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.
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.
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.
Ambient and lo-fi publications from four northern addresses all ponder the meaning of solitude. It does not lead to melancholy; in fact it offers a productive liberty from the awfulness of social existence.
Faith in social spheres is a theme discussed in new material from Moscow, Kiev, and a range of Estonian towns. Not everybody shares an optimistic view of audiences and other noisy collectives.
As we conclude a third and final overview, the "NG 15" album appears in Moscow. Twenty-six performers are gathered together in order both to consider the meaning of New Year and help a children's charity.
The Moscow magazine Afisha continues to gather a wide range of songs celebrating the New Year. All of the performers involved juxtapose their individual hopes and dreams with the unlikely prospect of civic improvement.
Four publications this month are dedicated to themes of transformation and metamorphosis. Despite their differing styles, they find common ground in a celebration of good-natured change.
Surrounded by a series of failing support systems, be they social or financial, four Russian ensembles turn to themes of family. In difficult times, thoughts of friends and colleagues grow more important.
All the way from Tallinn to Kazan, a selection of new recordings consider the value of escapism and/or imagination. A growing disappointment with the here and now only makes fantasy work harder.