One of the most enduring reference points for Russian musicians over the last two decades has been outer space. The approaching New Year does little to encourage hope - and so distant planets still appeal.
Two new releases from FFM. One is Ukrainian, the other is Russian - and both are instrumental. The difference between them, genres aside, is in their attitude to the weight of the surrounding world.
From Siberia to Moscow - and even Kiev - a series of new releases admit openly to the influence of Western music from prior decades. A dissatisfaction with the here and now prompts lasting retrospection.
"The band has trouble recalling specific dates. Its members instead neglect any chronology; in fact, they're barely able to count, giving all the time they've spent working with different time signatures"
uSSSy is/are an instrumental duo from Moscow: Artem Galkin (guitar) and Pavel Eremeev (drums). As Galkin calmly announces his departure from the band, a central theme of absence reappears.
Argo Vals is an Estonian multi-instrumentalist and composer. His career can be traced back to 2006, when initial, DIY tracks morphed slowly into several Baltic ensembles. A reputation started to grow.
Amid discussions of a museum celebrating the Leningrad Rock Club, four young rock bands from Russia and Ukraine publish new material that doubts those early, social goals. Civic plans are now private.
A number of publications this week display an interesting tension between grand romance and self-deprecation. By understating their heartfelt values, these artists stress a stubborn fidelity to a fading cause.
Four new recordings across Russia turn to the landscape for inspiration. While the natural world proves uplifting, mankind's invasion of the ecosphere - for material gain - ruins any fantasy.
As magazines and festivals seek to promote young musicians, they speak of great promise and flourishing local scenes. The performers themselves are less sure.