Rdeča Raketa (Red Rocket) is the electronic music duo of Maja Osojnik and Matija Schellander. Their new project …and cannot reach the silence deals with the current world of misunderstandings, communicating past each other, willingly and unwillingly overlooking or ignoring each other’s meanings via various fast-paced forms and platforms of communication; and, with that, the tightening of incompatible parallel »realities«. It explores forms of violence; physical and verbal, external and self-inflicted. It explores forms of power; the dangerous thin line between giving power to and giving power over oneself, and forms of subjugation and addiction on both societal and, more significantly, on interpersonal levels. »… Look at us! Beasts, bottomless pits, never to be full! To be fulfilled. Glued onto each other in sweat, a never-ending pain and evenly spread, at all times…«.
In those dark, dystopian lyrics, full of questions, such as, »What is being said and what stays unspoken? Who does it refer to? Who is protecting whom? For what reasons? Who is being addressed or what needs to be considered?« the wish, the need and the struggle for self-empowerment, honesty, love and reconciliation is exposed or, at the very least, nourished.
Rdeča Raketa combines abstract electronic sounds with heavy beats, inspired by acousmatic and industrial music, as well as hip hop. The artful interweaving of spoken and sung language (based on Osojnik’s texts) coalesces with the collaged sound material. Modular synthesizers and cut-up samples mixed with manipulated CD players and recordings of acoustic instruments and field recordings, along with elaborate sound processing, ultimately creates a wondrously heterogeneous mixture.
For this project, they have invited two video artists to collaborate with: Patrick K.-H. (Vienna/St. Petersburg) and Ivan Marušić Klif (Zagreb).
The abstract-concrete video of Patrick K.-H. comes out of his works in analog collage and naturally bears its qualities, such as characteristic imprecise cuts and overlapping of typographical standards that otherwise don’t meet.
Ivan Marušić Klif is a multimedia artist who works in the field of kinetic, light and video installations, sound, music and performance. From his early light installations of the 90’s to the recent software-controlled installations, Ivan Marušić Klif has consistently explored and experimented with the possibilities of media, both new and obsolete, through the use of sound, light or video image, continually constructing increasingly complex immersive technologically mediated environments.
In their live shows, video does not comment on music, and music does not comment on video. They add perspective to one another; a potential for further evolution, growth and transmutations of characters at the junction of seen and heard.
Ed Pinsent for The Soundprojector /2022/06/02/that-gasoline-emotion/(06/2022) That Gasoline Emotion
Vienna based duo Rdeca Raketa here with their fine new electronics-and-voice album, …And Cannot Reach The Silence (VENTIL RECORDS V_026 / MAMKA RECORDS MAM 04). We have a lot of time for Maja Osojnik, the lyricist and vocalist of the group, especially her solo records such as Let Them Grow, just one example of how this singular woman is able to deal with very troubling emotions and produce a strong cathartic experience. The same qualities apply to today’s album, particularly the near-confrontational words on ‘The Night is Spilling Across the Room’ which give the listener little choice but to participate and face up to the difficult images which the singer throws in our face.
The unflinching stance continues on ‘Like Gasoline’, but here the music is a wonderful lurching back-and-forth noise of abstract and abrasive electronic sawing, that makes it a shade more accessible – until you start to feel a claustrophobic trap closing around you…nine minutes never felt so insufferable! The press notes confirm that Rdeca Raketa – a name which translates as Red Rocket – are still very concerned with the failure of communication in modern times, the terrible net of misunderstandings and ignorance that hems us all in, a situation compounded by the widespread careless use of social media. The other touchy themes on offer include “violence”, “power”, “subjugation” and “addiction”, a rich stew of inflammatory topics as your starter for ten…while it may be that the duo see all of us as beasts, slaves to our insatiable desires, struggling to attain any sort of happiness and locked into unhealthy inescapable relationships (I’m paraphrasing the gist of the press release now), the music they make is not bleak or hopeless, rather exists as a passionate cry and an exhortation for us all to face up the harsh truth, and lift ourselves from the swamps of despair.
