A couple of northern projects look with fondness at Soviet culture, given the failings of the present day. More powerful than childhood retrospection, however, is the invocation of an ancient tradition.
For all these artists from Russia and Lithuania, new publications are possible only after much effort. The daily grind and social indifference do their best to make creative work maximally difficult.
Using the ecosphere, Orthodox Christianity, an isolated address, and other reference points, these musicians suggest there's much to be gained from abandoning the chutzpah of Moscow life.
These recordings all include observations on the importance of tradition. Some of the artists look to distant centuries for a better, more dignified code. Others look further still - towards myth and/or faith.
New hip-hop, rap, and reggae publications show a striking difference from US mainstream enterprise. Instead of any proud connection to a district or zip code, spiritual emphases predominate.
MNMN is a netlabel based in the ancient city of Kostroma. Its editorial policy is both noncommercial and extremely inclusive. For that reason, MNMN's role as a nurturing environment for young artists soon proves to be vital.
Some hip-hop and neo-soul releases from Odessa, Rostov-na-Donu, Moscow, and Kostroma all consider aspects of modern faith. These recordings hold various ideals dear, but material experience often spoils matters.
Downtempo recordings from across Russia ponder the pros and cons of solitude. Together they concur that the best way to foster a more objective worldview is to employ the scope of Russia's physical geography.
Komba Bakkh are an all-male outfit from Kostroma, an ancient town first mentioned in chronicles around 1213; some historians date the founding of Kostroma hundreds of years earlier. Today it is home to just under 300,000 people, all of whom are surrounded by a rich architectural and spiritual heri...
Komba Bakkh come from Kostroma, which is north of Moscow and part of the so-called "Golden Ring" of ancient towns that played such a vital role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. Thanks to architecture like the Church of the Resurrection (above) and perhaps the city's patron sain...