Some musicians from Russia and Ukraine speak of how they have formed new ensembles. Easy-going collaborations become an appealing alternative to various social pressures.
Baltic rock bands gathered recently at the Tallinn Music Week. Interviews and PR materials from all the groups suggest that the main target of today's rebellious songwriting is dull actuality.
Despite a rich tradition of social protest in Russian rock music, some recent recordings have found such entrenched lacunae within local life that other themes transpire. Escapism replaces subversion.
The excellent St. Petersburg instrumental outfit Skafandr have recently used the metaphor of a "white rabbit." That image from Lewis Carroll - or "The Matrix" - travels far and wide.
Professional obstacles for an underfunded, overworked collective can lead to silence. It takes great persistence to build a career in Russian contemporary music. Only the dogged survive.
Four bands from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tomsk, and Odessa reconsider the role of protest songs. Rather than call for overt social measures, they see the value of angry performance in increased awareness.
Four rock bands speak of hard, physical effort - and the damage it does to long-term optimism. The daily grind eats away at a number of fragile ideals. One Moscow collective, however, has a possible answer.
Two new recordings from St. Petersburg and Moscow reconsider Russian culture of the 1980s, plus a resulting fatalism. Two other releases take a different approach: they use noisy zeal in order to shun the weight of history.
"A Model Kit" is the name of a one-man, neoclassical project from Moscow. Some of the creative difficulties faced by that composer extend to considerably noisier collectives. Professional challenges are widespread.
Three sludge- and art-rock outfits from Moscow and St. Petersburg use absurdist elements in their new songs; society echoes that lack of logic. A fourth group, however, suggests an alternative, taken from Russian cinema.