It may seem like I’m giving Maja all the credit for this, so let the record show that Matija Schellander’s adept contributions to the sound are integral, essential… grim but subtle electronic noise, with its influences from industrial music and hip-hop beats, with a rugged analogue capability that aligns perfectly with the dark themes. Modular synths, samples, cut-ups, treated field recordings, modified CD players and processed tapes are among the arsenal of dazzling effects used by this duo as they slug it out across the post-modern alienated urban-scape they perceive, leaving a wake of ruined friendships and dead bodies as they go…after the months of hellish isolation and unbearable loneliness we’ve all endured, here’s the perfect soundtrack for the situation. Enjoy while you can. From 5th August 2021.
Christopher Nosnibor for AuralAggravation (08/2021)
Ultimately, it’s apparent now that social media changed everything. But one thing specific was the relationship between artist and audience. Historically, the distance between the two was clear and also integral. The last, ten to fifteen years hasn’t only seen that separation eroded, but a certain expectation that the artist should engage directly with the audience via online platforms, be it social media or a blog maintained as a part of their website. As a marketing tool, it makes sense, but it’s hard not to feel that something has been lost along the way. Is it right that the artist should be made accessible, or that there should be an expectation of there being some kind of quite direct interaction? It’s not even necessarily about maintaining a persona or a degree of enigma: many artists are introverts by nature, and don’t create art to stand in the limelight in front of it. Many artists create to escape something, or simply to expel or have an outlet for that which they cannot convey by any other means. I’m often not particularly communicative myself. I don’t want to talk about it, whatever it is – assuming I even know. I simply want to write or make ‘music’. But I did, recently post on Facebook about how I often berate myself for not being as productive as I would like to be. People were largely sympathetic, but few, it would seem, truly ‘got it.’
One artist who truly does understand that eternal restlessness is polyartist Maja Osojnik, and her quest for creativity is unstinting. Having been involved in several visual exhibitions, a live stream, and various compositions in recent months, she’s also recorded an album with collaborator Matija Schellander to deliver the debut Rdeča Raketa (Red Rocket) album. This album is both very ‘now’ and also very much an expiration of the human condition, specifically its failings and how communication is key, but very much prone to failure. As the liner notes outline, ‘…and cannot reach the silence deals with the current world of misunderstandings, communicating past each other, willingly and unwillingly overlooking or ignoring each other’s meanings via various fast-paced forms and platforms of communication; and, with that, the tightening of incompatible parallel “realities.” It explores forms of violence; physical and verbal, external and self-inflicted. It explores forms of power; the dangerous thin line between giving power to and giving power over oneself, and forms of subjugation and addiction on both societal and, more significantly, on interpersonal levels. “… Look at us! Beasts, bottomless pits, never to be full! To be fulfilled. Glued onto each other in sweat, a never-ending pain and evenly spread, at all times…” They go on to ask, ‘In those dark, dystopian lyrics, full of questions, such as “What is being said and what stays unspoken? Who does it refer to? Who is protecting whom? For what reasons? Who is being addressed or what needs to be considered?” the wish, the need and the struggle for selfempowerment, honesty, love and reconciliation is exposed or, at the very least, nourished.’ All of this resonates, and deeply. Only yesterday, I had been considering how depth of conversation seems to have evaporated. People have neither the time more the attention. Conversations were often cut short or curtailed or otherwise hurried back in the days of the office, but that was nothing compared to thee standard one- or two-line text exchanges, comments shared by Skype or Teams. We – collectively – don’t really ‘talk’ anymore. We’re paranoid, time-deprived, stressed. We’re also so polarised and entrenched in our oppositional viewpoints that there is no debate, only division. And with social media, 24/7 scrolling news and infinite notifications from apps, there is no respite – ever. There is no silence, wherever you may seek it.
