Palatul de cleştar
R&S presents a killer EP from Romania’s Ada Kaleh AKA Iulian Cuculea, which follows his stunning Alejandro Jodorowsky inspired debut LP “Dene descris” on his vinyl only imprint Ada Kaleh România.
Like many of the second wave of Romanian minimal producers, Iulian’s music combines propulsive hypnotic rhythms with rich, organic sounds that envelop the listener in an otherworldly atmosphere. “The creation process is a moment of temporary madness for me” Iulian explains, “I enjoy working with layers of sounds that intertwine and embrace like a lotus flower. Folding and unfolding.” Finding fans in the form of countrymen like Raresh, Petre Inspirescu, Rhadoo, Barac, Cezar, Priku and internationals like Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear, tINI, Prins Thomas, he’s also dropped critically acclaimed releases and/or remixes for UVAR, The Rabbit Hole, Third Wave Black, Supernature as well as his own Ada Kaleh România imprint.
Opener “Palatul de cleştar” (translated “The glass palace”, received a vinyl only release on his own label in 2014) sets the tone with a mesmeric rhythm track overlaid with a haunting clarinet part and spaced out synth gurgles that combine to enthralling effect. Apollo Records alumnus Laurine Frost supplies a trippy, blown out version that blackens the tone of the original into a work of quiet menace. On the flip “Devotare” (translated “Devotion”, also a vinyl only release on his own label in 2013) strikes a more strident tone, the grooves strut rather than purr – gauzy chord stabs weave between the beats and clunking percussion in a delicate yet complex interplay of elements.
Fellow Romanian Cosmin TRG supplies a remix which displays why he’s worthy of the hype – pushing the BPMs of the original, he creates an urgent, vigorous re-rub that maintains some of Iulian’s delicate instrumentation yet contrasts it with heavy, authoritative percussion.