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The Basement Tapes: Arm Author, Seilarmoon, GLWZBLL, and Budzza
This week a handful of recordings in Lviv, Novosibirsk, and Omsk all struggle to remain optimistic. A number of material obstacles stand between a sunny view of the future and its realization in actuality.
Post-Perfectionists: Vhore, I Silovye Mashiny, Suvital, and Starcardigan
Various forms of escapism are encountered in modern Russian music, all the way from storied space rock to garage hedonism and masochistic decadence. Examples of them all transpire this week.
Tales of Independence: Gorbach, Niklavz, Despotin Fam, and Beatcase
From Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia, four new releases appear, all inspired by a hip-hop tradition. They also voice a connection to other musical events of prior decades - together with their social impact.
A Language of Hope: Life on Marx, Artek Elektronika, AMVI, and Acid Reich
As a British newspaper suggests that nostalgia in Russian popular music is inherently political, an alternative viewpoint arises. Many young artists fondly recall a time, rather than an ideology.
From Ambitions to Anxiety: Red Deer, Starpowers, Phooey!, and Materic
Rock recordings from St. Petersburg and beyond fall to a growing sense of fatalism. Destiny seems to accompany the gradual, grim transition from hope into hopelessness.
Sounds of Our Environment: Dza, Valotihkuu, Vorobushek, and Talnik
As a handful of new recordings play upon elements of Western hip-hop, 8bit, chill-out, and other styles, one constant theme remains. No matter the desire to sound globally aware, a local focus endures.
Staying the Course: Mindex, Gatilove, Davydov, RSAC, and Polar Lights
In an allegedly post-commercial environment, where hard work in the studio is no guarantee of a salary, the value of labor is often debated. The responses range from diligence to full-blown decadence.
Modesty as the New Sincerity: Dikajee, Snakecharm, Srub, and VLNY
Over a series of new Russian recordings, feelings of self-determination lessen in the face of both history and modern likelihood. Modesty becomes the sincerest form of expression.
A Great Escape: Magnetic Poetry, Kompakt–Katya, SiJ, and King Imagine
In the absence of a clearly structured marketplace, contemporary music in Russia is increasingly a form of self-expression. Social impact is neither easy, nor especially wanted.
Effort as Transcendence: Doyeq, OMMA, Heavenchord, and Skajite Michilu
As a range of obstacles, both private and professional, stop musicians from working uninterrupted, diligence acquires a new significance. It becomes a form of transcendence, far above material woes.
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