The three longform compositions on …and cannot reach the silence are heavy and rich with atmosphere. The first, the ten-minute ‘the night is spilling across the room…’ approaches by stealth. A low, slow, ominous drone, intercut with aberrant thuds and squelches. An artisanal, wordless voice drifts in, and it’s haunting, ghostly, otherworldly. What does it mean? The lyrics, sung in a detached tone, are stark, bleak: ‘You were unspoken / She was born already broken….’ Eventually, the words drift out into a wordless undulating hum and the world slowly disintegrates. The disintegration continues through the lumbering lurch of counterpart composition ‘…like gasoline’. Its slow, yawning rhythmic intonations evoke the heavy grind of SWANS circa 1986, relentless, booming, droning, and it’s the perfect backdrop to Maja’s semi—spoken vocal delivery. She’s robotic, inhuman, empty, even when articulating human emotions – ‘I want to you so bad, I want you so bad,’ she repeats at one point. But is it want, or is it need? Something less about choice or desire, and more about emotional survival? ‘I am tired’ she repeats, over and over, in tones ranging from weary to frustrated, defeated to angry, and you feel it – you know it. The articulation is comparable to one of Bruin Gysin’s permutational poems: only, instead if rearranging the words, the emphasis changes in order to find different meanings of the same words. This one resonates. The tiredness saps your life and saps your soul, and you feel the differences between ‘I’m tired, please leave me be,’ and ‘I’M TIRED! FUCK OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE!’ The third and final composition, ‘waiting it out’, is fifteen and a half minutes of ominousness. The vocals are all but submerged, a babble beneath the undulating drone and trilling. Synths crank up and head for take-off as they stray into the heavily phased world of early industrial and power electronics, a wheezing wall of wailing synths puffing and groaning and bleeping and whirring and all converging in a seething sonic mound. Towards the end, it ventures skywards in a succession of laser-guided rockets arcing into the sky.
…and cannot reach the silence is an album with an immense range, and an understated intensity – and a magnificent artistic achievement.
J.G. for Africanpaper (09/2021)
Das aus Maja Osojnik und Matija Schellander bestehende Wiener Duo Rdeča Raketa – dt. Rote Rakete – bringt ein neues Album mit dem Titel “…and cannot reach the silence” heraus. Mit zahlreichen Einflüssen von Industrial bis HipHop im Gepäck gehen die beiden in den gesungenen und rezitierten Texten Osojniks der Frage nach den zahlreichen Irrwegen der Kommunikation in Zeiten medialer Überangebote nach.
Die von einem dystopisch anmutenden Pessimismus durchdrungenen Texte, die bei genauerem Hören aber wie ein Weckruf aus einer verschlafenen Unbewusstheit klingen, sind kunstvoll eingewoben in ein Muster aus Synthies, gesampleten Sounds und vielen mehr.
“…the night is spilling Across The room” lautet der Titel des 10-minütigen Openers, und was hier über den Boden geschüttet wird, ist zunächst ein langes, singendes Droneloop, in Bewegung gehalten durch ein Rauschen, das wie Worte herausgepresst wird und für Momente die Illusion eines Taktes aufkommen lässt. Doch es bleibt tastend und unsicher, und es ist nicht das letzte, das hier im Ungefähren, Diffusen beleibt. Hochfrequentes und eine schläfrig summende Stimme bilden die unklare Kulisse für einen leicht melodischen Monolog, indem die erotische Fantasie mit einem namenlosen “pretty girl” zu scheinbarem Leben erwacht.
Das ekstatische Keuchen, vorangetrieben von aufwühlenden Synthies, kann ebenso sehr Lust wie Verzweiflung – zusammen sicher die wesentliche Existenzgrundlage aller dating Apps dieser Welt – illustrieren und geht über in den Lärm, der “… like gasoline” wie eine MG-Salve eröffnet. Nachdem sich der Song im Midtempo eingerichtet hat, setzt auch hier der Monolog ein und beschreibt die Indifferenz (“we are nothing to each other”) und zugleich das obsessiver Begehren (“I want him so bad”), die beide sicher nicht untypisch sind für einsame virtuelle Fantasien, aber auch für Beziehungen, in denen sich Partner v.a. als Objekte begegnen.
Dem Titel entsprechend beginnt das abschließende “waiting it out” mit eher gemächlichen, aber nichtsdestoweniger spannungsgeladenen Synthies. Doch wer hier mit einem harmonischen Finale rechnet, bekommt die volle Ladung Dystopie entgegengeschleudert mittels hektischer Stimmfragmente, enervierendem Bohren an der Migränegrenze und der Beklommenheit einer Ego Shooter-Mission ohne Aussicht auf einen next level, bis irgendeine Instanz den erlösenden Stecker zieht und das Stück entsprechend abrupt endet.
