Teapression Waves is a young and promising electronic label, using a host of generic tags to define its gloomy output. Those same categorizations, however, are not employed in standard western ways.
Throughout some downtempo recordings from Moscow, Kiev, and Yekaterinburg this week, a tension slowly emerges. The more these musicians wish to depict local reality, the more an ineffable anxiety grows.
Recent psychedelic, stoner, and doom-rock recordings have been grounded in a certain attitude towards Russian society. That sense of civic fatalism actually informs some quieter, more introspective bands, too.
Following a rather pessimistic attitude towards modern society, four Slavic bands fashion a series of responses. They range from lo-fi, cathartic discord to a careful building of gentler, more harmonious structures.
The traditions of jazzy hip-hop are handed over to performers from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, and Syktyvkar. Despite differing styles, these artists all hope to build a sunny worldview from a foreign genre.
Some fragile releases this week share a common interest in ailing forms of social enterprise. These sounds of breakdown and demise also hope, paradoxically, to prompt thoughts of civic improvement.
For all the negative stereotypes that surround many aspects of "provinciality," that same liminal positioning can be turned to significant benefit. These three projects reconsider what it means to inhabit a city's edge.
These collectives are from Moscow and St. Petersburg. They all brand themselves as exponents of energy and onstage immediacy. At the same time, however, they also make recourse to irony - and display considerable self-doubt.
All three of these projects toy with elements of nostalgia or even tawdry, overtly commercial music-making. Nonetheless, somewhere beneath the irony, self-mockery, and sarcasm, a lyrical sprit endures.
The Wild Mint Festival, hosted outside Moscow, is arguably the nation's most important folk music event. One of the headliners this year was Anna Pingina, whose view of "traditional" performance is rather unique...