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.
Two new releases from FFM. One is Ukrainian, the other is Russian - and both are instrumental. The difference between them, genres aside, is in their attitude to the weight of the surrounding world.
Against the backdrop of a Russian tradition of politicized rock songs, four collectives in 2014 look for alternative values. They tend to be immaterial, in the best - and most romantic - sense of the word.
Afisha and Colta are arguably Moscow's two most influential music publications when it comes to finding or fostering new talent. As December begins, they both consider the musical year ahead - with some anxiety.
From Siberia to Moscow - and even Kiev - a series of new releases admit openly to the influence of Western music from prior decades. A dissatisfaction with the here and now prompts lasting retrospection.
The innocence of youth is treated with bittersweet retrospection in some new songs from Chelyabinsk, Tomsk, and Moscow. All of these artists imply that childhood's naivety and hope are unlikely to survive for long.
Surrounded by a series of failing support systems, be they social or financial, four Russian ensembles turn to themes of family. In difficult times, thoughts of friends and colleagues grow more important.
Through their use of other languages, employment overseas, and various forms of Wanderlust, these four bands work hard to ignore domestic culture. Anywhere - and anything - looks better than home.
Four new releases by baroque- and/or chamber pop outfits ponder a common theme of self-determination. To what degree do these youngsters feel any control over their increasingly social lives?
All the way from Tallinn to Kazan, a selection of new recordings consider the value of escapism and/or imagination. A growing disappointment with the here and now only makes fantasy work harder.