One primary impulse in contemporary East European music is the desire for soundscapes to counter actuality. Four new recordings look askance at whatever is going on outside the front door.
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.
As a British newspaper suggests that nostalgia in Russian popular music is inherently political, an alternative viewpoint arises. Many young artists fondly recall a time, rather than an ideology.
As a handful of new recordings play upon elements of Western hip-hop, 8bit, chill-out, and other styles, one constant theme remains. No matter the desire to sound globally aware, a local focus endures.
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.
As a range of obstacles, both private and professional, stop musicians from working uninterrupted, diligence acquires a new significance. It becomes a form of transcendence, far above material woes.
Several new Russian electronic recordings display an increasing gratitude for both solitude and silence. The further one happens to be from clamorous modernity or a capital city, the better.
Various dissatisfactions emerge in new recordings from Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod. They all lead to a yearning for better values - represented by distant places or prior experience.
From downtempo lounge to broken techno and "psychoactive go-fi," a range of new Russian dance floor recordings prefer to celebrate private, rather than public effort.
New drone and industrial recordings from Russia and Ukraine turn their attention simultaneously to anxiety and depression. Both, perhaps, indicate dissatisfaction - and therefore a burgeoning hope.