“My breasts will not feed nor me nor you”, sind die finalen Worte des Albums, und dieser Hinweis auf etwas, dass in einer heute etwas angestaubt klingenden Psychologie einmal orale Fixierung genannt wurde, ist nicht unwesentlich für einen Zug, der aus dem Album mehr macht als eine etwas moralingesäuerte Medienkritik. Der Fokus nämlich liegt viel mehr auf dem Leiden des darin verstrickten, auf der hilflosen Sehnsucht desjenigen, der keine Ruhe findet. (J.G.)
Arianna Fleur for MUSICEXPORT The parts of its sum – Jazz Festival Saalfelden 2021 Recap
(…) The festival was equally blessed with a presentation of the latest work of Rdeča Raketa, the duo of musicians and composers, Maja Osojnik and Matija Schellander, entitled “… and cannot reach the silence”. Like Ernst, they utilized the space downstairs in the Kunsthaus Nexus to present their multimedia art, by projecting videos from their collaborators, Patrick K.-H. and Ivan Marusic Klif. In doing so, the sounds – a mixture of fragmented, heavy and industrial beats and noises – became one with the strange visual world of high contrast scenes made up of dancing black and white figures in stop-motion, body parts multiplying themselves and eyes staring and blinking at you. Maja’s voice, of sung and spoken words, cut straight through all the noise and chaos. Mournful statements such as, “your love doesn’t love me” or “she was born already broken” echoed through the hall. As a finale, the whole room turned red and the noise suddenly quieted. Maja’s lyrics wandered into other realms of darkness. “My breasts will not feed, not me, nor you…” David Lynch might have enjoyed this show. Or been a secret co-producer.
Vanessa Ague for THE WIRE, (UK, 11/2021)
In an age where communicatoin seems infinitely possible – emails, endless social media feeds, a bevy of dating apps – it often isn’t easier to connect. With their electronic Project Rdeča Raketa (Red Rocket), Maja Osojnik and Matija Schellander seek to make music that illustrates the suffocating anxiety of not being on the same page, with others and with ourselves. Their Music is at times sparse, at times violent and chaotic, at times exasperated and resigned, showcasing the rise and fall of uncertainty. Osojnik and Schellander have been working together for more then a decade on projects that mix heavy beats and industrial noise. This latest release follows a similar path, evenutally reaching a fever pitch of pummeling noise and crashing beats. Its themes are undoubtedly dark – exploring the power struggle driven by intentional and unintentional miscommunication in intimate, interpersonal relationships – and the duo’s chilling music is an apt fit. The Album’s opening sparseness is quickly discarded in favour of bloodcurdling high-oitched squeals accompanied by rhythmic spoken word and speak-singing. It three tracks follow a narrative arc – from a harrowing sexual desire (‘Kiss me, lick me, bite me, kill me”) to broken consent and miscommunication (a sream of “I am tired”) to spiralling loss of self (“Who are these people?”. Its sheer force transports us into the void of writhing panic. The duo effectively deploy unsettling noise to make the hopefull moments feel more powerful. Through all the darkness and fear there is light. At the tail end of the album, we hear: “ I know how to find myself by heart, my hair, my mouth, my hands, my breasts will not feed, not me, nor you.” Even in the grip of endless, dehumanising miscommunication, there’s a reminder that the embattled are capable of accessing an inner strength.
Eyal Hareuveni for Sault Peanuts (08/2021)
(…) The opening piece «the night is spilling across the room..» already cements the close, claustrophobic ambiance with its otherworldly noises and fractured beats. The phrasing and delivery of Osojnik intensify the emotional distress of the narrator, lost in a hopeless relationship. The following «..like gasoline» offers a more dense soundscape with its grinding noises. It parallels the relationship to a series of volatile, exhausting and never satisfying incidents: «… Look at us! Beasts, bottomless pits, never to be full! To be fulfilled. Glued onto each other in sweat, a never-ending pain and evenly spread, at all times…» and finished with a horrific scream: «I am tired». The last piece «waiting it out» is a spacious but brutal drone that resonates the ambiguous sonic and personal themes of this album, but concludes with the narrator finding some peace with herself: «and so I am, above all, and so I have become mine. I know how to find myself by heart, my hair, my mouth, my hand. My breast will not feed me, nor you».
