Happy55 are a jazz trio from the southern industrial city of Voronezh. Against that backdrop, and the weight of ailing history, these gifted performers find much value in improvisation and spontaneity.
"The band has trouble recalling specific dates. Its members instead neglect any chronology; in fact, they're barely able to count, giving all the time they've spent working with different time signatures"
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."
Alina Os is a young exponent of acoustic hip-hop from the edge of Moscow. Her songs, just like her address, promise a little peace, quiet, and dignity on the periphery of Europe's biggest city.
Who exactly is Ned Hoper? There's no such person in real life, even though the band members keep insisting upon the Australian roots of their legendary frontman. Their explanation is full of imagination and far from fact.
Argo Vals is an Estonian multi-instrumentalist and composer. His career can be traced back to 2006, when initial, DIY tracks morphed slowly into several Baltic ensembles. A reputation started to grow.
Marble Boy are a duo from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv: Anton Shatokhin and Maria Demenko. Recent events at home are tangentially reflected in the private emphases of a new EP, entitled "Notion."
Humility and understatement color a number of Russian instrumental releases. Their audible modesty is prompted by childhood memories, an eco-aesthetic, and disorienting experiences online.
A number of new recordings concern themselves with the passage of time. That central theme leads to a growing nostalgia, motifs taken from childhood, and various audible aspects of cassette culture.
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.