- A powerful compilation of evocative and inventive club music raising money for refugees stuck between the borders of European countries who won't let them in.
- In This Is Not Now For Me, the Iranian artist Iman Tajik photographs people who sit in their living rooms behind strips of white tape. At first, the pictures evoke the feeling of being stuck inside during the pandemic. Now imagine: you don't even have a living room. You're in a forest between Poland and Belarus, hemmed in by barbed wire. Some of your friends, family and strangers around you have had passports and sim cards confiscated. Others just escaped the Taliban. Some of the people you were with are dying because of the lack of food and water, and the cold temperatures. The troops at either border don't let you through. You're stuck.
With Cut The Wire, the Oramics collective is raising money for the Rescue Foundation, which advocates for people who have been stuck between the Polish-Belarusian borders since August. Oramics' first compilation—2019's Total Solidarity—was a 125-track response to queerphobic violence in Poland, providing financial support to the country's LGBTQ+ organisations. Cut The Wire is a more succinct LP—at 21 tracks—of equally impressive quality. As both human rights campaigner and curator of some of the best leftfield dance music around, Oramics has carved a niche for itself as a tenacious force for good in the world of electronic music.
There's a track for everyone on Cut The Wire: a segment of live improvisation by Octa Octa, house warm-up cuts from Casiopepe and Liar, broken beats from self-described "emo acid crew" Penera. I'm a sucker for melodic jungle, so "Dreamz" by Praktyczna Pani is a personal highlight. Veering faster, there's VIELD's trance and the noisy racket of "Less-Than-or-Equal-To" by TRSSX. Mellow vibes? The psychedelic "Syreny'' by IKARVS, and the melancholic "Georgia" by Izzy Locke. As a cherry on top, there's a piano piece from Loraine James, a step outside of her usual mix of glitchy R&B, drill and IDM influences.
Oramics' core principle is platforming artists from the fringes of gender, sexuality and geography, and for many of these artists, the search for safety, freedom and belonging is constant. Take Mala Herba, who combine Polish and international elements to explore feelings around the concept of home. On "Burczybas Uzdrawianie," a traditional instrument called the burczybas—which sounds a bit like a trumpet—exists harmoniously with an open-throat singing technique, spoken word and industrial techno. This combination evokes the idea of an inclusive society, and reflects Herba's own identity as a queer Polish migrant representative of a group of people Poland's ruling party would like you to believe doesn't exist.
EURODANEK also uses what might be called a traditional European sound—Eurodance. He raps "Jebać policję / Jebać kościół" ("Fuck the police / Fuck the church") on "JEBAX," which became something of an anthem of the 2020–2021 Women's Strike protests sparked by the near-total abortion ban. On "Our Daily Dread," Avtomat points out the paradox of the Catholic Church driving the discriminatory policies of a government that uses them for political gain. He reworks the prayer "Our Father," and imagines a situation where the tables have turned: "A time will come when […] you will be the human, as good as dead."
National identities are fluid. The borders haven't always been the way they are now, and they will be different in the future. The photographer Iman Tajik appeals to our shared experience of restricted freedoms during the pandemic to encourage empathy with people who seek refuge in another country, stressing "the need for human resistance towards barriers and boundaries that are implemented socially and politically in favour of some but not all." Oramics concurs, and says, simply, Cut The Wire.
01. Loraine James - ABCD
02. Casiopepe - Flanger Things
03. Octo Octa - Live @ RDC (Improv 2)
04. Liar - Immigrant Trax
05. MRTN. - Shuteye
06. Penera - Bimmer From The Moon
07. Adam The Observer - Sirens' Attention
08. Praktyczna Pani - Dreamz
09. Amor Satyr - Boreal Light
10. Avtomat - Our Daily Dread
11. Ancestral Vision - Shame Spiral
12. emoji face & Naphta - clown face emoji
13. Semprey - Jasny Gwint
14. EURODANEK - JEBAX
15. VIELD - Qatora
16. TRSSX - Less-Than-or-Equal-To
17. Mala Herba - Burczybas Uzdrawianie feat. Darja Kazimiera
18. IKARVS - Syreny
19. Nomine - Templatez (Alegria Remix)
20. Tom Encore - Deliverance
21. Izzy Locke - Georgia