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Rare Empathy in Dark Surroundings: The Teapression Waves Label
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.
Deeper and Darker: Blablarism, 4 Pozicii Bruno, Ghostek, and Jwush
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.
Endless Transience: Selbram, The Re-Stoned, Soileater, and The Kite Runners
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.
Chaos and Concern: The Blackmail, Yantarnyi Koprofil, Kasstedy, and Phooey!
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.
Sunshine: Ms. Sounday, Floans Bitflip, Elefunt's Groove, and Cola Koala
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.
Architecture and Morality: Moa Pillar, Sa, Raskureal, and Jwush
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.
Journey to the City's Edge: Man Gillian, Mikrokristal, and Revoltmeter
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.
Probably Less than Serious: Poisk Seti, Hatari!, and Good Jumper
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.
Tongue in Cheek: Neo Disco Machine, Miiisha, and Red Samara AC
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.
Tradition as Endless Change: Anna Pingina and the Wild Mint Festival
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...
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