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.
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.
On October 27, the Big Samhain festival will take place in Saint Petersburg. It gathers a wide range of folk traditions from Russia, Scotland, Ireland, and France - to name but four windswept lands.
The Minsk netlabel "Ezhevika" (Blackberry) helps to confound any stereotypes about Belarusian electronica. There are no connections to civic or political issues. Instead we find a creative maximalism.
The Sketis organization continues to champion а crisscrossing of folk traditions. Not only is canonical practice forced to incorporate novelty; peripheral locations are also paid major attention.
Four recordings from three Russian cities show increasing concern about the promise of adulthood. Greater hope emerges from literature, retrospection, and even thoughts of "prenatal" oceanic life.
A couple of Moscow outfits release new material that emphasizes the joy of reduction - in tempo and/or PR. Those values are then transferred to some dub techno performers in Lithuania.
Various alternatives are suggested to dull and industrial typicality. They include looping retrospection towards childhood, bold surrealism, the open vistas of imagination, and major drug usage.
Fancy Music is a discerning Moscow label, publishing both jazz and contemporary classical recordings. Some of those jazz projects form a collective worldview of willing risk and anticipation
Maarja Nuut is an Estonian fiddler, revealing psychedelic aspects within folk performance. That same overlap of sprawling nature and fantasy emerges in a number of Russian releases, too.