In 2020, electronic musician Nina Pixel was offered a track on a compilation album of songs from the Liptov region. What started as a rearrangement of a single folk song eventually grew in scope and size, eventually becoming a series of releases. Titled Ancestral Archaeology, the series counts two self-released EPs, an audiovisual show in co-operation with Adrián Kriška, and now, after two years, a double LP published by Weltschmerzen. In this definitive form of an album, Ancestral Archaeology reveals itself as a musical reimagination of traditional historical Slovak culture at large.

Nina Pixel averts the perils of lapsing into inauthentic fakelore by building her music with, rather than on, the ethnographic riches of Slovakia. With the eagerness of a genuine archeological prospector, Ancestral Archaeology invokes the always present but seldom perceived linchpins of folklore culture: the desperate clinging to the memory of pre-Christian paganism and witchcraft, songs with narratives of beautiful innate wyrdness that is utterly unfit for mass culture, and superstition as the most serious longing for the balance between sense and irrationality.

If we acknowledge the truism of folklore as the shared way of expression in rural society, the techno music on Ancestral Archeology proposes that, in the urban society of ours, this role is served by raves. The argument isn’t as much declared as it’s implied // in music and in the spoken-word lyrics that are rife with historical and contemporary sources. An 18th-century recipe by the writer and priest Juraj Fándly proposes snorting the grounded flowers of the medicinal weed Valerian as a way of curing bad vision. “It is a proven remedy!” we are repeatedly assured, and it’s not hard imagining Fándly and his parishioners, strung out on Valerian, moving almost involuntarily to the rhythms of their era just as we can move to Ancestral Archeology.

Nina Pixel is a Slovak music artist based in Berlin // Weltschmerzen is a Slovak music label based in Bratislava.

apart // together // always.

Created and narrated by Nina Pixel. Lyrics are inspired by Slovak folklore traditions, songs and shared beliefs.

Manifestation tools: cello, overtone flute koncovka, fujara, gong, metal bowls, sheep bell, field recordings of Slovak forests, Andreas’s tom and various drum machines.

Voice samples:
Sutartinės (A Goddess comes from within the Earth)
Funeral Lament, recorded in Vernár 1973 (Puhpowee)
Panoráma Ľudovej Kultúry; Liptov (Pohár viny, 13th Month)
Hay-making Songs; Selec, Kysuce, Terchová (It Felt Like I Suppose to Follow It, Zmrzlí,Dialogické vyvolávania)

Mixed and mastered by Andreas Bonkowski at Magic Window
Graphic design: Andrej & Andrej
Album cover: Adrian Kriska

Credits and respect to all ancestors and Andreas for inspiring me and navigating me all the way from madness to meaning.

Financially supported by FPU & BSK
In Berlin 2019-2021

apart // together // always.