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.
The Los Angeles label Not Not Fun has just published a compilation of six female electronic artists. Resident in both Russia and Ukraine, they offer a peaceful, creative alternative to recent events.
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.
Grave Board Clan is a Belarusian collective of electronic musicians, founded ten years ago. They just published a major "Sample Pack," designed to showcase the GBC and encourage collaborations.
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.
Several key reference points connect these projects. Some of them originate in Poland, while others take us to Ukraine. Bolder still, however, is the overarching desire of these performers to leave home altogether.
As the New Year rolls around, a handful of Russian publications ponder the weight of history. Have regional events, in a number of different towns, led over time to a specific worldview or behavior, even?
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.
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.
Against a backdrop of civic unrest, several Russian and Ukrainian performers opt for a more restrained or "estranged" aesthetic. They begin with the cool, mechanical operations of an old Roland 303.