At the border of Belarus and Poland right now, all the fault lines of the world’s overlaid human catastrophes seem to come together. Artistic collective Oramics has assembled a musical response to the crisis and an urgent call to action.
Oramics, which started in Poland but has grown internationally, is not just a music project that sometimes dabbles in some politics. Activism is built into the DNA of who they are. Their emergence grew out of pressures that directly impacted their musical expression; they championed the involvement of women, LGBTQIA+, and non-binary artists just as these groups were under serious attack in their native country. (See CDM’s original article with them below for a look back, though they’ve really grown on the scene since then.) They also brought together underground artists and organized themselves, working together to move their artistic and professional practice forward – which everyone reading this article knows can be a losing battle sometimes when you go it on your own. The core group – and some of the folks who have moved to other opportunities – have all done a lot to stay activists and support and teach others.
The cause for Cut The Wire again comes close to home – for Polish people and all of us living in Europe (and watching multiple catastrophes devolve internationally). I’ll let them describe the reason this is so urgent now:
There is a humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border. Since early August hundreds of people seeking international protection, coming from the Middle East, South Asia, and northern and middle Africa are crossing the external European Union border. Polish border troops are facilitating a process which is both nationally and internationally recognized as illegal, the so-called pushbacks. This brutal practice pushes the refugees from Polish territory back under the gunpoint of Belarusian border patrol who then use the same tactic and push the people back onto the Polish side. Consequently, the exhausted migrants are repeatedly chased away from one side to the other. Polish border patrol keeps ignoring the refugees’ repeated declarations telling them that they want to seek international protection in Poland. It breaches the law, according to which the border patrol should accept the application for protection and start adequate procedures and not keep these people outdoors for weeks. The temperatures in Eastern Poland are dropping day by day, which will cause more deaths by hypothermia, starvation, and exhaustion. On 19th September Polish border troops found the bodies of three people who had died of hypothermia. On the same day, the Belarusian authorities informed about the death of a woman who died in the company of her three children. On 24 September Polish authorities informed about another death, of a man from Iraq.
Polish organizations supporting foreigners have been involved in aiding the people on the border from the very beginning of the current crisis. They were communicating with them over loudspeakers while the border troops were not allowing for any humanitarian or medical aid to reach the refugees, denying them even food or freshwater. On 3 September the Polish government decided to implement a state of emergency in the cross-border areas, which has not been done since 1981 when martial law was introduced in Poland. What it means in practice is a drastic clampdown on the aid organizations and their access to the cross-border areas as well as fewer journalists who could document the situation on-site. The people on the border have been left without any help from the outside. No one controls the actions of the authorities anymore.
The situation at the Polish border breaks our hearts. We strongly disagree with the racist politics of the Polish government which leads to the deaths of innocent people, who are seeking refuge and a chance for a better life in the European Union. As Oramics, we want to support Fundacja Ocalenie (Rescue Foundation) who has been helping the migrants on the front line since day one and they facilitate easier access to a new life in an unknown country.
We have collected music from Polish and international artists and all the proceeds from the sales of the tracks will be given to Rescue Foundation.
Rescue Foundation: en.ocalenie.org.pl
BBC about the situation at the border: www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-58671941
The music is out on the 11th, but there are already enough preview tracks to blow your socks off and make you spring for a Bandcamp buy right now – even were it not for such a good cause.
Brooklyn’s Octo Octa is on point as always, with a track that’s evidently live and improv, but makes an instant classic – a fat, irresistible groove that only grows and grows on you.
Amor Satyr continues the synth love with a friendly bass lick and an utterly fresh, magical jam in “Boreal Light.” That’s Amor of Paris’ endlessly wonderful Wajang project.
Kraków’s red-hot Semprey tears out of the gate with raw energy for “Jasny Gwint” … uh, yeah, you know everything Apple was telling us about blah blah immersive music soundstage? I cranked this through some headphones and started to hallucinate a dance floor. Just stereophonic production, though. You can imagine people melting to this one.
IKARVS is all organic percussion and – while I haven’t gotten to catch this live yet (virus isolation and all, ready to come back to Poland) – busts out some wild future-tribal wildness which I gather comes from Warszawa? There’s still plenty of witchy Slavic energy in the water in Poland even in these tough days, I gather.
Izzy Locke from London has a track called “Georgia” – I assume referring to the republic, and not the US state or a person, but whatever it is, it has a lovely, unexpected combination of fuzzy-warm wobbly pads with frantic percussion and trippy ping-ponging sounds, like some more-chill 90s IDM got a bit too jittery with coffee. (That or else that was just me. It’s terrific, cinematic stuff.)
Already well worth the 20EUR. Can’t wait to hear the other tracks, which promise talents like Loraine James plus Oramics regulars Mala Herba, Avtomat (who also did this typography), and many more. The underground is alive.
And I’ll stay in touch with folks in Poland, in or connected to Belarus, and around Berlin and Europe following the urgent situation here to find more about that, too. Feel free to let us more in comments if you’re also staying connected. I hope we’ll find other actions, too.
https://oramics.pl [don’t think there’s cause for concern about the security certificate warning there; that’s their site]