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Aspirations and Anxieties: VOVA and Nik Snake F (FFM 43 and 44)
Two new releases from FFM originate in Moscow and Kiev. A couple of solo performers travel parallel trajectories from self-doubt to a less disconcerting state, somewhere on the edge of aspiration.
Being Social: Obe Dve, Auroraw, EXIT Project, and Maskeliade Street Studio
Moscow's Anton Maskeliade has published recordings of his "Street Studio," in which passers-by are invited to perform whatever they want. These levels of social optimism are not widely shared.
A Private Choreography: Mayak, Bigudi, Kai Engel, and Absorb the Sun
From a series of Russian and Ukrainian towns, four new releases investigate the benefits of solitude. Introspection leads to a different type of self-promotion, in which anonymity and silence are key.
Despite It All: Cooper Phillip, Baikal, D-Pulse, and Grisha Liubit Grusha
Cooper Phillip, as readers of FFM know, is a Los Angeles-based singer of Slavic roots. According to some well-worn stereotypes, Russian pessimism falls away once her career blossoms on a distant shore.
Kings of Empty Dancefloors: Korablove, Swaves, Luka, and Cao Sao Vang
Various professional and social difficulties lead four electronic musicians from Russia and Belarus to celebrate solitude, peace, and quiet. A distance from social life appears to produce superior sounds.
Back to Nature: Silver Wedding, Port Mone, Vozvraschenie, and Alhambra
In a world of adult responsibilities, urban anxiety, and other challenges, the spontaneous nature of childhood experience can seem very appealing. Four new recordings look back to a simpler time and place.
New from Sketis: Vasilyev Vecher, Baraka, Voronovo Krylo, and Bubamara
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.
Tales of Solitude: Inna Zhelannaia, Naadya, Evgeny Grinko, and Megapolis
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.
SV Hutor: The Eponymous Album (Sterlitamak, FFM29)
For Western observers, many locations across a Russian map - with unpronounceable names and windswept railway stations - can appear unimaginably distant. In one of those lonely places we find SV Hutor.
Misha Mishenko and Alwayslate: "In Pursuit of Light/Chapter" (FFM26/27)
"When I compose, I simply turn off my brain and surrender to a flight of fancy. It's something elusive. It happens all of a sudden, spontaneously... it's what you might call 'improvisation of the heart and soul.'"
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