AAVV – Sound Exchange, Experimental Music Cultures In Central And Eastern Europe


edited by: Carsten Seiffarth, Carsten Stabenow, Golo Föllmer – PFAU Verlag, ISBN 978-3897274877, 416 pages, 2012, German, English

There was a long tradition of dismissing and repressing experimental music in Central and Eastern Europe during socialist times. And even after 1989 the West didn’t fully explore what was missed in those decisive few decades. This book begins the process of making up for lost time, bypassing the classic academic approach in an elegant and constructive way. It’s a trans-regional effort, funded by Goethe Institute, coordinated by the musicologist Föllmer and the two artistic directors Stabenow and Seiffarth, who have spent time and organized meetings, events and workshops in the culture capitals of the respective countries: Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, Krakow, Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn. The involvement of local musicians and historians has reinforced the already existing international networks, and has also served to connect what happened since the 60s with the youngest digital generation. This networked research allows facts and names to emerge through a discursive chronology, unfolding the flourishing of audio arts and experimental music festivals and centres scattered over the reviewed regions, contextualized in general history and personal stories. Being carefully developed and having everything translated into English, it constitutes an excellent resource, extended by an online blog with audio files and pictures. Observing the quality of this product gives hope that there will be comparable future projects focussing on the Balkans, an area with similar history and similar forgotten underground cultural treasures.