One of the more enduring assumptions or stereotypes regarding Slavic songwriting would be that of sadness, if not misery. When melancholy does indeed make an appearance, what form does it take?
Four projects from three cities (Minsk, Moscow, and St. Petersburg) have new material to offer. In each case, a quiet register is the result of considerable humility before the past and/or inspiration itself.
A recording from Leonid Fedorov and Vladimir Volkov examines how St. Petersburg's cityscape changes over time. The baroque trajectories of music outdo the linear passage of urban "progress."
Three inherently acoustic traditions are subjected to a process of change. The more those variations come to light, the more they aid self-expression. The broader one's vista, the more subjectivity benefits.
The well-respected MP3 blog Motherland has been asked to compile regular playlists by Moscow's Afisha magazine. Even among the first artists, a collective worldview starts to take shape.
The Nizhny Novgorod band Hronop have persisted for 27 years. The outlook developed across that timespan is, in essence, absurdist. It's a worldview that appeals to younger Russian artists, too.
Some new electronic pop recordings address various fantasies: space travel, ecological harmony, and even social charity. One after another, those magical potentials are frustrated by local actuality.
Four fundamentally acoustic Russian outfits are using crowdsourcing or pay-as-you-will services this season. Fittingly enough, they also draw upon the traditions of jazz or cafe culture, in which trust is just as vital.
Four bands from St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Yekaterinburg all speak to the importance of direct, live performance. Their reasons are artistic, financial, and philosophical.
A new EP from Krasnodar's Kott & Wellbeck works hard to preserve the charm of a southern Russian summer. Other releases from the north look back further still - to the happy days of childhood.