The Sketis label is announcing a series of new albums from both Russia and Latvia. They, in turn, draw upon a melange of folk traditions, ranging all the way from Siberia's criminal past to the Balkans or Tajikistan.
The work of Belarusian folktronica ensemble Shuma (Šuma) is defined with an intriguing turn of phrase: "digital archaica." A new collection of remixes helps to explain that bond of tradition and hi-tech.
This year's Schilling Festival is about to start in Estonia. There's a special overlap between the festival's philosophy and the worldview of several Estonian bands taking part. Ideals and actuality coincide.
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.
As these performers list the professional or political obstacles facing their work, a nostalgia develops for intuitive, pre-adult experience. Those earliest years harbored some nameless values.
As performers make plans for the future, a tension arises between subjective desire and public crudity. The best way to foster hope (again) is to leave those heartless civic realms behind.
Four women from Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Saratov offer new narratives on the ongoing struggle for self-determination. Those tales of increasing dignity stretch all the way to Los Angeles.
Moscow's Anise Project is fronted by Anna Volkova. She speaks of how adult experience tempers youthful fantasy. Some causes of that local fatalism are sought by other collectives in folklore.
As the Baltic press lists some promising names for the forthcoming musical year, a key question poses itself. Should younger artists promote their uniqueness or similarity with existing trends?
Four instrumental producers from Minsk and St. Petersburg see their newest works as an alternative to frustrating, if not awful reality. The worse actuality appears, the more they fantasize.