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Distant Stars: K.A.T.Y.A., Cricket Captains, Shuma, and Misha Mishenko
As a number of Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian artists consider their future plans, it transpires that the most hopeful songs grow from the greatest failures. Frustrations breed aspirations.
Just Because: The "Prosto Tak" EP by Kharkiv's Pur:Pur (FFM51)
The Ukrainian outfit known as Pur:Pur have just published five new songs, dedicated to issues of simplicity and amity. The inspiration for kindness today comes from a brief Soviet cartoon of 1976.
Boom-Bap Redux: Boora, Mad Che, Smuff tha Quiz, and Aalon$e
Several beatmakers in and around the Moscow DOPE90 collective are working hard to resurrect the sound of 90s' boom bap. The main reason they sample old US instrumentals is found at home.
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.
Aspirations and Anxieties: VOVA and Nik Snake F (FFM 43 and 44)
Two new releases from FFM originate in Moscow and Kiev. A couple of solo performers travel parallel trajectories from self-doubt to a less disconcerting state, somewhere on the edge of aspiration.
Starting Again: Viljandi Guitar Trio, Alpha-Beta, Wols, and Nikita Bondarev
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.
Ameli na Meli (Aleksandra Obraztsova / Moscow, FFM14)
Aleksandra Obraztsova's intriguing stage-name is a play upon the title of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 feature "Amelie." Obraztsova authors her hushed, pensive songs using the alter ego of "Ameli na Meli."
Constant Surprise: Jazzator, Sergei Zagny, Pol Stan, and Artiom Krikunov
Several new jazz and instrumental releases find good reason to celebrate complexity or surprise. They all share a desire to avoid the predictable crudity of commerce, mass media, and modern politics.
A Gentle Light: Kai Engel, Poostosh, Vorobushek, and Be Smooth
Four electronic publications from Moscow and Yekaterinburg express concerns over the noise and crudity of present-day experience. As a result, retrospection and nostalgia both have appeal.
Different Volumes: Van, TV Maskava, Pivo Srakami, and Cao Sao Vang
Four very different recordings from Russia and Latvia ponder the meaning of a "provincial" location. Some of them fall to black humor or despair; others, however, discover rare comfort in romance.
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