Rodion G.A. ‘The lost tapes’ CD/2LP/Digital (Strut) 3/5

Rumanian dance music is virtually unheard of in the UK and only the vocal female choirs of La Voix Mystère des Bulgares will be familiar to those up on their world roots grooves. Which is where this compilation fills in part of the void. During the brief ‘open’ period of dictator Causescu’s sinister rule between 1965 and 1972, Rumanians were allowed for a short time access to the rock and pop music of the English-speaking world and this exerted a major influence on a whole generation of young musicians at the time including one Rodion Roşca. Between 1975-76 Rodion formed his own group Rodion G.A. and this collection is devoted to the band’s repertoire between 1978 and 1983. The project was realised largely thanks to the efforts in 2012 of film maker Luca Sorin who established contact with Rodion after several months investigation. Listening to the sounds now one is immediately reminded of the early electronica of groups such as Kraftwerk, but other influences are apparent and these include prog rock and classical. Instrumentation is extremely basic and used reel to reel tape with live drums and cheesy sounding synthesizers. Only one record label existed in Rumania, the state owned Electrocord. Probably the most compelling piece is ‘Cântec fulger’ which features whirling synths and bubbling percussion with vocals. Drum machine grooves predominate on ‘Alpha centauri’. There is even a nod towards early 1980s Soft Cell’s sound on ‘Citadela’. Fans of the Wire magazine will revel in some of the more avant-garde sounds here. Tim Stenhouse

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