Electrecord is a Romanian record label, the only one that existed during the communist regime, transformed into the national recording company, following the centralization-oriented socialist doctrine. Since its incorporation in 1932, it has released countless records, on many popular formats, covering all genres from all eras, publishing the music of pretty much everyone worth mentioning. From Romanian Folklore music, to Gipsy singers, acoustic folk, rock, pop, and even releasing children’s stories, poetry and radio theatre, these were the records of a few generations, music that shaped the Romanian audience. That’s why I chose this month as a month to publish only Romanian vinyl released by Electrecord, to celebrate its 90th anniversary.
In the early 1990s, after the communist regime fell, at the same time with the rise in popularity of cassette and CD players, the LP market fell abruptly. The vinyl presses were sold, as well as the building where the factory resided.
From 1975 until 1991, there was a series of compilation releases, featuring some very good Romanian rock bands: Formatii Rock, which is worth mentioning because of the great names that they published.
Formatii de muzica Pop 1-3
Released in 1975, 1976 and 1980, the first three discs were named “Formatii de muzica Pop”, translated to “Pop Music Groups”. This was mostly because the term “rock music” was seen as something Western, capitalist, and generally bad.
However, the bands featured on these discs are bands that became rock legends in the Romanian music, like Phoenix, Mondial, Progresiv TM, Rosu si Negru, Holograf, and others.
The format of these releases was of a classic compilation, some of the bands most popular songs were included in the release.
Formatii de muzica Rock 4-5
The same classic compilation format was used for some of the following discs, released in 1980 and 1981, featuring great bands as well. But now, as the rock music became more popular with the Romanian public, the Communist party started to allow the name of “rock” to come to light, however, under great scrutiny and with a lot of censorship. The connection to the previous “Pop Music Groups” series is obvious, as the series numbering started from 4.
Thus, these three releases still feature a combination of some of the best bands of the era: Semnal M, Rosu si Negru, Sfinx, Cristal, Metrock, Redivivus (Gabriel Cotabita woo!), Rodion G.A., and others.
- 4 - Sfinx • Rosu si Negru • Semnal M • Savoy • Cristal
- 5 - Metrock • Redivivus • Dan Badulescu • Rodion G.A.
Formatii de muzica Rock 6-14
Starting with the 6th release, the format changed, due to the increased popularity of rock music. Instead of focusing on having a “tops of the pops” compilation, the series started to publish double EPs, for bands that were very good, but either didn’t have enough material for one full album, or weren’t that big (at the time). There’s also the small exception of volume 7, which features four bands, but still organized like a split-double-EP.
- 6 - Compact • Grup 2005
- 7 - Barock • Hardton • Krypton • Prefix 990
- 8 - Evolutiv • Celelalte Cuvinte
While some of the groups were pretty big at some point, some faded away and became footnotes in the musical history, while others made it big, releasing great albums (Pro Musica, Evolutiv, Roata), and some of them even still performing in a form or another (Celelalte Cuvinte, Accent, Timpuri Noi, Compact)
However, as I said before, after 1990, the LP market went into the ground. Cassettes became more popular, followed by CDs. The technological progress and format revolution was a bit delayed here because of the regime, but once that fell, it brought down with it the entire vinyl industry. The series came to an abrupt end, although Electrecord released another two double EPs in 1995 and 1996, but without officially including them into the “Formatii de muzica Rock” series.
Now Electrecord is a pale shade of its former glory, but still exists, still releases records, but is not selling the volume it once sold. Its modern studio located in Bucharest’s city center is still rocking and one day will maybe release another “Formatii de muzica Rock” record.