Against the backdrop of recent geopolitical events, one might understand why minorism would have a marked appeal. Four collectives from Russia, Ukraine, and Estonia place smallness front and center.
Moscow's Anton Maskeliade has published recordings of his "Street Studio," in which passers-by are invited to perform whatever they want. These levels of social optimism are not widely shared.
As we conclude a third and final overview, the "NG 15" album appears in Moscow. Twenty-six performers are gathered together in order both to consider the meaning of New Year and help a children's charity.
The Moscow magazine Afisha continues to gather a wide range of songs celebrating the New Year. All of the performers involved juxtapose their individual hopes and dreams with the unlikely prospect of civic improvement.
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.