A wonderful new maxi-single from Vladivostok has appeared, more specifically from Mari! Mari! A mere six weeks ago we showcased their recent material - and already there's more. These new recordings go by the title of "May '68" and can be downloaded from several places, such as here and here.
The five tracks thankfully maintain the band's earlier, high standards; they continue, in other words, to mark Mari! Mari! as an outfit worthy of major attention from places farther westward. A little limelight already appears to be heading in their direction, since they've just been named as participants in this year's MIDEM Festival.
This event takes place later this month in Cannes and has, over time, become a major European center for music networking. This year, to boot, MIDEM has designated Russia as "Country of Honor," a status that has prompted the announcement of a promo CD, showcasing seventeen young bands from all around the nation. It looks very good indeed; we're chasing a copy as we write...
Meanwhile Mari! Mari! go about the business of promoting their own contribution to the nation's musical well-being. It's worth noting that the content of "May '68" comes in the wake of a long discussion that was conducted on their page inside the social network "V kontakte."
Late in 2008 they asked fans whether this EP should be released on CD or simply left online for free downloads. One young cynic (or realist!) chipped in immediately with the observation that "It doesn't really matter, 'cos the first person who buys the songs on CD is gonna stick 'em online within 60 minutes."
It doesn't really matter, 'cos the first person who buys the songs on CD is gonna stick 'em online within 60 minutes.
Other participants were more optimistic. A CD, went the argument, is a much more impressive form of media than a couple of mp3s; it also allows the band to dictate the quality of their sound files, rather than see them appear on some pirate site - as a couple of poorly edited and scratchy-sounding ringtones.
And yet the issue of cost remained: would there be enough interest beforehand to guarantee that the CDs won't just gather dust on the bookshelves of Pacific bedrooms?
The most vigorous - and sunniest - answer came from one participant in the chat who imagined a couple of situations involving the band's female fans.
"Ooh, look! It's Iliusha!" "Who's that?" "WOT?! He's that cool guy from Mari! Mari! I've got their CD; here, take a listen..." "Wow! What a fab-looking disc! I'll give it a spin..." (And then, a week later...) "Well? What did you think of Iliusha?" "Never mind him! The whole band are cool as anything! I've already gone out and found their CDs - the ones with autographs! I went to a gig, too!"
But what if we choose mp3s? Then the situation sounds a little different.
"Look! Here cones Iliusha!" "Who's that?" "WOT?! He's that cool guy from Mari! Mari! Here: I've got a couple of mp3s..." (She hands over the headphones; the sound quality isn't ideal.) "Hm... Well, I guess it's OK. I'll take a listen." (And then again, after the same seven days...) "Well? What d'you reckon about Mari! Mari!" "Who?"
A convincing, but financially challenging outlook for the forthcoming recession.