Cold Europe is the debut album of the duo Erstav, founded in 2015 by the the Italian artists Marco and Alessandro, 37 and 36 respectively.
Over the past ten years, Marco has released different projects under various monikers, with tracks ranging from Electronica to Breaks and Techno. His constant research for aesthetic and rhythmic elements in music and sound design slowly pushed him towards the underground border of the electronic music scene, where he found his comfort zone in a careful balance between minimalism and musicality.
Alessandro's influences instead come from an industrial and punk background and his first experiments in electronic music were heavily influenced by the d.i.y. ethos of punk and power-electronics and driven by a passion for electronic music hardware. He's been involved with different bands and music collectives until 2005 when he moved to London and started to work on his own solo projects.
The collision of these different worlds and influences is obvious in Cold Europe, where sound sources ranging from foley recording of old toys to analog and digital synths, drum machines and modular systems and a mix of elements from different genres such as dubstep, grime, IDM and Industrial are layered to create a dark sonic recollection of cold war years.
On Cold Europe, intricate and broken rhythmic parts are always the leading elements while melodic parts are somehow subdued, still betraying a meticulous and sophisticated sound design as can be noted in Warsaw, where two bass lines and a synth line are alternating on a relentless rhythm, or in Detente which manages to feel both ethereal and heavy at the same time while the rhythm keeps shifting. In Panchsheel granular textures are the background to syncopated rhythms and 'sliced and diced' percussions, while Palm Tree is dominated by a hypnotic melodic line played by a continuously evolving percussive sound. Peculiar elements can be found in Inside The Ghost, which hides subtle melodies on a minimalistic, deconstructed rhythmic session and Inverness, wears its techno influences on its sleeve while tension and release are played on a straight hard-hitting kick.