rick Ross?

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 9/21)

SERBIA
Artist: Yeah Left
Entry: ‘Boom Bap Coup’

Srdjan ‘Yeah Left’ Marjanovic proves that the J Dilla’s sonic descendants are not limited to the usual hotspots of beatmaking activity. Yeah Left released his first EP in 2011, full of block-rocking beats that nodded to hip-hop, electro, and even the native sounds of Serbia. His recent output, like the accurately-titled ‘Boom Bap Coup’, are tailor-made for rappers (Serbian or otherwise) with an affinity for Golden Era New York hip-hop. Somebody get Joey Badass or Action Bronson on the horn.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 10/21)

BELARUS
Artist: Deech
Entry: ‘Bright Lights’

Purple sounds from White Russia. Signed to Slugabed’s Activia Music, the Minsk beatmaker debuted with 2012’s Urnite 12″, a pretty collection of souped-up skweee and chattering beat music in the Brainfeeder mould. Last year’s Multi-Layered Shining pointed towards a major LuckyMe infatuation, but the recent Home Dancers EP is bolder and brighter – ‘4 U’ sounds like Deejay Earl holding court at a foam party, but ‘Bright Lights’ is the most convincing of the bunch.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 11/21)

MOLDOVA
Artist: Yavtushenko
Entry: ‘A Woman’

Hour upon hour of ethnomusicological investigation appear to suggest  one thing: if you’re Moldovan, you probably really like deep house. From Alex E to Snejco, the emphasis is firmly on billowing 4×4 with tech-y touches. Yavtushenko’s ‘A Woman’ – produced in association with Bucharest’s Dubfound, admittedly, but if Tony Iommi can write Armenia’s Eurovision entry, that’s okay by us – is one of the better of the bunch, and shows the seasoned DJ/blogger adding some Lynchian guitars and lightly-worn Balkan influences to the template.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 12/21)

AZERBAIJAN
Arist: Enelou
Entry: ‘Headspam’

It appears that rap is just as popular right now in Azerbaijan as it is in the rest of the world, and what makes Enelou’s take on the genre more interesting than most is that he sounds as if he’s not interested in simply making carbon copies of Lex Luger, Mike WiLL Made It or J Dilla beats. Eldar Nazarli’s compositions are more like harder-edged, Azeri alternatives to Ryan Hemsworth’s 8-bit ass-shakers and ‘Headspam’, taken from this year’s Instrumentalz is the finest example of this with its Middle Eastern melody and hiccupping rhythms.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 13/21)

SWITZERLAND
Artist: Kackmusikk
Entry: ‘Never’

The Luzern resident has his fingers wedged in all sort of pies: he’s an RBMA-approved solo producer, has a key role in Swiss multimedia crew Korsett Kollektiv, and also makes music with the (markedly more lightweight) production duo Hood Regulators). Following the lead of 2011’s Stella EP, this year’s Never four-track offered bubblegum footwork left to steep in seapunk water; the title track in particular come over like Slava taking a ride on Space Mountain

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 14/21)

AUSTRIA
Artist: Zanshin
Entry: ‘Low End Fairy’

Part of the same Affine clique as Dorian Concept, Cid Rim and Sixtus Preiss, the Viennese beatmaker combines his pals’ interest in wibbly boom-bap with a psychedelic bent (see track titles like ‘Pynnocchyo’s Pyrrhusmite’ and ‘Esmerelda The Swift’). With a 2011 album, Rain Are In Clouds, to his name, he’s also just dropped the ace Swings & Roundabouts EP, carried by ‘Low End Fairy’ – a 7-minute broken beat fantasia that variously recalls Lone, Domu and the more energetic end of the Dial catalogue.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 15/21)

FINLAND
Artist: Nistikko
Entry: ‘Käteni Eivät Historiaa Kerro’

Hailing from Tornio, Finnish band Nistikko keep the essence of Napalm Death alive with their lightning fast aggressive grindcore. There’s always been a fitting appreciation for the more brutal musical styles up there in the snowy North, and Nistikko sound absolutely crucial on Kehä‘ track ‘Käteni eivät historiaa kerro’, shredding their guitars and throats like it’s 1985.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 16/21)

RUSSIA
Artist: PIFE
Entry: ‘Jazzy Town’

PIFE – a mangling of Piff? Who knows? – has that bump. On ‘One Day, One Beat’ he lets descending woodwind trickle all over a dusty hip-hop groove, while on ‘April Evening’ and ‘Jazzy Town’ (pretty literal track titles, we know) he takes things more minimal. Think Silkie making backpack hip-hop on earburds.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 17/21)

IRELAND
Artist: Zvuku
Entry: ‘Predux’

The most successful country in Eurovision’s history, it’s long been speculated that Ireland sent a deliberately weak entry to 1995’s contest as they could’t afford to continue hosting it (the winning country hosts the next year’s competition, and Ireland won in 1992, 1993 and 1994). How like them, then, to send Zvuku, an artist who releases trembling ambient music on limited CD-R releases for labels like Heatdeath. A suicidal pick in terms of winning the competition, for sure, but the music hits the spot.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 18/21)

SAN MARINO
Artist: San Marino 966
Entry: ‘Gwiazdka’

Eurovision wouldn’t be Eurovision without throwing up some real WTF? moments, and although there’s no dancing or devil masks with the shady San Marino 966, his / her / their Soundcloud is as bonkers as they come, ranging from off-beat covers of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ and Shadow-esque breaks to blustery piano and oscillating synth tracks.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 19/21)

MALTA
Artist: Interconnekted
Entry: ‘Wonder Awakening’

Sure, the logos and samples are straight out of Starcraft, but after searching through pages and pages of Soundcloud dubstep, stumbling upon Interconnekted’s ‘Wonder Awakening’ was a total delight – fans of Autonomic d’n’b and the like, you’ll like what you hear.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 20/21)

F.Y.R. MACEDONIA
Artist: B.ATL
Entry: ‘Shoe Idea’

Who says relocating to Macedonia would send you mad? In amongst a lot – and we mean a lot – of DIY punk, we found B.ATL, a producer mangling drum hits into girders of steel and smashing them together until they vaguely resemble techno and minimal drum’n’bass. Sure, it’s hardly going to send a Eurovision audience into raptures, but it’s at least as fun as your average Mark Fell album.

Click here to vote.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 21/21)

Page 1 of 21
Latest Stories

Latest Stories

Share Tweet
+