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Clonki's music is dedicated to the fading fragments of some elusive majesty. Hints of something bigger and better than daily experience are both found and voiced; the work of a producer starts to suggest that of an archaeologist. Martinovich has spoken before of his desire to create "crunchy, heavy beats, together with a deep bass and all kinds of samples. As a rule, it's all spiced up with lo-fi sounds and crackling noises..." The interrupted signals of a limping, almost lost melody.
One of the longest acquaintances on FFM has been with the multiple projects of Moscow's Dmitry Peitsch. Hard financial times are producing another generation of protest songs or––at the very least––an embrace of noise, pure and simple.
Pur:Pur are a duo from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv: Nata Smirina and Yevgeny Zhebko. Not surprisingly, they are usually joined on stage by several colleagues. Most important among them at the moment are drummer Grigory Oleinik and bass player Ivan Senyuk. Two enduring or trademark aspects of the ensemble's style would be Smirina's guileless vocal stylings and Pur:Pur's overall penchant for acoustic performance.
Speaking recently to the Belarusian press, Goron talks of his collaboration with Aortha. "Dzmitry and I are are surprised that our work is enjoying a positive reaction. People are both 'liking' and reposting the tracks online. I wouldn't say that I'm creating anything terribly unique here... But [in any case], this all began at the presentation of somebody's book in Minsk, and Dzmitry was performing as the guest DJ. I just went along to kill some time. We met at the event - and it turned out Dzmitry had long admired my texts. And then, when I heard his set, it seemed that Aortha's sounds were an equivalent to my words. All in all, it was something of a fateful meeting..." The sounds of urban dead-end existence would frame the language of a similar concern: Aortha and Goron found common ground and related noises. The theme of presentism emerged once more - in the face of certain civic "inevitabilities." As a little extra context, Goron then adds: "It seems our new EP called 'Dvoe' has plenty to say about anticipation [in life] and about the beauty of a single moment..."
The new recordings from Misha Mishenko and L.I.M.B. have been tagged as "experimental, IDM, left field, and breakcore." In truth, however, the idea here is to mock, not celebrate the assumed "uniqueness" of much modern Russian dance music. Mishenko has referred in one location to the "black humor" of these tracks - entitled "Oompa" - or to their "sarcastic" tone. These cutting inferences about presumed DIY brilliance and "independent" creativity overlap neatly with something else Mishenko said not long ago. In one interview he expressed admiration both for Thom Yorke and his conviction that inspired, enthused individuals have little or no need for a canonical musical education. Mishenko, however, quickly admitted that Yorke's view is something of an extreme, in that education offers artists not only additional creative tools, but also insurance within a fickle market. Why is such insurance needed? Because Mishenko perceives certain inevitabilities within modern Russian music. "The main goal for Russian musicians is to make a name for yourself. We've a strange marketplace here. You're not judged by the music you write, but by whom you know. Our domestic business consists of a very narrow group of people. It's hard to break in." The relationship between novelty and convention is dictated by a series of behavioral modes. Local creativity is fashioned by social norms - which themselves are seemingly guided by avarice. Cash shapes creativity. Hence the black humor of "Oompa," seemingly maligning both commercial predictability and any delusional states of self-determination.
The St. Petersburg band known as Shortparis has composed an intriguing timeline on Vkontakte. Put simply, the group not only documents its past, as might be expected, but also speaks with confidence of its very distant future. In English, that same trajectory might read as follows: "Shortparis was initially formed in 2012 with a penchant for experimentation. The musicians took part in the avant-garde festival SKIF in 2013... The group still sees itself in opposition to today's music scene. Having overcome any feelings of solitude or isolation, however, Shortparis are now dedicated to a number of unique musical and/or artistic projects." Such rhetoric may seem standard in a PR release or potted bio, but matters take an unexpected and ironic turn. A closing sentence seemingly comes from the year 2021 - if not later. "The group was disbanded in the autumn of 2020, once Shortparis' members had attained full self-realization within their music. The performers took a collective decision to dedicate themselves to farming..." Apparently the road from urban self-realization to rural retreat is not only well trodden; it's also inevitable.
Zimne is/are a Siberian duo from the city of Novosibirsk: Anton Kremarenko and vocalist Natasha Shilova. Last year the twosome published a wonderful trip-hop album called "Signals from a Hospice." It was framed with the following phrasing in Russian: "Using metaphorical, often cosmic elements, these songs touch upon the relationship between earthly bodies - in various physical conditions." Human experience only makes sense when abstracted to the hushed, isolated realms of somewhere "cosmic." Life only makes sense when viewed from a distance.
The Arctic port of Murmansk is situated almost one thousand miles from Moscow. The city's fame rests to a large degree upon a remarkable ability of shipping lanes here to maintain year-round operations, despite the contrary influence of endless winters. Such, in fact, was the value of maritime access to Murmansk during WWII that the Soviets later erected a huge monument to an anonymous solider - Alyosha. Overlooking the city from a hilltop, he represents the towering importance of brave movement - at least during wartime. Once those hostilities were over, of course, stony lifelessness would return to society. Murmansk is a realm of slow transitions. Within these severe, yet enduringly romantic surroundings we find Andrey Porubov, a young pianist.
From the artist: "This album is a collection of peaceful field recordings and boundless soundscapes, together with subtle details and some warm bass-lines" // Lumi – это умиротворяющие полевые записи, безграничные звуковые ландшафты с добавлением тонких деталей и теплых басс линий.
A desire for continuity - whatever the cost! - is reflected in FFM44 by the new Kievan solo project known simply as Vova. The gentleman responsible for these lo-fi instrumentals is Volodymyr Protsenko. A reticent soul, he prefers the quotations of others to any wordy self-statement. One of his chosen and more inspirational quotes draws upon the promise of natural rhythms. The following lines come from Ray Bradbury; they discern both comfort and consistency amid the highs and lows of the four seasons: "Love - is when you want to experience with someone all four seasons. When you want to run with someone from a spring storm strewn with lilac flowers in the summer picking berries and swim in the river. Autumn with jam and seal the windows from the cold. Winter - to help survive a runny nose and long evenings"
Nikolay Moiseenko is a Moscow resident who operates under the peculiar stage name of Nik Snake F. His desire to discuss either present or prior projects - in any form - is minimal. Instead he claims to seek noiseless "inspiration wherever contrasts may be found. My sound itself can be considered a combination of two opposing elements: a love for my urban environment and a pull towards the endless beauty of nature." Prior Nik Snake F releases - for example in Spain - have been lauded for their interplay of "soft glitch and ambient loops." Formal repetitions and thematic differences inform one another, on the edge of a major city where human industry impinges upon the sprawling mechanisms of nature.
Atariame is otherwise known as Natasha Salmina, a solo performer originally from Izhevsk. That city, musically speaking, has long-standing connections to Russia's industrial heritage - in the musical sense of harsh electronica. Salmina, however, has now moved to Saint Petersburg, where she operates between discord and an earnest lyricism. A town associated with both avant-garde sounds and armament factories is swapped for wind and rain along a Baltic coastline. Just like Lava Lite, so Atariame has also experimented with lo-fi or domestic recordings on an MP3 player. The results would lead to some flattering parallels in the Russian press with Cat Power. She recalls: "When I was young, I'd read album reviews in teen magazines - this was a time before the net was readily available. I couldn't hear what those LPs were actually like, so I'd imagine them, instead. I tried writing something similar [to my fantasies]. Eventually I would come across the real recordings; I was always surprised and disappointed. I knew henceforth I should only write whatever I hear [in my head]."
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