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.
The Belarusian label Ezhevika has just published a compilation album, "I MIRACLE." It gathers nineteen recordings from towns both near and far; together the tracks create a workplace philosophy.
From Kiev, Yerevan, Moscow, and Kazan, a range of new publications all turn to distant objects of desire. Whether that distance is temporal or spatial, it always implies dissatisfaction with the present.
One primary impulse in contemporary East European music is the desire for soundscapes to counter actuality. Four new recordings look askance at whatever is going on outside the front door.
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.
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.
Various dissatisfactions emerge in new recordings from Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod. They all lead to a yearning for better values - represented by distant places or prior experience.
From Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania come four responses to the drudgery and dead weight of quotidian experience. The most satisfying among them involve looking backwards.
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.
Ambient and lo-fi publications from four northern addresses all ponder the meaning of solitude. It does not lead to melancholy; in fact it offers a productive liberty from the awfulness of social existence.