These four new releases from Russia and Ukraine all lean towards a validation of smallness. There are various reasons not to be loud, arrogant, and self-assured. Local history is one of them.
Four melancholy releases all find solace by imagining a grander, quieter realm. Private anxieties fade away. The same consoling process is evident in new folk recordings, born of a parallel experience.
The British magazine Wire has just published a very important and impressive compilation of new electronic music from Ukraine. Entitled "Zikro," it has been curated by Andrey Kiritchenko.
А sneaking suspicion that actuality is increasingly loud and intolerant leads to the search for other options: quieter love songs, wanton surrealism, or an escape into the realm of virtual bands.
Two Russian electronic recordings speak of the search for "a new language" in the gaps between various genres. They're equated with a civic absence or lack. In Estonia, two kindred recordings take a more optimistic view.
The dark, dense forests of Karelia lead the Petrozavodsk duo Love Cult to conjure an entire universe of alternative dimensions. This tendency to prejudice dreams over urban actuality is found elsewhere.
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?
Three solo projects from Russia and Ukraine touch upon a common issue. What is the relationship of hard work to creative success, if artistic "verity" is viewed in terms of something ineffable or fleeting?
Against the backdrop of a happy, productive hip-hop community in Latvia, some new publications by Russian artists take a dark view of group membership. Kindness and collaboration are both absent.
The Estonian label Ounaviks continues to produce a wide and wonderful range of folk reinterpretations for a new generation. From within that antique heritage comes a reconsidered worldview.