One of the most enduring motifs of Soviet culture within Russian popular music has been the so-called "Space Race"––the competition between Moscow and Washington to explore the cosmos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several new Russian electronic recordings display an increasing gratitude for both solitude and silence. The further one happens to be from clamorous modernity or a capital city, the better.
For reasons both social and philosophical, four Russian projects release new recordings with zero promotion. The logic of material wellbeing is sidelined in favor of a quieter worldview, hinted at in quotations.
New electronic recordings from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine - via Berlin - question the liberties of commercial and noncommercial enterprise. The same questions are framed ecologically.
The Ukrainian outfit known as Pur:Pur have just published five new songs, dedicated to issues of simplicity and amity. The inspiration for kindness today comes from a brief Soviet cartoon of 1976.