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Tomsk, Russian Federation
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Moscow, Russian Federation



Sergey Shyam runs a Moscow label called "Simple Things." Its core beliefs in collegiality and understatement are mirrored in other house and tech-house cuts this month, all published very far away.


A range of new electronic recordings consider the relationship of sound and space, in terms of escaping one's surroundings. To what degree does noise manage to cancel out ostensible experience?


The Sketis label is announcing a series of new albums from both Russia and Latvia. They, in turn, draw upon a melange of folk traditions, ranging all the way from Siberia's criminal past to the Balkans or Tajikistan.


Surrounded by a series of failing support systems, be they social or financial, four Russian ensembles turn to themes of family. In difficult times, thoughts of friends and colleagues grow more important.
TosyaChai is the stage-name of Tosilya Chaikina from Saint Petersburg. Until recently she performed as one half of local duo More Oblakov. The ensemble's remaining fifty percent was consistently represented by colleague Andrei Martynov. Chaikina's new solo recordings - entitled "Dreams" - appear against the backdrop of multiple lyric poems, both written and uploaded by the artist herself. She prefers to use those small and versified self-statements instead of anything more factual or prosaic. One of the newest Chaikina poems has stressed the appeal of fantasy and dreamlike states over ostensible reality: "Somewhere in the room, your aroma passes by. It seems there's still some wine left. I'd like to sleep a few more years in the forest - and never wake up, living in dreams."
Not long ago, some intriguing discussions were conducted in the Russian press about what's needed to launch a modern Russian record label - and who might undertake such a thankless task. Some of the examples and stories therein related to Moscow's Kota Records - founded by Brinstaar. In essence this project arose from a dissatisfaction with the status quo. "Everybody hates it when a sales person in a music store refuses to answer your questions, overcharges you, or is just plain rude. In the music industry that kind of thing happens all the time. People will refuse a demo tape, for example, or they'll not answer you letters. Some folks refuse to do anything at all! Everybody in the industry considers themselves to be so important: they only think about themselves." "We still don't understand why folks act that way. It's so cool to hang out with musicians and listen to their material, in order to find strange or really 'raw' sounds. Whatever you discover, there's always something to talk about. And surely that's how any industry develops, all around the globe. OK, you might be really busy. Maybe you don't have the time to discover something new - or to investigate a composition thoroughly. But so what? If you don't want to do that, then what the hell are you doing here?" This fleeting reference to strangeness is key. It lies at the very heart of Kota Records. "We may have declared ourselves 'avant garde,' but in reality things are much less clearly defined. In a word, we publish music that can conjure images before your eyes, alter your heart rate, and even change your future plans. That's the kind of material we find interesting."
When we first encountered the garage outfit called Jack Wood, they were unwilling to name their hometown, but nonetheless appeared to live somewhere close to Tomsk, Eastern Siberia. There were certainly connections to the Tomsk outfit te Disband, about whom we've written before. Drawing overtly upon the "lo-fi blues traditions of the '60s," the band made the somewhat daring suggestion that God(!) had already assessed their music as "orgasmic" in tone. Equally unlikely was the claim that these songs are enjoying high rotation in the music stores of Bristol. What seemed at first glance to be mere epatage actually began to show signs of the yearning for social membership. Jack Wood, clearly influenced by the White Stripes, linked their page at Vkontakte to a couple of private profiles - presumably those of the group members. With nothing more than one promotional image, the absence of textual information made establishing concrete identities very difficult. A flight from speech was made in favor of vaguer processes. Although those linked, often gothic pages were full of monochrome misery - and worrying assertions that "the dead have no emotions" - there were still clear signs that even this lo-fi, confrontational sound is designed to offer consolation and therefore (eventually...) contentment.
Our new recording from Dadaisme sports a weighty philosophical concept. Entitled "Dasein Mosaic," it is inspired by Heidegger's notion of "Dasein." Put simply, "Mosaic" is directly informed by a view of existence or being that's split between two states: selfhood and society. Existence is informed both by solitude and interaction, yet neither is fully realized. One never becomes wholly isolated, nor entirely part of the objective world. Instead there's a shuttling back and forth between the two: between "myself" and "them." Between here and there. For that reason, perhaps, Dadaisme (Valera Shevchenko) has spoken of his "Dasein Mosaic" as a "huge experiment with cyclical loops." In fact even his stage-name of Dadaisme comes from a similarly liminal state, somewhere beyond anything local and/or logical. Metaphors of departure and return predominate, emphasizing cyclical, often bizarre processes over any kind of stasis.