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.
Disenchanted with their hometown experience, a number of rock outfits prefer imagination to actuality. Inspiration is found in bedroom solitude, post-Soviet gangster bravado, and even some Buddhist tenets.
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.
New electronic material from Ukraine, Russia, and Estonia touches upon the demise of military, industrial, and economic rhetoric. Their shared insistence is countered with a love for nothing in particular.
For reasons both social and philosophical, four Russian projects release new recordings with zero promotion. The logic of material wellbeing is sidelined in favor of a quieter worldview, hinted at in quotations.