20 May 2010

Sonic postcards - Somewhere from Southeastern Europe

Somewhere around this time (late May) last year, after one of the most difficult creative struggles, I had submitted one four and a half minute ambient piece for a contest organized by Goethe Institut Belgrad (aka German cultural center in Belgrade), Radio Belgrade - Channel Three, Deutchlandradio Kultur (Berlin) and Chinch initiative for contemporary music (Belgrade) entitled Klangpostkarten - Von irgendwo in Südosteuropa (Sonic postcards - Somewhere from Southeastern Europe). We were supposed to sonically depict a certain place in this region to German audience, as the title suggests, basically in a form of "sound postcard" that would give them a taste of local atmosphere.

Apparently, one of the initiators of this project was none other than Thomas Köner, whom I personally admire to a great extent, both for his extremely deep and minimal ambient work as well as his legendary Porter Ricks dub techno project on no less legendary Chain Reaction label. As a form of an announcement, he did his own sonic postcard from Frankfurt, so that we could later create an appropriate response from Serbia in similar style. Talking about encouragement - there couldn't have been better for me.

CD package for the contest submission

Slankamen (on Newcomer Werkstatt radio show) by Koneyn

My piece was dedicated to a now quiet small village in north of the country, Slankamen, where I had spent so many summers as a kid. It's unique geographic and strategic position provided quite a turbulent history, dating back to Celtic migration to Balkans, over Roman exploitation of well known local healing water spring, to Ottoman Turkish battles with neighboring Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Eventually, among 47 works submitted, mine got into final top seven presented at the Goethe Institute premises here in Belgrade in September 2009. I won the fourth place, missing a nice cache prize by an inch, though later in all of the public reports they properly sorted only the top three, while constantly shuffling the order when mentioning rest of us. Nevertheless, it was such a great honor and privilege, it didn't matter to me that much.

If you can read either German or Serbian, here are the reports on the Goethe Inst. website. You'll also find a podcast streaming player there, with all the finalist tracks being played:
- German version
- Serbian version

All seven of us finalists also got additional exposure on a radio show entitled Newcomer Werkstatt on Deutchlandradio Kultur and later the tracks have been released on a CD by Goethe Institut:

Another few months later, in April 2010, the whole thing was picked up by Hannoversche Gesellschaft für Neue Musik that again included all of these pieces in their sound installations and exhibitions project in Hannover entitled Briefe aus der Heimat (Letters from homeland).