Loose Lips

PICKS: Stephen Vitkovitch's EU Picks


PICKS: Stephen Vitkovitch's EU Picks

Stepping up for this week's sonic tasteboard, we have the head of the fantastic Byrd Out label, all tracks gathered in this here spotify playlist, take it away Stephen! 

Frederick [Loose Lips bawseman) asked me about this a few days after the fourth anniversary of the EU Referendum, so I thought a 'Picks' on Europe would be appropriate. Each song is from a different EU Member State, with some relevance to me and my musical interests.

An excellent example of driving yet floaty pop, from French Stereolab alumnus Laetitia Sadier. Laetitia once did a gig for me in a cafe in E17 at which I'd forgotten to get a PA (understandably she wasn't happy about this). However, I think the crowd enjoyed the extremely intimate experience, and I don't think she hated it, as she's played gigs with me twice since.

I saw this German/American duo at Cafe Oto in early 2020. It's definitely at the softer end of  Brötzmann's saxophone repertoire. I hope Oto is able to make it through the pandemic, their programming among the most interesting in London.

An excellent collaboration bringing together Greek electronic and folk music. It got good reviews, so this isn't an original choice. Aggelos (AW) has two releases forthcoming on Byrd Out this and next year.

Sarmacja hail from Poland, and their music is deeply grounded in what the French would call the 'terroir'. Their first release was on Poland's excellent Astigmatic, home to Cykada among others, and they contacted me for their second album. The Orb's remix finishes that LP which came out during the pandemic, in a relatively hiccup-free way.

Dutch musician Planty Herbs was one I found via friend and occasional collaborator, Peter Rizal Zwingli Hall. He'd released on Marcel Vogel's Intimate Friends label, as had Planty Herbs. Excellent, laid back jazzy vibe.

This vinyl was a gift from Charlie Barclay, bought exclusively on its looks. Bo Hansson is Swedish, and it turns out the record is an excellent woozy prog epic. This is one I will play out on the very rare occasions that happens.

Enya's Irish. Not sure this needs more. I have it on cassette and listen to it with my son.

Italian Maria Chiara Argirò is part of the excellent Kinkajous band, and we spoke about releasing one of her albums. No business resulted, but this remix is excellent, giving the original a fresh angle.

This is a slight cop out, in that Dwaallicht (or Wisp under another alias) is, I think, American. However, this came out on the inspirational Spanish label Analogical Force. Not sure how I found them, but I bought a lot of their early stuff, which now goes for a lot on discogs. Their branding and visual aesthetic are impressive.

Andrew suggested the Lithuanian Manfreads remix his last offering with me. The track name is actually wrong on this - Manfredas actually remixed 'End Times Sound' - but only told me this on the day of release, so we've just left it... And another nice UK (or even E17) to abroad connection, Manfredas is with the excellent Spun Out agency.