Frank P.Eckert for Groove DE (08/2021)
(…) Die große Erzählung der alten künstlerischen Avantgarde der Moderne geht ungefähr so: Für jedes Genre gab es einzelne geniale Individuen, die sich zusammentaten, um in ihrer unbändigen Experimentierfreude etwas genuin Neues zu schaffen, alle Konventionen sprengen zu wollen – und genau dadurch neue Konventionen zu schaffen, also einen innovativen oder zumindest veränderten Mainstream. Die kleine Erzählung der Postmoderne isoliert das Neue in jeweilige Nischen, die unbändige Experimentierfreude ist immer noch möglich, nur eben ohne weiteren Kontext, ohne größere Wirkung außerhalb der Bubble. Und doch gibt es noch immer Arbeiten, die den Bogen spannen von den alten zu den neuen Avantgarden, die die Möglichkeit, etwas anderes zu machen, nicht allein in einem selbstdefinierten Underground stattfinden lassen wollen, der doch Mainstream werden will.
Ein damals wie heute beliebtes Stilmittel ist daher die Collage. Das Duo von Maja Osojnik und Matija Schellander, Rdeča Raketa, fügt diese in improvisierten elektronischen Noise und Lyrik, sucht und erfindet so ein Bindeglied zwischen den widerständigen Freiheiten dessen, was sich Free Jazz einmal erarbeitet und herausgenommen hat, und der nischigen, aber dennoch nicht gerade unpopulären Spoken Word Poetry. Was auf …and can not reach the silence (Ventil Records, 4. August) einen interessanten Effekt zeitigt. Eventuell etwas weniger dringlich und radikal als das strukturell ähnliche Werk von Moor Mother, macht das Wiener Duo die Erfahrungen ihrer eigenen Lebenswelt zu einer Avantgarde, die weder dem modernen noch dem postmodernen Klischee entsprechen will.
Treffen sich zwei radikale wie diskrete Klang-Ausprobierer*innen, passiert oft etwas Interessantes und Schönes, denn es gilt ja die je eigenen erprobten musikalischen Formen einzubringen, aber ebenso im besten Fall eine gemeinsame Basis zu finden, auf der sich etwas ganz anderes entwickeln kann.
Anthony D’Amico for Brainwashed USA (09/2021)
I believe this is the third album from this Vienna-based duo, but it has been a while (eight years) since they last released anything and they are entirely new to me. Rdeča Raketa is a collaboration between composer/double bassist Matija Schellander and Slovenian singer/artist/force of nature Maja Osojnik and they achieve quite a memorable and compelling collision of aesthetics. At its best, …and cannot reach the silence feels like a Weimar-era cabaret, a killer noise/industrial show, and gripping performance art all beautifully mashed together. While that seems like an aesthetic that should not work (like Marlene Dietrich fronting Throbbing Gristle), the execution is so masterful that Schellander and Osojnik make that unholy union seem perfectly natural. Admittedly, the train occasionally derails a little bit or a song might take an exasperatingly long time to catch fire, but the album’s minor flaws feel completely irrelevant when everything locks in place and Osojnik starts seductively singing and ranting like a classic femme fatale diva gone feral. Given that, Osojnik’s magnetic vocal presence is understandably the focal point of the album, but it is also worth noting that the pair are unusually good at crafting wonderfully heavy and gnarled industrial rhythms. This is easily one of the year’s most memorable albums.
