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Moscow Region, Russian Fed.
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Rostov-on-Don, Russian Fed.
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Saint Petersburg, Russian Fed.
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Saint Petersburg, Russian Fed.
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Tallinn, Estonia
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Tallinn, Estonia
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Tallinn, Estonia
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Moscow, Russian Federation
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Saint Petersburg, Russian Fed.
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Moscow, Russian Federation

Genres

Dance

Four new dance releases from around the Russian capital seek an escape from the daily grind. Increasingly, however, a pessimistic view of the future makes prior decades an attractive reference point.

Electronic

Moscow's Brinstaar stands behind a new publishing venture, Kota Records. Over the course of several recent interviews, he establishes an elegant worldview with which to counter the mainstream.

Pop

Four new releases from Moscow artists look askance at the massed workings of modernity. As a result, songs of retrospection, solitude, and even isolation have an increasing appeal.

Rock

All the way from Tallinn to Kazan, a selection of new recordings consider the value of escapism and/or imagination. A growing disappointment with the here and now only makes fantasy work harder.
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.
A few weeks ago in May, the Siberian city of Omsk hosted a festival of street art entitled "Spaces of Multiplicity" (Пространства множественности). Organizers promised that: "The entire city will become an open-air gallery. Art exhibitions, interactive installations, and performances will be on show, together with street theater and concerts. Our aim is to build an open domain for artists to communicate - not only among themselves, but also with all of Omsk, its myths, and geography. Public art is always designed for social spaces: it's directed towards an unsuspecting audience and therefore implies a direct form of communication with its overall urban setting." The academics and outside performers invited to curate the festival made clear their desire to avoid "both thematic and/or technical limitations. Nonetheless, we are interested in the importance of temporary works. We'll place an emphasis on permanent works of art in next year's event." In both cases, hope endures that these outdoor projects, be they fleeting or final, could "transform" a local environment. One of the musicians and sound artists involved was Omsk resident Anton Gudkov, often known to online audiences as Booby Mason. Here we offer his performance as 沖縄頭払機 (Okinawa Head Cutters), together with colleague Anton Orlov.