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Wind, Sand, and Stars: Yuka, Foresteppe, x.y.r., and Race to Space
One of the most enduring motifs of Soviet culture within Russian popular music has been the so-called "Space Race"––the competition between Moscow and Washington to explore the cosmos.
Amity: Wednesday Morning, Young Adults, Kate in the Box & Platya za 130
Two all-female Russian outfits sing of human relations with bittersweet humor. Placed together with other releases this week, their knowing smiles become an overarching social skepticism.
A Tribute to the Past: Maxim Buldakov, Ilya Gerus, Inlensk, and Sugar God
All the way from Moscow to the villages of Siberia, a common idea finds voice in a handful of dance floor publications. In four of these releases, the romance of nostalgia and happy stasis proves most persistent.
Decaying Sound: Half Dub Theory, She Bit Her Lip, Lumberjack, and ANH
Various professional challenges emerge in these Russian recordings; most of them have connections to outside, social realia. It's only beyond the border––in Estonia––that civic pressures ease.
Open Your Eyes: Alexander Zaitsev, Ninja Glam, Dessin Bizarre & Jean Piere
Alexander Zaitsev's new instrumental recording refers to modern spirituality as a faint, flickering light in a tunnel. Some other Russian electronic releases this week concur.
The Basement Tapes: Arm Author, Seilarmoon, GLWZBLL, and Budzza
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.
A Language of Hope: Life on Marx, Artek Elektronika, AMVI, and Acid Reich
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.
Sounds of Our Environment: Dza, Valotihkuu, Vorobushek, and Talnik
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.
A Great Escape: Magnetic Poetry, Kompakt–Katya, SiJ, and King Imagine
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.
Effort as Transcendence: Doyeq, OMMA, Heavenchord, and Skajite Michilu
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.
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