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Sound Waves and Dark Spirits: VEiiLA, The Bajikans, Bright Falls, and Waltz
The Saint Petersburg duo VEiiLA uses some mythical figures to explain the power of sound over ostensible reality. Any ability of music to counter local misery, however, depends very much on one's location.
Pure Land: Parks, Squares & Alleys, Slackers, Businessman, and Kshettra
Disenchanted with their hometown experience, a number of rock outfits prefer imagination to actuality. Inspiration is found in bedroom solitude, post-Soviet gangster bravado, and even some Buddhist tenets.
Simplicity: Ewert and the Two Dragons, Vihrea, Pur:Pur, and Evgeny Grinko
Against the backdrop of recent geopolitical events, one might understand why minorism would have a marked appeal. Four collectives from Russia, Ukraine, and Estonia place smallness front and center.
The Experty.BY Awards and a Sense of Home in Belarusian Songwriting
A few days ago, the Belarusian magazine Experty.BY announced a series of awards, dedicated to the best domestic music of last year. A wide range of prizes were involved, defined in terms of format or genre.
A Northern Minimalism: Zimne and Andrey Porubov (FFM46 and 47)
Two new releases from FFM originate in distant places: Novosibirsk and the Kola Peninsula, above the Arctic Circle. In both cases, the musicians' address brings more benefit than inconvenience.
No Ordinary Love: Brunettes Shoot Blondes, Jack Wood, and "Girls on Fire"
A new Moscow EP brings together four ensembles all fronted by women - in order to celebrate March 8th. More important than either love or romance, it seems, are a range of related social issues.
Hazy Sessions and Diffidence: Atariame and Lava Lite (FFM41 and 42)
A couple of Saint Petersburg projects find common philosophical ground in two areas. Both are saddened by the woeful potential of actuality - and then turn to their hometown for some time-honored forms of reverie.
Travails: Pinkshinyultrablast, Loveburger, Slackers, and Vivienne Mort
Two new releases, both connected to Moscow life, declare the appeal of a slacker's worldview. A couple more, from Kiev and Saint Petersburg, have greater faith in the importance of hard work and daydreams.
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.
Moving to Titan: Ink Twins, S3P, Empty Field, and The Alex Kelman Band
One of the most enduring reference points for Russian musicians over the last two decades has been outer space. The approaching New Year does little to encourage hope - and so distant planets still appeal.
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