• Music

    Merema – Kezeren Koiht (Ancient Custom)

    Out beloved friends at CPL-Music have released another fascinating album of Russian folk music! Merema hail from Saransk, which is the capital of Russia’s autonomous Republic of Mordovia.  The music is beautifully documented by CPL Records and the documentary work of professor Ekaterina Modina.  The tones of the voices are dulcet, and it sounds unlike most Russian music as the languages of the region have far more in common with the Finno-Ugric family than it does with Russian.  Utterly worthy.  For a more complete review, consider checking out a full album analysis at WorldMusicCentral.org or at WorldListeningPost.com.

  • Music - Music Documentaries

    Alexei Aigui – 1000 Miles Till The Next Embrace EP

    Our friend and noted composer Alexeï Aïgui was just featured here recently for his releases, Palimpsest and Alcohol, at the end of July, and it seems that he’s kept himself quite busy as of late, so we’re pleased to announce this EP, a soundtrack to the film 1000 Miles Till The Next Embrace, a documentary on tango directed by Irina Rubia. Alexeï has proven himself to be among the best of this generation of soundtrack composers, but there is one track which utterly stands out for me, the fifth track, titled Freeze.  It has a feeling of a post-rock composition,…

  • Music

    Roman Stolyar – Right Back from Bosnija

    I’m delighted to share a piece from my old friend, the Siberian composer and multi-instrumentalist Roman Stolyar.  This nearly 20-minute improvisation was recorded live on July 30, 2021 at the MMMESSS studio in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The piano-playing is quick, sharp, with each keystroke coming at you like waves of noise.  A great example of Russian free jazz.

  • Music

    Various Artists – Gudelnaya Polyana – Solar Systo Togathering 2020

    Good music and good new labels are easy to find if you apply yourself.  Zhelezobeton is not a new label, per sé, but a lot of the bands they work with will be new to listeners who don’t normally follow what is happening in the Russian sphere of influence. This compilation is three hours of live recordings made by a variety of artists, including, intriguingly, an ensemble of 12-year-old noisemakers.  The future, judging by the standards of this comp, is in secure hands over there. Also interesting is where this compilation was put together.  It was held on the experimental…

  • Music

    Yat-Kha – We Will Never Die

    Albert Kuvezin (Альберт Кувезин) is a legend in the ethno-rock and World Music community.  He was one of the founders of the band Huun-Huur-Tu, which brought throat singing into prominence.  He went on to form his own band, Yat-Kha, who I came across in 1993.  He was managed to meld together traditional Tuvan music (the region in Russia close to Mongolia and not so terribly far from China) with post-punk and even country music. On June 21, Yat-Kha’s latest album, We Will Never Die, is due for release as a download and will be available on CD and vinyl. The…

  • Music

    Zacharivna Pisnya Ensemble – Petropavlovka: Songs of Ukrainians from Kyrgyzstan

    The Zacharivna Pisnya Ensemble are made up of ethnic Ukrainians who reside in the republic of Kyrgyzstan, and have existed as a group since 1902.  Though some of their names have been Russified, they maintain their cultural ties to Ukraine via song. Antonovka Records have done astounding work documenting such ensembles throughout Russia and Central Asia, and they should be commended for maintaining such high quality throughout each release.

  • 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

    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.