• Music

    Various Artists – Haute Culture: A Rough Guide To Russian Contemporary Jazz Music

    Dave Summer penned an article on the state of Russian jazz today, and one of the featured releases was a compilation of artists featured on the Rainy Days record label.  This is a great way to explore these innovators, including saxophonists Azat Bayazitov and Andrew Krasilnikov, bassist Makar Novikov, drummer and percussionist Sasha Mashin and pianists Evgeny Ponomarev and Evgeny Sivtsov.  The jazz is hot, never boring, and will be a welcome addition to those of you who are wondering what’s worth exploring in the genre.

  • Music

    Nick Sudnick – Opera Of The Eleventh Hour

    St. Petersburg, Russia-based composer Nick Sudnick has had a storied career as the main protagonist of the of the art-rock group Zga.  I had the pleasure of working with him for one reissue in another life. He is still very much involved with music, and has been releasing an incredible series of albums recently.  As I understand it, he’s creating operas based on each hour of the day.  The latest installment is for the Eleventh Hour, and base material for this project include motifs derived from pharmacies, medical encyclopedia, online mental health forums and so on. This will appeal heavily…

  • Music

    UUTAi – Dope

    Some years ago I had the pleasure of coming across a Sakha (Yakutia)-based singer called UUTAi who left me a bit stunned and gobsmacked, as I had never seen such a wild performance with wailing and Jew’s harp.  Going forward a few years, one of my dear colleagues and friends in Siberia, Daryana, presented this album to me, and it’s a more focused, restrained and quirky affair. I would think that a label like Real World would be quite interested in this, as it definitely presents Yakut music in a favorable light, but it supplemented with electronic music that actually…

  • Music

    Valerio Orlandini – Syntagmata

    Valerio Orlandini is a sound designer and composer from Firenze, Italy whose work reminds me of that of artists like French electroacoustic music composers like François Bayle or Michel Chion.  It is, of course, dark, nearly claustrophobic, music.  Yet it has a nice cinematic feel to it.  He’ll be worth watching and listening to as the years pass.

  • Music

    UBURGRUND – Dionelos

    At least as I am able to understand it, UBURGRUND is a graphic artist and composer who hails from Băicoi, Romania.  This release is inspired, in part by the Romanian modern surrealist author Mircea Cărtărescu and his magnum opus, Solenoid. I have not had a chance to read the book yet, but from what I am hearing from a dear seraphim in Bucharest, he is as worthy as read as he is weird. You can read more about this work here. This album was released by our friends at Kalamine Records, and, as expected, it maintains their high standard of…

  • Music

    Noisesculptor & God Cancer – Wanderers In The 4th Dimension

    Noise music is something you are either passionate for. or you loathe to the depths of your soul.  I say this because too many artists not only sound far too similar, it almost sounds like they insult the audience by turning on a vacuum cleaner and try to call that “music.”  It’s trash, nothing more.  That trick only worked once with Duchamp, and all his followers merely pose, tarnishing anything good in art. However, there is another angle to noise.  That of the sculpted, patiently crafted sturm und drang which allows for musical or cinemtic influences to further enhance their…

  • Music

    Fellirium – Changes

    Yet another great listen from Russia.  I have plenty more coming down the line. Fellirium produce a neofolk that stays away from the more pretentious parts of the genre, and sticks with fine, gentle instrumental soundscapes.  One can hear hints of the Incredible String Band, perhaps a more acoustically based Legendary Pink Dots, and some rather ambient bits which blend together quite well.

  • Music - Youtube

    (Video) When Dusk Meets Dawn – A Journey Through Baltic Music

    I have a deep love of Baltic culture which kind of makes sense since my maternal line has roots in what is today Kaliningrad, Russia, but was, for centuries, German and Baltic (Old Prussian) soil. The music in the region possesses a magical quality to it, quite unlike any other region in Europe. ARTE.tv produced a nice documentary featuring Andris Nelsons, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Paavo Järvi, Gidon Kremer and Arvo Pärt talking about what makes the region of the music so special. Special thanks to Chris Morley, whose wisdom and taste in music mirrors and surpasses my own. I am indebted…

  • Music

    HIEMIS – La Chose

    Gradual Hate Records has had a stream of excellent releases this year, but this album by HIEMIS, an artist out of Spain, is the best of the bunch.  This is dark, gothic (in the original sense, not the bad makeup sense), ethereal and would compare well to artists who made their mark with labels like Projekt Records, Cold Meat Industry or 4AD (think Dead Can Dance). What pleases my ears the most is the heavy, almost liquid-like sound that resonates so deeply in my speakers that I feel like I’m inside of a cave enjoying almost pure isolation.  It’s quite…

  • Music

    Rami Moscovich – Capsules

    As far as electronic music releases go, Rami Moscovich does a nice job straddling Eno-esque ambient with Berlin School vibes reminiscent of 70s-era Tangerine Dream.  The jewel of the crown of this release is the track My Grandmother’s Apartment, where it sounds like Rami’s grandmother is reminiscing about old times in what sounds like Hebrew.  Enjoyable.