Summer in the postmodern Soviets

June 13, 2021 by Lucian Mogosanu

These past few days, on a rainy and atypically cold June weekend, I went through a few... adventures, let's call them.

As music is obviously more and more on my mind these days, I had spent a few of weeks researching emulated pianos, or what in marketspeak they call digital pianos -- there's an impressive variety of these sort of synthesizers, each with its own sampling methods and "sound engine", each with its own claviature design, made so as to imitate an acoustic piano down to its finest details. I'm far from being an expert on these sorts of things, but yesterday I sat and played with an upright piano side by side with one of these digital pianos, and I must say, I'm impressed!

Anyway, I liked the sound of a certain brand more than the others, so like normal humans do, I decided to try it out before buying. After briefly scouting the local market, I found that it is terribly small indeed: I came across three sellers, one over in ye olde Rahova who didn't even bother answering, another one in Brașov and a third one in northern Bucharest. The one in Bucharest is an "official" importer, but they don't even have a showroom, while Mugur Mihăiescu's remainder of a great communist store only has Yamahas1, so I guess now I'm going to Brașov to try out pianos. Iknowright? Bucharest, the capitalest of 'em towns where them civilimized folks live, I am totally talking out of my ass, what can I say.

So as I was saying, the dudes and lady over at Sound Stil gladly welcomed me to try out their stuff. The guitars didn't impress and I don't really really do drum'n'BASS these days, but the pianos totally rocked, which is great, because I have neither the energy nor the knowledge required to make one of these myself. Anyway, I'm happy to say I found something, but if this sad Bucharest situation repeats itself, I'm going to have to save myself the expense of a return trip. Really, what the fuck, these so-called "European lands" don't suffer so much from a chip shortage as they do from a total lack of common sense.

Anyways, yesterday I also ate at Bogdan Bart's restaurant, a post-hipster eatery, "hipster" in the sense that they totally like the ornaments thing and whatnot, and "post" in the sense that the man totally owned the hipster eatery market in Brașov. The food's great, the personnel is beyond reproach, but as in the earlier piano story, the highlight to my eye isn't that "Bogdan Bart left Germany to make traditional Romanian food in Brașov". I mean, sure, he did that, but he also worked with one chef Florin Dumitrescu on some restaurant I didn't even hear anything about until yesterday, despite Dumitrescu's plurious appearances on the tubes, and then, yet again, he left. Which means that Bucharest, yet again, doesn't have the material and the human resources to sustain a business in the HoReCa market, while somehow, "unexplainably", Brașov does. And Brașov is nowhere near the size of Cluj, which finds me rather confused: what was the capital of Romania again?

Speaking of which: after its recent post-covid reopening, we've been eager to revisit the local thermal water place with spas and whatever, also located in northern Bucharest. There's something very fishy about this northern Bucharest2, since Therme, a business well-known for its talent of fitting as many heads3 as possible into its space, has very little regard for its own services and instead chooses to go the old Romanian way, by now providing a full soviet experience with waiting times, queues and everything... by which I mean, anything but "the ideal exotic destination".

On top of that, we had to vamoose early due to what seemed to be a fire in the basement, which comes as a painful reminder of those stories from the '80s when the lights went out more often than they went in. I guess we're happily reliving those times, only now with 9000% moar tecknaology, for all the two cents that's worth.

Well, enjoy and... you know.

  1. I don't like how they sound, which opinion might offend some of the more sensitive ears, but... whatever. 

  2. There's a lot more political context where this came from, involving "anti"-corruption doublespeakisms and other such lulz that not even poor ol' communist Romania managed to generate. Then again, I guess you people "got" teh platforms to discuss politics nowadays, at least for some values of "politics" and "discuss", so I shan't bother digging into this particular pile. 

  3. Yes, "heads", as in cattle. What else do you think you are?

    I got this distinct smell from the very first visit, which means that a visit there was more of a race to get away from the crowded places, from all that țigăneală so typical of the locals. It would be an exaggeration to say that all of you are little more than animals, but it's not an exaggeration to observe that the animals come from all social classes and fields of industry, which yet again puts all you "IT" guys on par with the average gypsy. No, race really dun matter, it's just that civilization, assuming there was ever any of it in this poor old perpetual outskirt of empires, is dead regardless. 

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4 Responses to “Summer in the postmodern Soviets”

  1. #1:
    Diana Coman says:

    If it's a Kawai you are looking at, by any chance, I can recommend them, indeed. For that matte, any local "preference" for Yamaha is more likely to be simply due to the usual lack of resources overall.

  2. #2:
    spyked says:

    Indeed! I ended up getting a CN39 after my initial quest to try out the CN29, which also resulted in some time spent with the K15, which turned out to be a great reference point for all the instruments in the showroom. At least I guess that's why they put it there.

    Yamahas certainly look more fashionable even among the professionals, but I'm not a pro and I didn't go for the $10K models (probably would have had to go to Budapest to get my hands on one of those, eh?). But indeed, choosing a piano in the year 2021 requires one to look at long lists of characteristics and peer through thick technical jargon, not to mention the long journey to find actually useful analyses on the internets. To be honest, I don't think I myself had the necessary experience to make this choice after three hours of contact with the instrument, but then again, I didn't spend $10K on a piano either.

  3. #3:
    spyked says:

    And in other lulz from the soviets, ye olde Stalintown is now the fastest growing housing market in the country.

  4. [...] it's no secret that I've decided to procure myself a piano -- or at least something which very closely resembles [...]

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