The album is composed of three lengthy pieces whose titles form a poem of sorts (“the night is spilling across the room…like gasoline. waiting it out.”). All of the texts come from Osojnik, and the poem abstractly alludes to the album’s central theme of rampant misunderstanding and the “tightening of incompatible parallel ‘realities.'” I would be hard pressed to come up with a theme that better sums up the current state of the world than “incompatible parallel realities,” but it would take a close reading of the lyrics to grasp that overarching theme, as …and cannot reach the silence primarily feels darkly libidinal with a healthy side helping of churning industrial menace. The strongest pieces are the first two, as they are more song-like than the closing soundscape. On “the night is spilling across the room,” a ghostly haze of feedback gradually coheres into something like a Birchville Cat Motel gig unsuccessfully attempting to drown out a sultry cabaret chanteuse. As it unfolds, it hits quite a striking balance of eerie beauty, gnarled industrial maelstrom, and smoldering sexuality. It even stays great after Osojnik’s fiery central performance subsides, as floating vocals swirl above a heavy industrial beat that feels like one of Downward Spiral-era NIN’s more experimental moments. The following “like gasoline” picks up right where its predecessor left off, as a heaving mechanized rhythm is strafed by static and ghostly backing vocals fade in to set the stage for another volcanic Osojnik performance. There are a few moments that feel a bit too intense or bluntly sexual for my taste, but they are handily eclipsed by how much everything else is crushingly brilliant. It’s like a great industrial noise band was unexpectedly blessed with a strikingly charismatic, sensual, and spontaneous femme fatale vocalist hellbent on tearing through the scene like an erotic hurricane. Consequently, it is fitting then that the final piece (“waiting it out”) is mostly a howling storm of noise and electronics. It is an impressively nightmarish one too, but the comparative lack of Osojnik’s vocals makes it feel less “human” and distinctive than the previous pieces (though I do like the part where her garbled voice fleetingly appears to ask “who are these people?”). The three pieces cumulatively add up to quite a wild, wonderful, and uniquely heavy album, as Schellander and Osojnik seem blissfully immune to any impulses that might dilute or diminish the primal intensity of their art.
Samples can be found here.
Piergiuseppe Lippolis for MusicMap (09/2021)
Rdeča Raketa è il duo formato da Maja Osojnik e Matija Schellander, entrambi musicistisloveni e di stanza in Austria. La formazione è tornata da pochissimo con un nuovo full length, intitolato “…and Cannot Reach the Silence” (uscito per Ventil Records e Mamka Records), che arriva a più di otto anni dal precedente “Wir Werden” e che affronta il tema dei fraintendimenti, delle difficoltà intrinseche nella comunicazione e in quelle nuove, che derivano direttamente o meno dalla rivoluzione dovuta ai nuovi mezzi, ma anche alla violenza, non soltanto quella tangibile, e alle forme di potere, specialmente quelle più subdole. L’album è suddiviso in tre lunghi capitoli: i primi due (“The Night Is Spilling…”, “…Like Gasoline”) si fermano poco prima di raggiungere dieci minuti, il terzo (“Waiting It Out”) supera il quarto d’ora. Sul piano meramente musicale, il duo combina un’elettronica astratta, ora più densa e ora più rarefatta, scandita da beat ruvidi e muscolari ispirati dalla musica industrial e quella acusmatica, ma offrendo qua e là qualche spunto abstract hip hop. Le field recordings si inseriscono perfettamente in un contesto dominato dai synth e dalle voci, che alternano cantato e spoken. L’atmosfera, claustrofobica, scura e vagamente decadente, diventa un vero e proprio marchio di fabbrica per un lavoro non affatto immediato e a tratti ostico, ma ispirato e pregno di significati. (Piergiuseppe Lippolis)
Stefano I.Bianchi for BLOW UP (10/2021)
Ogni tanto, quando se ne ricordano, Maja Osojnik e Matija Schellander fanno un disco; per ora erano a due uscite e questa è la terza, a otto anni di distanza dalla precedente. Synth modulari e sample, manipolazioni di CD e registrazioni di strumenti acustici trafitte via computer, insomma quel che si definisce musica elettroacustica ma mutata in materiale più vicino, diciamo così, a forme post-rock / wave, sia per la presenza della voce rezitante (Maja) che per la struttura lineare: la ieratica recita di The night is Spilling Across the Room he diventa marcia funebre, I rumori organizzati di like Gasoline che lentamente prendono il ritmo di canzone storta industriale meccanica, I sibili e I ticchettii di Waiting it out che s’involano nello spazio. Buono, anche de dopo tanti anni era lecito aspettarsi qualcosa di più.