Review: During the 1970s, Sven Grunberg was a member of Mess, one of Estonia's most notable progressive rock bands of the period. Towards the end of the decade, he began turning his attention towards both soundtrack composition and ambient music, creating meditative electronic workouts partially inspired by his Buddhist faith. Anima 1977-2001 offers a showcase for some of his lesser-known soundtrack work, and is made up of previously unreleased tracks originally recorded for obscure animated films (and, intriguingly, what the label calls a "puppet play"). Naturally, it's all enjoyably eccentric, but also hugely impressive, sitting somewhere between electronic library music and more straightforward cinematic fare.
Review: Those delighted by Tallin's Porridge Bullet great job of documenting the late '80s and early 90s period of Estonian music and eager to learn more of the Eastern European country's music heritage should delve into the discography of Frotee. The label's latest release throws the spotlight on Estonian soul singer Velly Joonas, specifically the covers of European songs she recorded during the 1980s. "Stopp, Seisku Aeg!" (or "Stop! Stall the Time!") is a cover by Joonas of "I See Red" from Frida, with the Estonian providing her own lyrics over backing from amateur group Vstretsa and seems quite faithful to the soft skanking 1982 soul number. Complementing this is a wonderful cover of "Feel like Makin Love" which Frotee suggest was laid down in one hour.
Olev Muska & Ingrid Slamer - "Tuljak (Tuljak Wedding Song)" (2:09)
Tantsi! Tantsi! (Dance! Ddance!) (7:47)
Review: Record company Frotee releases unreleased pop music from recent Estonian history. For its tenth release, it has expanded its scope to offer insights into quality music by their diaspora. Explorations in Estonian Electronic Folk Music - The First Years, 1979-1983 brings together Australian expatriate Olev Muska's previously unreleased Estonian-themed songs, recorded prior to his debut album from 1985. Muska had been a well kept secret amongst Estonian music fans, but relatively unknown to Australian record collectors - until Melbourne's Left Ear Records introduced the aforementioned debut album Old Estonian Waltzes to a wider audience. Presented across these 14 tracks are some fascinating sonic snapshots from the early days of his career spanning proto electro, synthpop, experimental synth music and even cosmic rock.
Eesti Raadio Estraadiorkester - "Ma Ootan Sind" (5:10)
Tornaado - "Seitse" (3:44)
Tiit Aunaste - "Valgusesse" (3:45)
Radar - "Kui Mind Kutsud Sa" (4:02)
Review: "Records you didn't know existed." That's the tagline from Estonian label Frotee and it's been true so far, with their output doing a fine job of documenting the Eastern European country's music heritage. Their latest release, Valgusesse, is an eight-track compilation profiling the sound archive of Estonian Public Broadcasting which shines a light on one of the few places during the Soviet era pop musicians from Estonia could actually record. Like all good compilations, Valgusesse is both diverse and comes with some truly enlightening sleeve notes for each of the eight bands featured with previous Frotee subjects Tornaado a real highlight here thanks to unreleased track "Seitse" which is their take on Kraftwerk's "Das Model"!