Text by Eliza Niță
A known entity in Romania, Andrei Bucureci has worn many hats throughout the years – entrepreneur, creative director, radio show host, curator. Lil Obeah from Transylvania is distinctly a product of the country he was born in, and the type of identity that both shapes and are shaped by it.
Released at his independent record label, Sound of Art To Come, his latest chapter, “From Transylvania”, ponders national identity, religion, local myths, and the legacy we leave behind for future generations. This can also be seen in the visual identity Bucharest-based artist Cristiana Bucureci put together for this record.
With Obeah’s frequent collaborator Marius Costache from Studio 148 (Discordless, Environments) handling production as well, the tracks never feel over-polished. Swimming at a scintillating speed through an obdurately diverse scope of influences, the listener is presented with eight individual, yet cohesive soundtracks to nostalgia-fuelled 1980s horror flicks, home footage of grandmas reading coffee grounds or tea leaves, and bits of a revolution that was televised.
Bucureci wears his influences on his sleeve – but nothing seems to compare to getting to work and being produced by those who influenced you in the first place. Throughout the years, and on this album too, he got to work with Nick Page (Count Dubulah), Winston Williams, Hamid Mantu, and Tim Whelan (of Transglobal Underground fame).
Taking its thematic cues from their books, “From Transylvania” feeds into its Morricone flair (since one of the many names featured on the record, Marian Șerban Fieraru, actually played on stage with Morricone himself), and echoes of trippy heartbeat cumbia and reggae, which further get embellished by futuristic theremin sounds, steadily ticking cymbals and cosmic synths – dub-infused hypnosis (coined by Bucureci as duppy dub) that runs decidedly moody and groovy. The breathy, spaced-out, muscular saunter of each piece seems to be harboring a dark secret, allowing the cerebral eddying percussion to lead you peacefully into a daydream. The deviant hippie cult from Cosmatos’ Mandy would’ve loved it.
What distinguishes this record from all the others which play with said influences is that its stylistic marriages never feel forced, nor is it a case of trying out everything to see what sticks; instead, sounds from Transylvania to Jamaica are carefully woven together into frothy groove bombs with exhilarating gusto.
The local motifs that seem to propel hip-hop anthems onto radio waves (only to get lost in translation and over-consumption) see an honest reinterpretation through Lil Obeah’s “From Transylvania”. Acting as an invitation to rebel against the mainstream ethos of Romanian folklore in pop music, the record is an apt exercise in musical technicolor which lets you farewell through a transglobal psyche-bender.
“From Transylvania” album is out and you can order the limited edition vinyl here.
Sound of Art to Come
Dub Colossus, Transglobal Underground, and Marius Costache
Marius Costache at Studio148
Winston Williams aka Hoseman, Nick Page aka Count Dubulah, Hamid Mantu & Tim Whelan, Marian Șerban Fieraru, Adi Stoenescu, Laura Benedek, Leon Lotoțchi, and Cristiana Bucureci
Octavian Soviany, Nicolae Ceaușescu