The evening of Monday, February 1st sees the 16th CTM edition’s first concert at HAU2, one in a trio of HAU (Hebbel am Ufer) venues dedicated to providing an environment of contemplation and discovery. With the festival’s “New Geographies” theme in mind, this event zooms in through the eyes of creative youth cultures on the particular coordinates of rural and suburban Russia.
Love Cult, a goth-jungle, gloom-worshipping duo from Northwest Russia, premiere the new audiovisual concert project “Nada” together with the like-minded filmmaker Alina Filippova. Love Cult make murky, esoteric music as an outlet “for worries and fears” and are active tastemakers in a flourishing Russian music underground. “Nada” utilizes a kind of “instant filmmaking”; Filippova edits b-rolls live and compiles ad-lib sequences of images from her footage archive as the musicians play a combination of improvised soundscapes and pre-composed material in parallel. Most of the images were shot in Filippova’s own small, sleepy hometown of Lebedyan and explore themes of ennui and intergenerational tension.
In Lebedyan, the majority of young people are gone for most of the year studying or working elsewhere, but in the summer, many of them, having experienced life in urban capitals, return for a stint to a backwards, insular, and skeptical environment. They spend their time feeling bored, misunderstood, and rejected. The footage communicates a melancholy coming-of-age narrative and portrays the strain between an old, post-Soviet way of life and a youthful, globally-minded hipster culture—a clash that is as universal as it is site-specific.
Boredom, frustration, and latent aggression are also themes in the evening’s second audiovisual performance. With abstract sounds and very straightforward images of his own home surroundings, fellow Russian and CTM Siberia artist Buttechno offers another incisive look into the current moods and worlds of Russian youth. Announced earlier this week, Love Cult also appear for a more beat-oriented DJ set at the CTM x Red Bull Music Academy Afterparty at Watergate, while Buttechno also plays a b2b DJ-set with Low808 at Panorama Bar on the festival’s opening night.
The Russian duo Love Cult comes from Petrozavodsk, Karelia. Anya Kuts and Ivan Zoloto are aficionados of the tumultuous and gloomy—northern technology; dark electronica; obsessive techno; militant house; noise pop; goth jungle.
Buttechno is Pavel Milyakov, a young music producer from Moscow’s suburban Orekhovo-Borisovo district and one of the leading voices in the local rising underground scene. He is one of the founders of Johns’ Kingdom, a label and self-described “group of pretty unknown artists” from the Russian dancefloor avant-garde advocating anonymity (“untitled united”) and an anti-ego approach to music as fundamental principles of creativity.
Filmmaker Alina Filippova creates work that portrays youth cultures and meditates on themes of ennui, loneliness, and intergenerational tension. Lebedyan, a village in southeastern Russia, is both her hometown and an indispensable point of reference for her creative endeavours.