Welcome to the magenta world of Emil Valev. During the late 1980s and 90s, at the helm of Violetov General, he pioneered a darkly melancholic, avant-garde formulation of the new wave sound. The band enjoyed international acclaim, spending time in the underground scenes of Bulgaria, Berlin and Slovakia. Since then, Valev has gone on to refine his hypnotically idiosyncratic style with a number of solo releases and appearances at electronic music festivals. Now, Osàre! is honoured to present Gentle Reactor. Collecting together twenty-five years of remastered and more recent material, the album is powered by the sensual fission of harsh textures, metronomic beats and playful excess.
Label boss Elena Colombi initially received over eighty songs from Valev, two of which appeared on the compilations Il Monte Analogo (2021) and Il Lupo Della Steppa (2020) respectively. But it was clear that a full album dedicated to Violetov General needed to be in the works. The pair spent two years combing through recordings, selecting the tracks that would eventually form the double-sided LP. From the locked-groove beat of ‘Valahoveine’ to ‘Poliani’s sizzling industrial refrain and the slap-bass finale of ‘Black Cat’, Gentle Reactor is a wild ride.
The record takes the darkwave genre on a cosmic journey across the realms of prog rock, noise, Eastern European folk-tinged melodies, ritualistic percussion and a patchwork of vocal breakdowns. Driven by an intuitive compositional process and slick production, the retrospective is a fascinating slice of experimental music history that’s anything but backwards facing.