Five new albums from the Moscow folk label Sketis manage to interweave a wealth of different times and traditions. Those linkages grow in importance as society refuses to show the same inclusiveness.
All the way from Moscow to the villages of Siberia, a common idea finds voice in a handful of dance floor publications. In four of these releases, the romance of nostalgia and happy stasis proves most persistent.
As new recordings appear for dance floors across Russia and Ukraine, one would expect hedonism and jollity to predominate. The challenges of a touring musician quickly change the mood.
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.
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 physical destruction in Donetsk is only one form of material failure encountered by Slavic musicians today. Together they head for digital realms instead.
A couple of northern projects look with fondness at Soviet culture, given the failings of the present day. More powerful than childhood retrospection, however, is the invocation of an ancient tradition.
New dancefloor offerings from Russia and Estonia struggle with viable forms of optimism. "Escapism" becomes less a matter of hedonism and more a conscious response to unsatisfying actuality.
As the Subwise label in Saint Petersburg releases a new compilation album, celebrating ongoing success in the North, a new project emerges from Surgut. Both foreground the value of joint effort.
Moscow's Highway Records is publishing a collection of deep- and tech-house tracks from around Russia. One commonality between the participants is an endorsement of self-education and diligence.